Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Fighting for Our Right to Irrigate Our Farms and Caretake Our Natural Resources

Wendell Wood 

Table of Contents

Folks .. these people are organized.. they have an agenda and they get things done ..... as you can see below.  If we want to save our way life, and keep these professional eco-activists from depopulating rural America, we must do the same kind of thing they do..... " Get Active"

Champion of the Land  ???????   (link) 

The latest from Wendell Wood,  our friend at ONRC

 ----- Original Message -----
 From: "Wendell Wood" <ww@onrc.org
 To: "'You'" <ww@onrc.org
 Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 9:55 AM  
   Late last night I sent you ONRC's emergency alert as an attachment. I've   had several emails from people saying that the attachment came through   "garbled." Therefore, I have pasted it into the text below. Let me know   if you need an attached copy to better editor for your newsletter--and I   will resend it. Sorry if this is a duplication of what you do have. At a  minimum please consider printing out the suggested letter below to send  to   Senator Wyden--also addresses for Gov. Kitzhaber (and Sen. Smith & Gale
  Norton included below). Thanks,  Wendell   

KLAMATH BASIN ALERT    ( text format may be bad.... sorry. just copied and pasted )
  Please sign and return to ONRC the enclosed letter to Senator Wyden.
  The Klamath Basin and Klamath River are facing a water crisis this year.
  If development interests prevail, both Upper and Lower Klamath Basin
  National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) will be left without sufficient water to
  meet basic fish and wildlife needs - threatening migrating and nesting
  waterfowl, as well as Upper Klamath Lake's endangered native fish species.
  Additionally, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has warned that lack
  of water at Lower Klamath NWR could lead to starvation or serious harm to
  over 950 bald eagles.
  Local development interests continue to conduct a massive campaign to
  convince the Bush Administration and Oregon elected officials that minimal
  water needs mandated by the federal Endangered Species Act should be
  overridden or ignored. Last month, Senator Gordon Smith sent a letter to
  Secretary of Interior Gale Norton urging her to do so. Fortunately,
  Senator Wyden did not sign that letter.
  In response, on March 8, Oregon Natural Resources Council and other
  conservation organizations put the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and
  Secretary Norton on notice that conservationists intended to sue to ensure
  that endangered fish and threatened bald eagles get enough water to
  But development and political pressures are enormous - and we need your
  help as soon as possible!
  For too many years regulatory agencies sought ways to accommodate powerful
  agriculture interests, while all the time allowing serious degradation of
  the national wildlife refuges and endangered species. As a result,
  1995 and 1997, 80% - 90% of all the remaining endangered fish in Upper
  Klamath Lake died.
  Last year, the BOR's commercial farm program on the Klamath Basin National
  Wildlife Refuges poured water and pesticides on crops such as potatoes and
  onions, yet left no water for waterfowl at the beginning of the fall
  migration. This year, there is even less available water.
  Additionally, thousands of juvenile salmon died last year as a result of
  low flows and insufficient oxygen in the Klamath River. Federal trust
  responsibilities to protect Native American fisheries demand that we do
  On April 4, 2001, a federal judge ruled that the BOR's dam operations in
  the Klamath Basin violated the Endangered Species Act, which protects
  Klamath River salmon. The judge's ruling and a USFWS Biological Opinion
  released on April 6 will help to increase water levels in the Klamath
  this year. However, current plans do not provide sufficient water in
  Klamath Lake to support endangered lake fish, and NO water is provided to
  the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges and its over 1,000 wintering
  bald eagles.
  Please sign the enclosed letter to Senator Ron Wyden and return it to ONRC
  in the postage paid envelope provided. You may also use the letter as a
  sample for your own letters to Senator Gordon Smith, Secretary of Interior
  Gale Norton, and Governor John Kitzhaber. Please ask them to resist
  development pressures to circumvent the Endangered Species Act - needed to
  protect Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges, and threatened coho
  in the Klamath River.
  . Provide full water deliveries to Lower Klamath NWR for bald eagles, as
  well as nesting and migrating waterfowl. In future years end
  pesticide-intensive, commercial farm lease programs on the refuges which
  deny water to wildlife.
  . Provide full water deliveries to the Klamath River to protect its
  threatened coho salmon. Last summer, following low water flows and warm
  temperatures, tens of thousands of young salmon died in the Klamath River.
