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Brandan Topham February Newsletter - ORD to shut off surface and ground water to Upper Klamath ranches and farms

February 15, 2014

(KBC NOTE: Brandan ranches in the Upper Klamath Basin, Sprague River, Oregon.)

Hi Friends,

This is shaping up to be a very bad year for our county. The State
recently told us that they are going to shut off all of the surface water
above Klamath Lake again this year. Considering how dry it has been this
winter that is understandable. What most people do not know is that Oregon
Water Resources Department (OWRD) has decided that it will also shut off
most of the wells above Klamath Lake.

How did they come to that decision? OWRD looked at well logs from two
wells in our valley and 30 wells from other parts of the state and
Northern California. With that information they then constructed a
computer model to show how the water works in our valley.  Their model
claims that all wells that are within 1 mile of Klamath Lake, Agency Lake,
or within 1 mile of perennial gaining reaches of streams tributary to
Upper Klamath Lake are causing problems and must be shut off. *Note that
if a well is 1 foot over a mile it is ok. If a well is 10 feet less they
will shut it off.  Dad has a degree in geology, has been studying geology
in our area for over 40 years, has talked with every geologist who has
studied in the area during that time, as well as writing geologic reports
for wells in the valley.  Dad is very frustrated with the OWRD's model
because it has no basis in reality or science.

Yet, because of this computer model done by people who had never visited
our valley until recently, OWRD is planning on shutting off most of the
wells above Klamath lake, without even studying the wells. While most of
the wells that are getting turned off are owned by ranchers, they also
listed the well that supplies the town of Bly, two wells for the City of
Klamath Falls, most of the wells at the Running Y Resort, two wells for
OIT, and miscellaneous other wells in and near Klamath that may be turned
off. It is also interesting that the wells for the City of Chiloquin will
be left alone. I have attached the list, if a well has a check in either
of the far right columns the state is currently planning on shutting it
*I do not know how that works with drinking water for people*

Because of this mess, Senator Doug Whitsett and Representative Gail
Whitsett have been trying to get a bill passed that would require OWRD to
study and prove that there is a problem with a well before they shut it
off. Last week Mom, Dad, and Erika, among many others went to Salem to
speak in support of this bill. We just got word that the bill had been
killed a few days ago and that we should expect the OWRD to start red
tagging our wells on April 1st.

You will recall that I was wanting to get some donkeys to break up bull
fights. Since my last letter we acquired a pair of donkeys to do just
that.  So far they have been too shy to get near the bulls, but they are
very interested in them from a distance.  So far we have had the donkeys
for a week and there has been no bull fights.  It is hard to tell if the
donkeys are responsible or not because we sold half of the bulls right
before we got the donkeys and it has been raining so the remaining bulls
should be more miserable and less likely to fight.

Speaking of rain, it is currently pouring. We have had 2 inches of rain in
the last 48 hours. It is making feeding cows and everything else much
harder than it could be, but the rain is welcome.

The next beef delivery will be Tuesday, February 18th.  We will be meeting
at Eco Solar(515 South 6th.) between 5:00-5:30PM. Eco Solar is across from
the downtown AMA gas station. Go  downtown over the overpass and stay on S
6th, after a few streets the AMA gas station will be on the left, Eco
Solar is on the right, between Willow and Plum streets. A list of the cuts
and their prices is at www.flyingtsalers.com/meat/price_sheet.html

I hope you had a happy Valentines day.

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