Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Irrigation season delayed
March 30, 2006 by STEVE
KADEL H&N Staff Writer
“We're past the point of
moisture being good,” said Bob Gasser of Basin
Fertilizer and Chemical Co. “Onions are supposed to
be planted in the next three weeks, but we can't get
into the fields.
Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association understands the concern.
“It's a Catch-22,” he said. “We're never going to complain too much about (excessive) water, but when this time of year rolls around these guys get pretty anxious.”
Ed Bair raises potatoes, grain and hay. He agrees the soil is wet, although he doesn’t consider it critical at this point.
“If the weather straightens around, we’ll be OK,” he said. “Last year we had a late wet spring. March is a month that can bring us any kind of weather.”
Lynn Long, who farms wheat, barley and oats just north of the state line, called conditions “favorable” because of an abundance of moisture.
“It’s a little early for planting season,” he said. “I have a tractor working today getting a seed bed ready for planting. I like to see this higher-than-normal precipitation. Hopefully it will translate into water for irrigation later this year.”
Long said he’s more concerned about a federal judge’s decision on Monday than he is about soil conditions.
He was referring to U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong’s ruling that put a Klamath River water allocation plan into effect immediately rather than over a five-year period. It could mean withholding water to irrigators if river flows get low enough to hurt coho salmon.
“That casts a very dark shadow over the Klamath Basin,” Long said. “It way overshadows the other factors we’re looking at on the farm today.”
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