Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Klamath Basin irrigation water outlook 4/12/21
Shut Down & Fed Up Facebook page 4/12/21
2021 is shaping up to be a devastating blow for Klamath Basin agriculture. Farmers, ranchers & the irrigating communities in the Basin have been framed, once again, as the culprits for destroying the very resource that we work so hard to conserve.
We get it...itís convenient, pro-policy and sensational to saddle farmers & ranchers with the myriad of problems facing fish populations. Itís also a twisted misrepresentation that glosses over the policies which have failed every water user, finned, feathered or farmer.
The Klamath Basin is home to hundreds of wildlife species, two of which have made waves over the past four decades. Lost River and Shortnose suckers were listed as Endangered Species in 1988; in response, regulatory bodies in three counties, two states and on the federal level exponentially expanded the restrictive policies governing the actions of agriculturists in the Basin.
Following the listing of these species, water within the Klamath Project, namely supplies stored for irrigation, immediately became the sole dial for ďimprovingĒ fish populations. Policy was enacted to retain more water in the lake and send more water down the Klamath River than would have EVER occurred under natural conditions. The presence of predatory non-native species which feed on young suckers was not addressed. For 20 years, water levels in the lake and river have been kept unnaturally high, irrigation allocations have ranged from minimal to non-existent and fish populations have continued to suffer, with less than 1% of larvae fish surviving.
Profiling the Project by region or productive sector is dangerous & divisive. Farmers & ranchers throughout the Basin have been forced to adapt by shifting their pest management policies, herd management practices, irrigation methods...anything to do more with less. Each year, irrigators relearn their operations and make changes in order to keep their doors open, feed their families and carry on the legacy of showing up for a hungry nation.
The irony in all of the policy tightening, irrigation restrictions and scapegoating is that NO ONE is better off. Fish populations continue to decline, water continues to be flushed out to sea and communities continue to be at odds. If we have learned one thing during the past 40 years of strife, itís that everyone loses when poor policy plays out.
Itís time to face reality, look beneath the surface and take real steps towards saving the Klamath...agriculture and wildlife alike.
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Page Updated: Tuesday April 20, 2021 02:26 AM Pacific
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