This is Katimin, the center of our world

Where Masuhsava (Salmon River) meets Ishkeesh (the Klamath River)
The cone shaped mountain near the bottom is Auwitch (Sugar Loaf)

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Karuk Department of Natural Resources is to protect, enhance and restore the cultural/natural resources and ecological processes upon which Karuk people depend.  Natural Resources staff ensure that the integrity of natural ecosystem processes and traditional values are incorporated into resource management strategies.


Karuk files 60 day Notice of Intent to Sue NMFS and BOR Over ESA Violations


Karuk Tribe

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2016

For more information:
Craig Tucker, Natural Resources Policy Advocate, Karuk Tribe, 707-839-1982

Tribe Files 60 Day Notice Under the Endangered Species Act

Happy Camp, CA – Citing a disease infection rate of 90% of sampled juvenile salmon in 2015, today the Karuk Tribe presented the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) with a 60 day notice of intent to sue over violations of the Endangered Species Act.
“We cannot allow mismanagement by federal agencies to destroy what little remains of our fisheries,” said Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery.
Earlier this year, the Karuk celebrated when the Obama Administration, California, Oregon, the Yurok Tribe, dam owner PacifiCorp and others agreed on a plan to expedite the removal of the lower four Klamath dams by filing a dam removal plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The dam removal agreement calls on signatories to continue efforts to negotiate a long term solution to the water woes that have long plagued Klamath fisheries. Dam removal is planned to take place in 2020.
“Our action today in no way diminishes our commitment to work with Klamath irrigators to develop a long term solution that works for fish and farm dependent communities. But until we have a solution in place, we cannot sit idly by while 90% of our fish die from disease. This problem could be managed in part by releasing more water at critical times of year,” said Attebery.
Flows on the Klamath River are a function of how BOR diverts water to the 225,000 Klamath Irrigation Project from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River to grow alfalfa, potatoes and other crops. Because of the ESA listing of coho salmon, the BOR irrigation plan must be reviewed by NMFS to ensure that diversions don’t jeopardize the survival of the species. NMFS then issues a document known as a Biological Opinion which provides additional rules for how flows must be managed to protect coho salmon.
In 2014 and 2015, the incredibly high rates of infection by the disease causing parasite Ceratonova nova (until recently described as Ceratomyxa shasta) were due in part to low flows and warm water
temperatures brought on by the drought. The Biological Opinion (BiOp) is written such that infection rates greater than 49% are not allowable. The BiOp states, “…If the percent of C. Shasta infections for Chinook salmon juveniles in the mainstem Klamath River between Shasta River and Trinity River during May to July exceed these levels (i.e., 54 percent infection via histology or 49 percent infection via QPCR), reinitiation of formal consultation will be necessary.” See page 391,
The infection rate of non-listed Chinook salmon are used as a proxy for coho because ESA listed coho salmon are unavailable to sacrifice and analyze.
In a letter to BOR earlier this year, NMFS suggests that it does not intend to re-consult over the BiOp but instead intends to revise its take statement. Or as Karuk Department of Natural Resources Director Leaf Hillman puts it, “They plan to make up new rules for the game during half time.”
According to Karuk Fisheries Biologist Toz Soto, “Throughout the Pacific Northwest, the common denominator for a C. shasta disease problem like this one is large dams paired with large hatcheries. Dams block migration and disrupt the salmon’s natural distribution pattern and cause large concentrations of fish below the dam. This is compounded by the hatchery dumping millions of juveniles into the river during the peak disease infection period. This concentration of juvenile fish, infected fish carcasses, and steady releases of reservoir tail water is the recipe for a C. shasta epidemic.”
According to fisheries biologists, the solution to the problem is removal of the dams and retirement of the hatchery – a process slated to begin in 2020 according to the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. Until then, the Tribe proposes the implementation of a winter and spring pulse flow plan.
“Below the dam, natural flows and sediment transport are disrupted allowing conditions for a small worm like creature called a polychaete to proliferate. This worm is the intermediate host for the disease parasite. With dams in place our only tool to mitigate this problem is to release large pulse flows to disrupt the disease life cycle by moving gravel, scouring the river channel, and flushing out the algae and the polychaetes. This won’t solve the problem, but it will help us manage it until the dams are removed,” said Soto.
The Tribe hopes that agencies will work with them to develop a flow management plan that will allow for such flushing flows, even in drier years, until dam removal is complete. “It’s the dry years that fish need the kind of help that the Endangered Species Act is intended to provide,” concluded Soto.

The Notice of Intent can be downloaded by clicking the following link - Notice of Violation and Intent to File Suit under the Endangered Species Act

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The Department of Natural Resources is working with national, regional, and local partners to connect the hearts, hands, and minds of tribal and non-tribal communities to the health and abundance of resilient functional ecosystems. Partners from many communities and backgrounds that have taken part in our local collaborative efforts, have identified the need to create diversified revenue streams.  Indigenous people's such as the Karuk, have struggled for generations to hold on to who we are.  Non-tribal communities are finally recognizing the need to turn this trend around and honor the revitalization our cultural management practices.

