Continued Advocacy for Wild Fish in the Shasta Basin


A week ago, on behalf of Friends of the Shasta River and the Environmental Protection Information Center, Western Environmental Law Center filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on the failure of their Safe Harbor Agreement, an agreement set out to give legal immunity to landowners on Endangered or Threatened Species based on stewardship practices on private land.

The groups state that NMFS has issued “Enhancement of Survival” permits to landowners who have been diverting water and ultimately killing Coho salmon. NMFS's decision to continue to issue these permits despite flawed biological evaluations has been jeopardizing and not protecting Coho salmon.

“We are taking this step with considerable reluctance,” said Andrew Marx, Native Fish Society Shasta River Steward and board president of Friends of the Shasta River. “During the safe harbor planning process, a coalition of Tribal and conservation groups provided detailed comments outlining substantive concerns over the proposed Shasta River safe harbor agreement. But those comments were mostly ignored. Over the last year, our group expressed our concerns with the safe harbor agreement through briefings and dialogue with agency staff. Unfortunately, our concerns were again ignored. The agency has been unwilling to alter the program in any substantive way, forcing us into the courtroom.”

Friends of the Shasta River was created to help restore and protect the future of the Shasta River. Since their inception in 2020, the group's advocacy has benefited the watershed immensely. Last year, they secured temporary minimum flows during extremely low flows late in the summer. The group looks to continue this advocacy and ultimately achieve a permanent minimum flow requirement for the watershed.

Today, Andrew Marx and board member Bruce Shoemaker lay out the concerns of their group and others joining in opposition. Listen to the full show on the Jefferson Exchange located at this link.

Small grassroots-led organizations making big impacts in our watersheds throughout the Pacific Northwest will continue to help restore abundant wild fish, free flowing rivers, and thriving local communities. Keep up the great work Andy and everyone else working with Friends of the Shasta River!

Read the full press release from the Western Environmental Law Center located on their website.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Shasta watershed, please contact NFS Southern Oregon Northern California Coordinator Kirk Blaine at We encourage everyone to step up and get involved with their homewaters to help conserve, protect and restore wild fish!


River Stewards


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