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2022 YEAR IN REVIEW

Save California Salmon experienced many wins and made much progress towards our major goals in 2022. These include: working toward dam removal, fish passage, and river flow restoration in the Sacramento River Tributaries and Klamath and Eel Rivers, and making impactful changes in the Water Board and Resource agencies through the 30x30 Initiative, restoration projects, and Water Racial Equity Resolution and Action Plans. Lastly, we are proud to announce we became a 501(c)(3) organization this year, which will enable us to engage in our campaigns more significantly.

 

On the education and youth empowerment front, we created a new curriculum, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Science, & Management Junior High School Curriculum, and hosted a Cultural Keystone Species education series. We hosted outdoor events and classes for Native 

youth and joined schools in Humboldt, Siskiyou, and Trinity counties for culture and career days, 

assemblies, fairs, celebrations, and field trips. Last spring and summer alone, we hosted a teachers training, two outdoor camps, five river trips, a river cleanup, an online educational series, 

several field trips, Salmon Run-related community dinners, T-shirt making, and school visits. 

 

Though we had decent runs of salmon in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers for the first time in years, we also had major fires and fish kills in the Klamath River watershed, along with climate-induced drought and big winter storms. Despite the storms, carryover storage in the Klamath, Sacramento and Trinity Rivers remains low due to the prioritization of water for non-Tribal senior water right holders (mostly Big Agriculture), and this situation led to us almost not having enough cold water in the Trinity River to combat the Klamath River adult fish kills. Thankfully, cooler weather and rain saved us from a springtime juvenile fish kill, and from large fish kills in the fall. In the Klamath River watershed, we had issues with agricultural water users not following curtailments, and the state not issuing curtailment plans that worked. At this point, the state has not leveled significant fines on water user violators. Instead, regular and agricultural water users keep pushing for new dams and diversions and regulations for cities, not farms. This has led to the Scott River going dry and the narrative that small fines for water theft is just another business expense. Furthermore, politicians are saying river waters are wasted to the ocean and advocating that cities and Big Ag should take more water from Northern California instead of conserving it.

 

All in all, it has been a great year and we are very proud. Below you will find an outlined report on what our staff has done in 2022 and plans to do in the year ahead. We would love your feedback and involvement!

Mahlija Florendo

Artwork by Mahlija Florendo

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Alcatraz Sunrise Gathering 2022

POLICY HIGHLIGHTS:

Removing Dams, Fighting Climate Change & New Dams and Pipelines, Supporting Land Back and Restoring Flows.

Save California Salmon’s policy actions are done in coordination with Tribes and Tribal NGOs.

RACIAL EQUITY AND WATER

Last year we commented on the State Water Board Racial Equity and Inclusion Resolution and Racial Equity Action Plan, along with the North Coast Racial Equity Resolution. We supported and pushed for a Redding Tribal public hearing for the state plan and Regional Happy Camp and North Coast hearings. Many Tribes and Tribal members participated. We made it clear that rivers, salmon, reformed water rights, accessibility and Tribal rights are critical to racial equity processes.

 

KLAMATH DAM AND EEL RIVER DAM REMOVAL

After almost 20 years, Klamath Dam removal has been approved! We were a major force in dam removal organizing and education in recent years, and are continuing to host and support public education, events and classes on dam removal. We are also pushing for removal of PG&E dams on the Eel and Sacramento River tributaries.

 

CENTRAL VALLEY AND TRINITY RIVER SALMON PLANS

We are pushing for a strong Biological Opinion (water plans to conserve species) for the Central Valley Water Projects. We also prepared the 60 Day Notice of Intent to Sue on the Trinity River with others. The Bureau of Reclamation relented and is preparing a Biological Opinion for Trinity River coho salmon.

 

SCOTT AND SHASTA RIVER CURTAILMENTS AND TMDL

We continued to push for the establishment of temporary emergency curtailments and long term management solutions for the Scott and Shasta Rivers. We are also putting pressure on the Water Board to enact fines and better TMDLs (total maximum daily loads, the maximum amount of pollutant allowed in a system according to Water Quality Standards).

 

TRIBAL RIGHTS AND WATER RIGHTS REFORM

We filed a petition to the State Water Board and a Civil Rights Complaint to the EPA on the Bay-Delta Plan Updates and related Voluntary Agreements. We also engaged in the California Tribal Beneficial Use water quality processes through the State and Regional Water Boards.

