Bush Administration Admits Role in Klamath Fish Die-Off

The Bush administration has finally admitted to its role in last year’s die-off of more than 34,000 chinook and coho salmon in the Klamath River basin, which straddles the Oregon-California border: The massive fish kill was caused at least in part by the government’s diversion of water for agriculture, which led to unusually low water levels in the river, according to an analysis released yesterday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Federal scientists reached this conclusion six months ago (and California state scientists found much the same thing even earlier), but the administration delayed release of the info to the public. Fish advocates hope the new report will bolster their efforts to get more water released from the Klamath dam system, but the federal Bureau of Reclamation still isn’t anxious to increase the downstream flow.