Budget kind to Klamath water programs
The proposed budget calls for the Bureau of Reclamation to receive $958.4 million in funding, with $25 million earmarked for the Basin office. If approved, it would be a $4 million increase compared to the office’s 2006 funding.
The Klamath Basin also was specifically mentioned as a beneficiary of increased funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Innovation Grants program. With a proposed $100 million budget, up from the current $20 million, more efforts would be made to help farmers institute new water conservation practices.
The proposals are a sign that federal officials have the Basin in its thoughts, local officials say.
“I hear grumbling from other offices across the West because of here,” he said.
Keppen said federal officials approached the farm bill differently this time around by meeting with more people in the agricultural industry and individual farmers. They also opened more programs up to a variety of operators rather than just individuals.
“I’m not saying it was ineffective, but this will be more effective,” Keppen said regarding the previous farm bill.
how much attention is paid to the Basin,” said Dan Keppen, executive director of Family Farm Alliance’s local office.
Water users encouraged
A new program funded by the Farm Bill — the Regional Water Enhancement Program — would be funded at a level of $175 million annually for a 10-year period. The program would focus on watershed-based coordinated water quality and conservation projects on a regional scale.
Keppen and Greg Addington, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association, said they were encouraged by the proposals.
Addington said his organization pays close attention to what efforts are put toward water issues, and he feels the proposed bill addressed his organization’s concerns.
“I think it’s a recognition that t h e r e ’ s s t i l l w o r k t o b e d o n e