Effect of dams on Rio Klamath's people & salmon
23 Dec 2005 11:39 GMT
The culture of the Yurok revolves around the seasonal migrations of the spring, summer, fall and winter runs of salmon. There are specific ceremonies performed before, during and after the migration. Honor and gratitude are shown to the salmon for providing the Yurok with nutrition for survival. Celebrations occur simultaneously with the salmon's return and the salmon who are caught are smoked on alder sticks. Salmon contain every nutritional element and mineral needed by the body for survival. Without the salmon, there would be no Yurok. This also goes for the other tribes along the Klamath, depending on salmon for nutritional sustenance and cultural relevancy.
Since the arrival of European immigrants into California the Klamath River is no longer found in the same condition. At 840 feet at crest, Clear Lake dam was the first salmon blocking dam completed in 1910. The conditions of the slower velocity of the river trapped behind the dam also effect the juvenile salmon's health by raising water temperatures and depleting oxygen content from eutrophication. The process of eutrophication begins with excess nitrogen or other fertilizers entering into slow moving water promoting excess algae growth, the dead algae is decomposed by bacteria that require oxygen. This oxygen is removed from the water by bacteria at the expense of the fish.