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Agency: No water to prevent Klamath salmon kill

Published On: Jul 30 2014 11:49:19 PM CDT
GRANTS PASS, Ore. -

A federal agency says it will release extra water into Northern California's Klamath and Trinity rivers once salmon start dying from drought-related disease, but not before.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Wednesday the decision came after consulting with tribes, irrigators and other agencies.

Fisheries biologist Joshua Strange of Stillwater Sciences says that will be too late. Strange submitted a memo to the Klamath Fish Health Advisory Team saying low flows this year could lead to a salmon kill like one in 2002, when tens of thousands of adult salmon died.

The major threat is a parasite known as Ich (ICK), which attacks fish in stagnant water.

He says extra water makes it harder for the parasite to attack fish, making it most effective before the disease shows up.