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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Restoration agreement has local support


It would let Basin live with change and help direct it

By 74 residents of the Klamath Basin

Guest Commentary:  Restoration agreement will pain many in Klamath River area, H&N 11/3/08.

(KBC NOTE: More than 1850 people recently signed petitions against this billion dollar 'agreement' in the Klamath Basin, 250 signed a Karuk petition opposing dam removal, and more than 2000 petitions have been sent to elected officials in the past 5 years against giving forest land to the Klamath Tribes that they previously sold, to be taken off the tax rolls.) HERE for more on 'agreement'

October 26, 2008
We are writing to you today as family farmers, ranchers and members of the community who support the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. 

We join the city councils of Merrill, Malin, Tulelake, Chiloquin, the Klamath Water Users Association, and the 12 local irrigation districts that have voted to support the agreement. They and many others recognize the importance and the necessity of collaboration and compromise in order to address the needs and interests that exist throughout the Basin over the long term.

Stability is essential with respect to water allocation in the entire Klamath Basin. The work that has been done on the restoration agreement will help lead the way to establish that stability for agriculture, the economy of our rural communities, and abundant wildlife resources. This agreement takes necessary steps to comply with federal and state laws that have been passed since the Klamath River Basin Compact was consented to by Congress in 1957. It addresses issues that the founders of the Compact could not have foreseen such as additional storage and safe harbor from reintroduction of salmon species.

The restoration agreement will allow us to not only live with inevitable changes, but to define and be part of the direction of these changes. The alternative is continuing to be embroiled in controversy and expensive litigation with undesirable results for all interests.

Many of us experienced anguish and hardship when our century-old water supply was abruptly cut in 2001, and we have barely escaped similar shutdowns in recent years. We believe that anyone that makes his or her home in the Klamath Basin does not want to cope with that type of instability again. The restoration agreement provides an opportunity to build bridges between the communities that are connected by the thread of the Klamath River.

In talking with neighbors, we have heard questions about supporting an agreement that still has loose ends. It is true that some issues are still in negotiation, most notably the hydropower agreement that at the moment is being worked on by state and federal governments along with PacifiCorp. 

We don’t have a voice in deciding what is in the best interest of a private utility and its ratepayers, nor do we necessarily think we should, with the exception that we too are PacifiCorp ratepayers. Regardless of what we think, the dams on the Klamath River depend on profitability for the owner and stockholders of PacifiCorp.

It is our position to continue to support the restoration agreement because it is a realistic and politically viable alternative. We have faith in the process and believe that working together will always yield better results than wasting time and money on litigation.

We believe in conservation. This includes water conservation and wildlife conservation. Klamath farmers and ranchers are becoming model stewards of the land, as evidenced by their willingness to be proactive and work with people within the watershed, including the refuges. We share frustration that we are stereotyped and that many outsiders do not understand the incredible relationship between agriculture and wildlife in this Basin, or the respect we have for wildlife resources. Still, we support doing more.

Skepticism remains towards the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and particularly the National Marine Fisheries Service as it continues its traditional regulatory approach under the Endangered Species Act. As an example, we were stunned to read the suggestion that the Klamath Project should consult under the Endangered Species Act for effects it may have on killer whales. Regulatory implementation of the act impedes cooperation and creates problems; it does not solve them.

We will continue to work towards solutions, seeking new partners, and seek to work in cooperation, not litigation. Federal and state agencies were active promoters of the agreement process as a means to achieve a more holistic and secure future for everyone in this Basin. We must hope that they truly understand that regulatory hammers do not work, and will without doubt, divide us again.

 A balanced approach with respect to implementation and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act needs to take hold and focus on working with landowners as partners, not adversaries. With this new direction, the value of the fertile lands of the entire Klamath Basin can be realized for everyone’s benefit.

$500 million, but relief lacking

In the past seven years, there has been investment of over $500 million into the Klamath River watershed, the majority from federal funding, but we have yet to see meaningful regulatory relief.

With the proposed action in the restoration agreement we would redirect this funding away from the random acts of restoration we have seen in the past and toward a focused watershed wide approach. We believe this proposed settlement sets out a new course, one of successful collaboration and long lasting prosperity for all Klamath Basin communities. It won’t be perfect. It will just be much better than the alternatives.

Don’t think because you no longer hear the rally cry of community support that a “silent” majority isn’t embracing the restoration agreement. Hear us loud and clear: we support the agreement and we will continue to move forward seeking improvements for the success of future generations.

