Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
January 27, 2006
Questions for Bureau of Reclamation by several
people, irrigation districts, and groups of Klamath
Thank you for your attention to these questions by Klamath Project Irrigators and Irrigation Districts. We will post the questions and your forthcoming answers on www.klamathbasincrisis.org website.
1. An irrigation district hired an attorney to write a letter to the Klamath Bureau of Reclamation office February 2005 regarding lease land revenues. This was followed up by a letter from the irrigation district June 2005 reminding the Bureau of the attorney's letter and also asking questions about reserve works. The response from the Bureau came December 15, 2005 to schedule a meeting after Jan 1, 2006 regarding the letters from last February and June. How can individuals and districts get timely response from the Bureau?
Reclamation has limited personnel to research this type of request, which spanned a number of years, and several sections of our budget. This information has also been under review by our Regional Office in the reconciliation of accounts for the Project as a whole, making the review process more cumbersome. If districts or individuals would ask for more specific information in smaller quantities, it would allow Reclamation to respond in a more timely manner.
2. It takes the Bureau weeks to process power requests from farmers. How can this problem be corrected?
The process has been streamlined, and Reclamation is completing the process faster than in the past. Reclamation responds as quickly as staff time allows.
3. How many people work in the Bureau's Klamath Area Office?
There are currently 33 employees including engineering technicians, Project maintenance staff, hydrologists, environmental specialists, water conservation specialists, biologists, managers and a small administrative staff.
4. In the questions we asked you in September 2005, you said that the next CIP (Conservation Implementation Program) draft would be out to the public in December of 2005, which to our knowledge did not happen. When do you now expect this to go out to the public?
The third drat will be available the first week of February on our website.
5. CIP began a few years ago. When can we expect the final document?
The final document, after public circulation as described above, will be completed in a meeting of interested parties facilitated by a team of organization development specialists in the spring of 2006.
This will be a dynamic document supporting an active and evolving restoration program. As the program evolves over a period of years, the document will also change and adapt.
6. When are the first CIP practices going to be recognized?
Question not clear.
7. What are the CIP practices that will be implemented in 2006?
1. Organizational Development Contract Coordination.
2. Continued Natural Flow Study with NAS.
3. Continued funding of salmon disease studies.
4. Others to be determined.
6. How much money was allocated to the CIP process?
There is no CIP line item. Funding has come from the fish and wildlife management and development account.
7. What have been the CIP expenditures to date; how much money for what expenditures?
A current list of items funded by the CIP includes:
Chadwick (5 meetings at $5000 each) - $25,000
8. We have been told that Dr. Tom Hardy was paid with CIP funds to perform some scientific studies. How much was he paid and what service did he perform.
Dr. Hardy was paid $18,000 (noted above). He was unable to complete his DOJ contract within the allotted contract time because of delays in the Natural Flow Study.
9. What is the timeline for a complete accounting of BOR operations in Klamath?
The accounting cycle for Operations and
Maintenance the previous calendar year is completed
in the following February.
I donít understand the question.
541-885-9443, 541-281-2849, 541-892-6383
12. It is our understanding the Bureau helped fund the Chadwick facilitator training in Yreka as well as previous sessions. How many people were trained to be consensus facilitators?
Neither Reclamation nor CIP funds were expended for this purpose. You would have to contact Chadwick for the number of participants.
13. In December the Chadwick group was scheduled to meet to begin planning a Klamath Congress. Planning dam removal, water demand reduction, Tribal land acquisition, etc were some of the goals of the group. What is the current status of Chadwickís Klamath Congress and planned meetings?
We do not know the agenda of the Chadwick group. It is a citizenís involvement organization that operates at the direction of its members. Contact Terry Morton or Bob Chadwick.
14. Is the Bureau still funding the Chadwick group? If not, who is?
No. You will have to ask them.
15. We understand that the NAS will be reviewing the Natural Flow Study. Is this all that they will be looking at or is it a broader review?
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will review the Natural Flow Study, which is a modeling tool that will estimate the monthly natural flow in the Upper Klamath River Bain, including tributaries, before agricultural development. This review will start in February and be completed in June of 2007.
a. If so what else will they be looking at?