Eco-cultural revitalization is intended to include changes in land management practices, restoring historic fire regimes, integration of adaptive management principles, intergenerational learning, development of fire adapted communities, and reincorporation of traditional knowledge, practice, and belief pathways into contemporary societal systems.

We are raising funds to start an endowment at the Humboldt Area Foundation to support our Eco-Cultural Revitalization efforts, which requires a minimum of $10,000 to initiate.  This foundation manages investments to generate revenue that will then be available to support a wide range of activities. 

We have great hopes that this endowment, with further investments, will grow to leverage other revenue sources and sustain operational and support capacities to continue these efforts for generations to come.  Though (depending on how fast it grows) this endowment may do little to support our grass roots community based efforts in the short term, it is the longevity it has the potential to provide at an intergenerational scale that is the real benefit. 

I cannot express in words or numbers how much your support could mean to the plants, animals, fish, water, and peoples of place if an endowment such as this is enabled to truly prevail.  The more that is contributed the faster it will grow and become a meaningful contribution to progressing our eco-cultural revitalization efforts.

Thank you for your time and support.



Eco-Cultural Resources Management Plan


The Department of Natural Resources Eco-Cultural Resources Management Plan (ECRMP) is intended to guide future management of natural resources within the Karuk Aboriginal Territory and beyond.  The ECRMP is an integrated resource management plan (IRMP) developed under the authority of the National Indian Forest Resources Management Act.  Though this Act limits the implementation of IRMP’s to Tribal Trust lands, the authority provided in 43 USC Chapter 35 Federal Land Policy and Management provides for the “Coordination of plans for National Forest System lands with Indian land use planning and management programs for the purposes of development and revision”. 


This should allow for coordination of the ECRMP with the Klamath and Six Rivers National Forests Land and Resource Management Plan revisions that will be occurring soon.  With this coordination we should be able to once again manage the Aboriginal Territory in a manner consistent with our cultural and natural heritage.  The Department of Natural Resources welcomes comments from the Tribal Membership and Descendants to help ensure that the final plan will provide lasting benefits for generations to come.  We will be developing the draft provided below in consideration of the comments received to provide a final draft for council review, NEPA compliance, and approvals.


Click here for a copy of the ECRMP document

     Studies and Reports

McBain Associates Lake Shastina Bybass Feasibility Report Click here to download the Feasibility Report
Effects of Dwinnel Dam on Shasta River Salmon and
Considerations for Prioritizing Recovery Actions

This document provides the Karuk Tribal Council an assessment of the effects of Dwinnell Dam on the salmon resources of the Shasta River and gives my perspectives for prioritizing possible recovery actions in the subbasin, including dam removal.

Click here to download press release

Groundwater Conditions in Scott Valley, California

This report describes groundwater conditions in the Scott Valley ... and the development of a groundwater model
representing the alluvial aquifer that can be used to investigate groundwater/surface-water interactions. The goal of this work is to improve understanding of the relationship between land and water use on flow conditions in the Scott River.

Click here to download press release

Summary of Report on Groundwater Conditions in Scott Valley

Click here to download complete report

Click here to download Scott Valley Pumping AnalysisTech Memo

Removal of Dwinnell Dam and
Alternatives Draft Concepts Report

Passage of salmon and steelhead to the upper Shasta River was blocked by the construction of Dwinnell Dam in 1928. Approximately 22 percent of the salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat of the Shasta River was lost with the construction of the dam and reservoir ... Passage to the upper river could be restored by installing a fish ladder on the dam, trapping and hauling fish around the reservoir, dam removal, or providing a bypass route around the reservoir. These four alternatives are evaluated in this report.

Click here to download press release



     Karuk Related Research Projects






DNResource Information and Videos

Resource documents can be viewed by using Adobe Reader. Click the following link to download PDF Viewer. (Link)

Karuk Alternative to Klamath Forest's Westside Timber Plan

DNR Strategic Plan (12/17/15)

WKRP Situaion Analysis

2014 Western Klamath Restoration Partnership Plan (4 MB)

Nation District Rangers Conference Partnerships and Opportunities Presentation (01/27/16, 36 MB)

Restoring Fire to the Landscape Presentation (06/26/14, 30MB)

Western Klamath Restoration Partnership Presentation (17 MB)

These videos can be viewed with Windows Media player on Windows-based computers. Click on any of the links below to download videos:
Karuk Cultural & Ecosystem Restoration Program 1999 (28 MB)
Steinacher Project Update 2000 (22 MB)
Tribe's in Scottland (21 MB)
Uknii-Karuk Fishing Rights (32 MB)

Environmental Education Program 2012 Slideshow (74 MB)

Catching Fire: Prescribed Burning In Northern California (192 MB)


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