 

ADVOCATED FOR CALIFORNIA TO ENFORCE WATER QUALITY LAWS

We commented for strong Temperature Management Plans and Water Curtailments and against Temporary Urgency Change Petitions related to the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Trinity Rivers and Bay Delta.

 

DELTA TUNNEL AND SITES RESERVOIR

We commented on the Delta Conveyance Project (Tunnel). We also commented during the Sites Reservoir public input and funding processes, tracked Water Rights Applications and helped organize opposition from NGOs and Tribes. 

 

ADVOCATED FOR RESTORATION AND LAND BACK

Along with pushing for water rights reform, we are supporting watershed-scale restoration, Tribal land return and recognition of rights in California. We have been commenting on the 30x30 process and attending meetings and pushing for Land Back, Tribal management and Tribal burning, and watershed and flow restoration projects with Tribal partners. We are also pushing for the EPA’s Tribal water rights and water quality rulemaking to recognize California Tribes’ rights. In 2023 we are planning a Northern California Land Back Conference and Land Back Red Paper with Cal Poly Humboldt’s Native American Studies Department.

Indigenous Science Camp 2022

EDUCATION AND YOUTH HIGHLIGHTS:

Bringing Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Water Protection Curricula to Our Classrooms and Providing Outdoor Experiences and Internships for Native Youth

EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR

We were honored to win EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR from the Association of Outdoor Educators, Ten Strands and the California Environmental Literacy Initiative.

HIRED A FULL-TIME EDUCATION DIRECTOR

We also hired a full-time Education Director and a Central Valley Education Advocate.

 

CURRICULUM WORK

 

  • We pushed for the Advocacy and Water Protection Curriculum to be taught in California high schools and helped inspire and start an Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship in Humboldt County. This curriculum is also at https://www.californiasalmon.org/.

 

  • We created a curriculum on White Water Safety, and worked with Rios to Rivers on the Paddle Tribal Waters curriculum.

 

  • We advocated for culturally appropriate curricula.

 

ONLINE CLASSES

 

  • We held two accredited educator trainings with 24 participants. 

 

EDUCATORS AND SCHOOLS SUPPORT

  • We supported Indigenous Peoples’ Day week and Native American History Month with presentations on TEK and cultural activities at Hoopa, Happy Camp, and Orleans Elementary schools and schools across Trinity County.

 

  • We helped with the Klamath-Trinity School District’s Fish Fair in Hoopa, California and supported many field trips for Humboldt County and Klamath-Trinity Schools.

 

  • We supported multiple youth and classroom events in Yreka, Happy Camp, Hoopa, McKinleyville, Somes Bar and Orleans, California.

 

  • We presented at education conferences, universities’ forums and conferences, and the North Coast Indian Development Council’s Indian Education Series, and we supported our partners’ Tribal education events.

 

YOUTH EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT

  • We hosted eight Native youth internships for high school and college students and two fellowships with Youth Organize California.

 

Salmon Run 2022

COMMUNITY EVENTS:

RIVER TRIPS

We hosted six river trips for Native youth and families in four counties. Well over 100 youth participated. We also supported the Rios to Rivers Indigenous Youth Paddle Tribal Waters Camp and the Karuk Tribe’s Youth Camp.

 

TRINITY RIVER CLEANUP

We hosted the Trinity River Cleanup with the Warrior Institute and Hoopa Valley Tribe.

 

SALMON RUN

  • We supported the Trinity and Weitchpec to Happy Camp sections of the 19th annual Salmon Run on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

 

  • We hosted a free Salmon Run Dinner, T-shirt making and movie showings for Hoopa, Orleans, Somes Bar and Happy Camp Schools.

 

FILM FESTIVALS

We presented at the Youth Film Festival and Long Line of Ladies Film Showing with NCIDC, the Yurok and Hoopa Tribes and Two Feathers!

 

CANOE CAMP

We hosted an Indigenous Science and a Canoe Camp that served almost 200 youth.

 

CELEBRATIONS / HOLIDAYS

We were part of the 55th Annual Native American Day in Sacramento, Sovereign Days celebration in Hoopa, California and Klamath Salmon Festival in Klamath, California.

