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Coho Salvage on Shackleford Creek as a State of Exception

Authors: Jennifer Liou*,
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Human-Environment Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: fish salvage, salmon, state of exception, Klamath River, Scott River, Shackleford Creek
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Shackleford Creek is a Scott River tributary containing high quality salmonid habitat that is underutilized by coho because they become trapped in the lower reaches of the creek which become disconnected by midsummer. The Quartz Valley Indian Community (QVIC) and NOAA are interested in relocating coho from disconnected pools into a reach located directly above high quality habitat, but separated by a waterfall. However, both groups are concerned that implementation of short-term salvage efforts could reduce the perceived urgency of maintaining adequate in-stream flow, resulting in the de facto adoption of salvage as a long-term management strategy as opposed to an emergency action. This leads to my multidisciplinary question: under what conditions, or at what threshold, does coho salvage on Shackleford Creek becomes a viable emergency measure, the benefits of which outweigh potential policy consequences? This question is a precursor to research comparing the effectiveness of relocating coho into similar conditions in an adjacent reach of their natal stream, as opposed to relocating salvaged fish elsewhere in the watershed. I am investigating this question through collaborative discussions with QVIC and NOAA, in addition to using Foucault and Agamben to theorize fish salvage as a state of exception with all of its consequent risks. This conversation occurs in the context of QVIC’s legal efforts to regain historical water rights, and within the context of dam removals on the Klamath, adding emphasis to the stop-gap role that salvage could play in protecting the creek’s fragile coho population while longer-term solutions are sought.

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