  . Provide that Upper Klamath Lake be held one foot higher as the U.S. Fish
  and Wildlife Service recommended in March 2001. Vice President Dick
  and others recently leaned on USFWS to change the agency's final
  Opinion, which now allows Upper Klamath NWR's marshes to be drained by
  summer's end - jeopardizing the lake's two endangered fish species and
  other wildlife.
  . Provide immediate financial relief to all irrigators in the Klamath
  Project this year.
  . Arrange to buy out willing sellers with leases in the Klamath National
  Wildlife Refuges.
  With your help, Oregon Natural Resources Council and our conservation
  partners will protect salmon and other endangered fish and wildlife, while
  easing the financial pain of irrigators during this severe drought in the
  Klamath Basin.
  Please sign and return to ONRC the enclosed letter to Senator Wyden, and
  include your full address.
  For your convenience, you may download the sample letter from our website:
  Senator Ron Wyden
  515 Hart Office Building
  Washington, DC 20510
  Gale Norton, Secretary
  US Department of Interior
  1849 C Street, NW
  Washington, DC 20240
  Senator Gordon Smith
  404 Russell Senate Office Building
  Washington, DC 20510
  Governor John Kitzhaber
  160 State Capitol
  900 Court Street, NE
  Salem, OR 97301-4047
  Dear Senator Wyden,
  Please work now to protect Klamath Basin endangered fish and wildlife and
  the economies which depend on them, while providing financial assistance
  all Klamath irrigators.
  For years, the Bureau of Reclamation's (BOR's) water diversions for
  agriculture threatened the area's National Wildlife Refuges, often leaving
  little water in either Upper Klamath or Lower Klamath National Wildlife
  Refuges at summer's end.
  While providing feeding habitat for 90% of the area's wintering bald
  eagles, Lower Klamath also supports the largest concentration of waterfowl
  in the Pacific flyway. Lack of critical wetland habitat harms wildlife-
  related economies throughout Oregon and other Pacific states.
  flows in the Klamath River have harmed recreation businesses, and more
  significantly, devastated this region's commercial, sports, and tribal
  On April 5, 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a
  Biological Opinion which stated that, without water at Lower Klamath
  National Wildlife Refuge, more than 950 eagles will either starve or
  a lowered, weakened condition at the beginning of the breeding season.
  "Opinion" also noted that while Upper Klamath Lake's seasonal levels fell
  ever lower in this last decade, it has now been determined that between
  1995 and 1997, 80% - 90% of the lake's two native species of endangered
  fish died.
  Continued water diversions for agriculture throughout the drought years of
  the 1990's forced the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service
  (NMFS) in March to recommend higher water levels for Upper Klamath Lake
  increased Klamath River flows. These basic measures should have been
  initiated decades ago. In April, at the urging of local irrigators and
  Senator Smith, the Bush Administration arbitrarily "changed the science"
  provide one foot less water in Upper Klamath Lake than what biologists
  maintained was required for species' survival. This change paved the way
  for a plan to instead irrigate cattle pastures and hay fields east of
  Klamath Falls. The good news is that NMFS stayed firm on recommended
  minimal flows for the Klamath River to sustain threatened salmon. Again,
  these flows are the minimum necessary to sustain steelhead and salmon.
  They are not sufficient to recover already depleted stocks.
  While agriculture has consistently benefited, other Klamath Basin
  have historically suffered from water misallocation. Fishing communities
  on the coast have been particularly hard hit, as the Klamath River once
  supplied 30% of the salmon caught on the northern California and southern
  Oregon coasts. Today at least ten of the Klamath Basin's 54 remaining
  salmon populations are at risk of extinction, with many others severely
  depressed. For millennia the Klamath River system and its six major
  tributary rivers provided important salmon habitat for the tribal
  fisheries. The Hoopa, Karuk, Klamath and Yurok Tribes, who have fished in
  this basin for more than 10,000 years, now fear that these fish, upon
  the very survival of their culture depends, will soon be gone forever.
  USFWS and NMFS are finally recommending increased minimal lake levels and
  increased minimal river flows. These mandatory precautions should no
  longer be compromised. An additional seventy thousand acre feet of water
  scheduled for irrigation should be purchased now to provide critical water
  for the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges and to assure the health
  America's bald eagles. Please support financial aid for all area
  irrigators, and advocate that the best science is followed to protect the
  Klamath Basin's threatened and endangered species.




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