At the same time, NAS will review the Evaluation of Instream Flow Needs in the Klamath River (Hardy Phase II).
Independent scientists make up the committee. Please refer to NASís web site for biographies of committee members.
16. In 2003, the study of
Long Lake to be
used for 350,000 to 500,000 acre feet of deep-cool
water storage was supported by our community
including Klamath Tribes, Water Users Association,
Klamath County Board of Commissioners, Tulelake
Irrigation District, and Tulelake Growers
Association as well as Bureau Commissioner John
Keys. Thousands of acres of farmland have been
acquired by the government in the Upper Klamath
Basin and only provide shallow-warm water storage
for down-river demands. At the 2004 Congressional
Hearing at Ross Ragland in Klamath Falls on the
Endangered Species Act, Regional Director Kirk
Rodgers said the Bureau was "re-engaging that (Long
Lake) study as we speak."
Reclamationís Geology Group has been drilling test holes and evaluating the porosity of the soils over the past two years as seasonal weather has allowed. A preliminare ethnology study was also conducted by Reclamation.
The test hole data are currently being evaluated to estimate potential for losses due to seepage and may be available for review as soon as February 2006. Revised, preliminary cost estimates are concurrently being prepared and should be available later this year.
With the Klamath Irrigators' power rate unknown, which could be the current rate to up to 2600 per cent increase for the 2006 season, and lawsuits demanding more of the irrigation water to go down the Klamath River, and the water table lowering from over-pumping the aquifer, what are the Bureauís plans for a 2006 water bank?
a. How many acres of fallow farmland, and how much groundwater are you planning to require of the Irrigators to fill lake-level and river-flow demands in 2006?
The precise acreage planned for each usage type
will be released as soon as it is determined.
Initially we are looking for about 10,000 acre feet
Clear Lake Dam had its first Periodic Facility
Review in September of 2005. The results were very
good, with only relatively minor recommendations for
maintenance of the facility. The dam is not
The Reclamation Safety of Dams Office in Denver, in consultation with reviewing engineers from the Regional Office determined that the old Clear Lake Dam was unsafe under certain conditions. To allow the lake to reach a full pool to protect Tulelake and other downstream interests, the Dam needed to be rebuilt. The Project Irrigators are expected to provide a portion of the cost of that required construction cost.
20. What is the status of Barnes Ranch acquisition that was promoted as water storage for irrigation? We have heard that Fish and Wildlife Service plans to buy it; is that true? If so, for how much money and how will it be used?
The Department of Interior continues working to acquire Barnes Ranch through the land acquisition authority of the FWS. The cost is under negotiation.
Water Bank Problems for Irrigation Districts:
In 2005, any district that had water bank participants received maps and lists of the water bank participants that indicated who, what location, and what type of contract. Further coordination may be improved with more face-to-face consultation. Reclamation will continue to provide this water bank information in 2006 and beyond.
Reclamation did not make any special deals, but we are aware of a few violations of water bank contracts in 2005. We attempt to monitor water use for violations of contracts but we encourage anyone having specific information about a violation of a water bank contract to contact us by phone, anonymously if necessary, so we may investigate the violation.
3. Contracts with the Bureau and irrigators require weed control, cover crops, and other requirements specific to the individual contracts, such as, some irrigators are supposed to pump metered water onto certain property and not directly into ditches. In the past we have not seen that anyone is monitoring compliance with your rules.
In both 2004 and 2005, we conducted monitoring and acted upon legitimate cases where violations could be documented. We will continue to monitor water use for violations of contracts but we encourage anyone having specific information about a violation of a water bank contract to contact us by phone so we may investigate the violation.
In 2005, we did not coordinate with the districts as we had in some past years. We anticipate meeting with affected districts this year which should improve collaboration.
It is our understanding that some individuals
that pumped water the last couple of years used
ditches and drains to transport water from one area
to another under the operational allowances of a
drought declaration permit. Since there will not be
a drought declaration this year, those individuals
pumping ground water must hold a supplemental ground
water permit and restrict there pumping to their
acreage under production. This should greatly reduce
the additional drain water that may have been
present under the previous yearís contracts.
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