Senator Merkley Hosts Science Summit to Identify Solutions for Suckers

Sen. Jeff Merkley hosted a science summit Friday to share updates on the health of the species and discuss possible short-term solutions to help the suckers survive.

Posted: Nov 17, 2018 11:01 AM

KLAMATH FALLS, OR – Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley on Friday hosted a science summit, the Sucker Recovery Summit, to share updates on the health of the species and to discuss possible short-term options to help the Lost River (C'waam) and shortnose (Koptu) suckers survive until long-term solutions take effect.

Merkley developed the Sucker Recovery Summit after meeting earlier this year with Klamath-area stakeholders affected by water resource issues; all parties pointed to sucker survival as a critical element to water availability.

“Both irrigators and the Klamath Tribes expressed to me the desire to find collaborative solutions to water resource issues,” Merkley said. “In the face of extreme drought, suffocating wildfires, and other water resource challenges, stakeholders across the board came together to begin addressing one piece of the puzzle: endangered sucker survival.

“We all have a lot more collaboration and hard work ahead of us to solve these water challenges, but the ideas generated at today’s summit are a promising start,” Merkley continued. “I am heartened that everyone has shown tremendous willingness and openness to participating today. As irrigators, tribal members, and other stakeholders overcome obstacles to work together on this urgent issue, I am committed to being a strong federal partner and continuing to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to secure resources for the Basin.”

Currently, juvenile suckers in the Klamath Basin are not surviving—creating crisis conditions for the Klamath Tribes, for whom suckers are essential tribal treaty resources, and for farmers and ranchers, whose irrigation supply is affected by the need for in-stream water for the fish, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

With separate efforts underway to address this issue, Merkley convened the Sucker Recovery Summit so that stakeholders could compare and combine information and develop solutions. He asked experts to come prepared to discuss short-term solutions that could be implemented in the next 1 to 3 years, to help suckers survive until long-term solutions take effect.

After hearing from panels of experts and scientists, Merkley identified several action items:

• Use his position as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development to support several projects: Oregon Department of Agriculture’s innovative water quality improvement efforts; a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pilot program to collaboratively develop alternative fish habitats; irrigation district modernization projects; a phosphorous filtration project near Upper Klamath Lake; and feasibility analysis for open water algal biomass removal.

• Support Klamath Basin collaborative watershed stewardship work groups.

• Support rapid expansion of sucker rearing ponds.

• Follow up with federal agencies to determine what is needed to ensure continued monitoring of post-release survival and health of propagated suckers, and to prioritize a study of the impacts of poor water quality on suckers and other fish species.

• Support a study to evaluate the prevalence and rate of predation by non-native fish species on sucker larvae.

Last month, Merkley worked with his colleagues Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Greg Walden to successfully include in the Water Resources Development Act drought relief language to assist Klamath Basin farmers who have been hard-hit by drought in recent years. The language is essential for the irrigators to effectively use $10 million in drought relief funds that the lawmakers secured in 2018.

The language authorizes the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to work with farmers to develop and implement strategies to align water demand with available supply. It also authorizes the Bureau to develop a plan to provide reduced-cost power for irrigation, with a preference for efficiency, conservation, and local renewable energy projects. Merkley also won an irrigated pasture waiver so that Upper Basin ranchers would have access to some relief funding.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 157079

Reported Deaths: 2296
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah32006550
Washington21377217
Marion18625287
Clackamas13456191
Lane10373131
Jackson8569118
Umatilla770982
Deschutes602765
Yamhill380069
Linn361357
Malheur336358
Polk308845
Klamath281655
Douglas259255
Josephine240056
Benton236618
Jefferson197630
Coos159121
Union130519
Columbia127721
Wasco122226
Lincoln113920
Hood River107129
Morrow105014
Crook78118
Clatsop7796
Baker6769
Curry4387
Tillamook4302
Lake3836
Harney2786
Grant2301
Wallowa1445
Gilliam541
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3596760

Reported Deaths: 54134
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles120186822015
Riverside2909043892
San Bernardino2877823137
San Diego2627813385
Orange2625504173
Santa Clara1116381822
Kern104181942
Fresno961841488
Sacramento941821510
Alameda812551289
Ventura78368883
San Joaquin672841182
Contra Costa63297708
Stanislaus56702957
Tulare48203770
Monterey42404331
San Mateo39305525
San Francisco34526432
Santa Barbara32301423
Solano30305167
Merced29376413
Sonoma28417303
Imperial26970641
Kings22175227
Placer20035232
San Luis Obispo19835246
Madera15624214
Santa Cruz14790187
Marin13358198
Yolo12920185
Shasta11102179
Butte11050169
El Dorado9204100
Napa910975
Sutter892398
Yuba579539
San Benito579061
Lassen562325
Tehama511852
Nevada403374
Tuolumne397259
Mendocino383944
Amador348441
Humboldt326633
Lake318541
Glenn224123
Colusa214213
Calaveras192849
Siskiyou179014
Inyo133437
Mono12194
Del Norte10275
Plumas6546
Modoc4604
Mariposa3957
Trinity3735
Sierra1000
Alpine840
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Brookings
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 38°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 27°
Sunday morning showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events