Signing the commentary

    Lucky Ackley, Calif., John Adair, Calif., Greg Addington, Ore., Frank Anderson, Calif., Ramon Ayala, Ore., Ed Bair, Ore., Craig Bettendorff, Calif., Monte Brollier, Ore., Dick Carleton, Ore., Greg Carleton, Ore., Jim Carleton, Ore., Dan Chin, Ore., J.W. Cope, Ore., John Crawford, Calif., Robert Crawford, Calif., Earl Danosky, Calif., Jessica DuBose, Ore., Dennis Fanning, Calif., Robert Fensler, Calif.

    Ron Fensler, Calif., Craig Fleck, Ore., Clint Hall, Calif., Clinton Hall, Calif., Kristine Hartman, Ore., Gerald Haskins, Calif., J.E. Havlina, Calif., Diane Haynes, Calif., Bill Heiney, Calif., Rhonda Hemphill, Calif., Sam Henzel, Ore., Candace Horsley, Ore., Luther Horsley, Ore., Debora Huffman, Calif., Judy Huffman, Calif., Matt Huffman, Calif., Otto Huffman, Calif.

    Ryan Huffman, Calif., Chris Kandra, Ore., Steve Kandra, Ore., Dan Keppen, Ore., David King, Ore., Donald Kirby, Calif., Rocky Liskey, Ore., Tracey Liskey, Ore., Lynn Long, Ore., Rick Lyon, Ore., Chris Matthews, Ore., Lee McKoen, Ore., Mike McKoen, Ore., Tom Nonella, Ore., Mike Noonan, Ore., Tim O’Connor, Ore.

    Steven Parkinson, Ore., Tim Parks, Ore., Grace Phillips, Calif., Gerald Pyle, Ore., Luke Robison, Ore., Scott Seus, Calif., Dave Solem, Ore., Ed Staunton, Calif., Sid Staunton, Calif., Belinda Stewart, Ore., Tom Stewart, Calif., Mark Trotman, Ore., Cory Turner, Ore., Michael Ugalde, Ore., Cheri Unruh, Ore., Rob Unruh, Ore., John Walker, Ore., William Walker, Ore., Gary Wright, Calif., Heath Wright, Calif., Roy Wright, Calif., Verna Wright, Calif..

Herald and News Reader Comments

The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of HeraldAndNews.com. Comment Disclaimer: The editors of heraldandnews.com reserve the right to refuse publication of any comment posted for consideration. We may refuse for any reason, including use of profanity, disparaging comments, libelous comments, etc. Any reader who notices a comment they believe is particularly offensive, should notify us at webmaster@heraldandnews.com.
Only peaking electrical dam on west coast wrote on Oct 27, 2008 10:32 PM:
" The primary premise of the agreement to take out the dams is untenable and will accomplish nothing except remove the primary hydropower peaking station in on the West Coast. When it fries in CA this power is all that exists between quick and adequate power and rolling brown outs or blackouts in the California metropolitan areas, according to the power grid layout. "

DeLux wrote on Oct 27, 2008 5:16 PM:

" It is hard to come up with a plan that will please everyone. But doing nothing is criminal. The Basin cannot survive without taking the dams down or providing fish ladders. The demise of Killer Whales is due to lack of salmon and other food that they count on. It's not just humans who are impacted. Let this agreement go forward and see what the impact is rather than speculate what will occur. It's time to make up for past mistakes and go forward. Don't stand still until you get the agreement you want...do something! Bravo to the folks who are speaking out! "

Ive read it all -twice wrote on Oct 27, 2008 11:09 AM:

" We don't need to spend another $750 million (that's already been spent trying to "restore" the area), and that is required for this agreement to be implemented.
The thought of an agreement is desireable in principle, but this agreement needs too much work to be viable and not be challenged in court by the environmental groups who actively oppose it. Sierra Club, Oregon Wild, etc have already vowed to seek an injunction against it if it is implemented as written (as non members of the group, they are not bound by the clause that keeps the group members out of court).
What we need is the storage provided by a Long Lake project. Yes, dredging would be a step forward also, but the ESA and tribes would prevent that from ever happening due to the NEPA , Sucker BioP 's , etc. We are stuck and this agreement is needed in another form. "

jim wrote on Oct 26, 2008 8:54 AM:

" restore what? it is all hogwash, but klamath needs the money and play games with whoever. if klamath does not play the game, they will just take away your water and remove the dams.
what a wasts of money, just dredge klamath lake. "


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