“It’s time to put more water in the river.”
So says one teen in this video put together by Yurok youth who, fearful of a fish kill on the Klamath River in California, went out and interviewed tribal leaders as well as those who witnessed mass fish death in 2002.
Water levels are low in the river, and the temperature is rising. Fish, especially salmon about to spawn, congregate in the cooler water, and their proximity can spread disease—which gets cultivated in warmer water. In 2002 this resulted in the deaths of 60,000 to 80,000 fish, crippling fisheries and severely compromising sustenance fishing.
Members and leaders of the Hoopa Valley, Karuk and Yurok tribes have confronted U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell about the decision not to release water from the Trinity River into the Klamath. They have also protested outside state government buildings in Sacramento.
"The Klamath River is on the brink of another massive fish kill,” claim the makers of this video.
The river smells terrible, one girl describes, and the salmon, while alive, had gills that “looked weird to me,” she said. “It made me angry and broke my heart, seeing that happening."
The river looks sad and sick, said a Yurok man, recalling when it used to be a glorious emerald green, when he was a child. Now it’s green, alright—neon toxic green with things floating in it.
"It's pretty sad,” he said.
Much of the video is devoted to recounting what transpired during the 2002 fish kill, then drawing parallels between the conditions then and now. Is the Klamath River on the brink of another fish kill? Wathc Yurok youth investigate, below.