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2018-10-01. Yurok tribe revives ancestral lands by restoring salmon runs, protecting wildlife.

posted Oct 2, 2018, 9:01 AM by Alan Gould
By Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle. [https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Yurok-tribe-revives-ancestral-lands-by-restoring-13270437.php] For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 7. Excerpt: ...The 92-mile South Fork is the longest un-dammed stream in California and a primary tributary of the Klamath River, which used to froth yearly with spring-run chinook, a staple of the Yurok diet for thousands of years until European settlers arrived in North America, logged the forests and built dams that nearly wiped them out. The project, on this wild and scenic stretch of the Trinity, is outside the Yurok reservation, which stretches 44 miles from the mouth of the Klamath, but the two rivers converge at the edge of Yurok land and together support the largest salmon run in California outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta system. ...More than 12,000 spring-run chinook once migrated annually up the South Fork of the Trinity, .... Then, in 1964, a catastrophic storm and flood caused mud slides on the surrounding hills and filled the river with vast quantities of sediment. The dirt was loose because loggers had clear-cut the surrounding forests in the 1950s and early 1960s, leaving nothing to hold the steep ridges next to the river in place. Silt poured into the river, choking off the salmon spawning grounds and filling up the cold pools salmon need to survive. Fishery biologists said water diversions and pollution from illegal marijuana farms have made the situation worse. Last summer, only 12 chinook were seen in the river, and the year before only 15 fish were counted by surveyors. The spring salmon run as a whole is less than 1 percent of its former size....