CONFERENCES / PRESENTATIONS

We helped with presentations at the National Indigenous and Tribal Climate Conference in Saint Paul, MN and at the National Council of American Indians.

 

CURRICULUM LAUNCH

We hosted an online TEK curriculum launch and some movie showings.

 

RUN 4 SALMON

We supported the Run4Salmon on the lower Sacramento River stretch.

From Left to Right: CWJN 2023 Winter/Spring Edition, 2022 Summer/Fall Ed., 2022 Winter/Spring Ed.

MEDIA:

CALIFORNIA WATER JUSTICE NEWS: PRINT NEWSLETTER

We created two printed California Water Justice News newsletters that went to schools, reservations, towns and jails in four counties.

 

VIDEOGRAPHY

We created videos with youth and community members on Klamath Dam removal, youth advocacy, outdoor justice, Land Back, rivers keystone species and many other issues.

 

ARTICLES

We wrote articles for News From Native California, Two Rivers Tribune, Truthout and many other papers, and were featured on Indian Country Today, High Country News, Native American Calling and many other news outlets.

 

PODCAST

We produced the Water Coast Water Justice podcast. 2022 episodes include: 

 

  1. Following the Water: How Dams and Water Shape Tribal Recognition in California: Chief Caleen Sisk.

  2. From the Bay to the Winnemem Waywayket (McCloud River): Chief Caleen Sisk.

  3. California’s Inequitable Water Rights System and Water Projects: Doug Obeji.

  4. Klamath Dam Removal, a Confluence of Indigenous and Western Sciences: Keith Parker.

  5. Updating California Water Policy for Climate Change: Clifford Lee. 

  6. Protecting California's Water Before It Runs Out: Clifford Lee.

  7. Native Youth Rising: Danielle Frank.

Day of Action for Removal of the Klamath River Dams: Photo by Stormy Staats

PRIORITIES FOR 2023:

Our policy priorities for the year ahead are to fight false water and climate solutions such as the Bay Delta Voluntary Agreements and Delta Tunnel, and to push for dam removal, habitat restoration, water rights reform and flow for fish. Our education priorities are to create more TEK and Native studies-based curriculum and classes, to support educators and classrooms, and to push for curriculum reform in California schools. Our community priorities include community-led fishing, cultural and Land Back efforts; educator and youth trainings; and family camps, river trips and events.

ONGOING EFFORTS 

  • In 2023 we will host Indigenous Science and Canoe Camps and work on adding Fish Camps.

 

  • We will work on getting new curriculum into schools in rural counties and into statewide curriculum reform discussions.

 

  • We will advocate for focused Land Back, co-management and restoration projects for North Coast and Bay Delta Rivers.

 

  • We will plan and host Land Back symposiums and youth organizing conferences with partners.

 

  • We will work to create a strong federal EPA Tribal water rights Clean Water Act rulemaking process that includes California Tribes, and push for protective State Water Board Tribal Beneficial Uses.

 

  • We will work to restore Central Valley and North Coast watersheds through water quality, flow restoration and habitat restoration plans, and teach about this work.

 

  • We will work to update Basin Plan Temperature Objectives for the Trinity and Sacramento Rivers through the North Coast and Central Valley Regional Water Boards.

 

  • We will work to restore the Trinity River and change operations through Endangered Species Planning (Biological Opinions, Temperature Management Plans, etc.).

 

  • We will push for collaboration between local universities/colleges and primary education systems, especially in rural areas serving a large number of Native students and families.

 

  • We will support schools’ Native American Days, Fish Fairs and science field trips.

 

  • We will make sure Tribes and rural communities of color are part of racial equity plans.

 

  • We will work to defeat the Delta Tunnel and the Sites Reservoir.

 

  • We will support community-organized efforts for fisheries such as the Salmon Run and Run4Salmon, and we will host and help pay for other community events around these efforts.

 

  • We will support Tribal-led policy initiatives and restoration efforts.

 

NEW INITIATIVES

  • Fixing the World restoration speaker series on dam removal, estuary and wetlands restoration, fish passage and mining damage.

 

  • Klamath Dam Removal curriculum, including field trips and science camps on site.

 

  • Community organizing and policy trainings

 

  • New Traditional Ecological Knowledge Curriculum for universities.

 

  • Resources for, and help with planning for, Land Back and Tribally-led climate and management efforts.

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