Klamath Basin

2002 Salmon Kill Photo Archive

In 2002, the U.S. federal government, under political pressure from commercial farm groups in the Upper Klamath Basin and from the White House, reallocated water in the Upper Klamath federal irrigation project so that farmers got full irrigation water deliveries, even though it was a very dry year. To do so they had to badly short-change the salmon runs of the lower Klamath River, pushing lower river flows to near-record lows. The result was the worst fish kill in U.S. history, the premature deaths of more than 33,000 adult spawners whose carcasses were strewn over 30 miles of river, and tens of millions of dollars in economic devastation for the entire lower river, fishing-dependent economy. The same biased and scientifically unsound water plan that caused this devastation is still in effect, and the risk of future fish kills remains extremely high.

California Dept. of Fish & Games' Fish Kill Report
Cover Letter to Fish Kill Report

Video of dead fish in Klamath River shot 9/25/02
(30 seconds long; RealPlayer required)

Taken just as the fish kill was getting underway in mid-September.
Photo credit: Yurok Tribe
Photo credit: Crescent City Daily Triplicate newspaper
Very early on in the die-off cycle.
Photo credit: E.J. Finney, Yurok Tribe

Click on picture for high-resolution version.
Photo credit: Northcoast Environment Center
Click on picture for high-resolution version.
Photo credit: none needed
Closeup of dead chinook. From a demonstration 10/2/02 in Washington DC, delivering dead Klamath fish to Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, who made the water decisions that led to the fish kill. Photo credit: The Wilderness Society

Yurok Tribal Chairwoman Susan Masten addressing reporters 10/2/02 in Washington, DC about the devastating impact of the fish kill on her people. Photo credit: Office of Rep. Mike Thompson
Congressman Mike Thompson delivers dead Klamath River fish to Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, Washington, DC (10/2/02). The lower river economy in his district was devastated by the fish kill.
Photo credit: American Rivers

For High Resolution Pictures of the Fish Kill on CD-ROM, contact:
Northcoast Environment Center
Attn: Tim McKay
575 H Street, Arcata, CA 95521
Email: nec@northcoast.com

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Crediting photos: Photos above can be freely used and reproduced, provided they are credited as shown above.

© 2003 The Klamath Basin Coalition
PO Box 1375, Eugene, OR 97440
Phone: (541)689-2000

Email: klamathcoalition@aol.com