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It's time to get MOOOVING

By Pat Ratliff, Pioneer Press August 30, 2006

A short time ago, Oregon's Congressman Greg Walden called for a summit to be held with key politicians and members of the White House to focus on critical issues facing the Klamath River.

A great idea and I commend Greg Walden on his hard work to try and get things accomplished for the Klamath.

As with all great ideas and hard work, there will be people trying to attach themselves and/or their organization along with it or in other words, groups that are trying to increase their stature and/or fund raising abilities.

It seems that some view a summit in the Klamath Basin as too good a chance to pass up, and are immediately trying to change Walden's summit to having those politicians attend their "Klamath Basin Watershed Conference" instead.

The Watershed Conference is being held in Redding in November, and is being held by a large number of groups, with varying degrees of political and monetary interest in the Klamath Basin and Klamath River Basins (If you don't know the difference between the Klamath Basin and the Klamath River Basin, you're probably not from the Klamath Basin).

The Watershed Conference seems to be an effort to bring every governmental agency and nutburger eco group together in one large group to try and "officially fix" the problems on the Klamath River.  Along the way they will have a limited number of the actual people who live along the river participate also, in order to give some sort of "authenticity" to what they hope to accomplish.

Listed among "stakeholder groups" attending the meeting will be California Trout, the Klamath Forest Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, Oregon Natural Resources Council, Oregon Waterwatch and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisheries Associations, just to name a few.

I beg to differ; I don't see any of those groups as stakeholders. I see them holding their hands out wanting to jump on the prospect of even more grants and federal money flowing down the river.

The Watershed Conference seems to be a way of saying "If we get enough groups together and act official, we may get someone to believe we actually know what we are talking about and are not only in it for the money.  If we could happen to snare a few of the officials Walden wanted at his summit, we will instantly gain credibility (and funds - don't forget the funds)".

The groups I listed as part of the "Stakeholders" have done nothing "for" the Klamath Basin except file lawsuits, disrupt reputable attempts to accomplish meaningful work on the Upper Basin and hurt not only the people, but the wildlife and ecology of the area.

Having them listed as "Stakeholders" is an insult.

The governmental agencies and groups who are holding this conference (funded mostly by government monies) should be ashamed of themselves for even attempting this foolishness.  I don't think it needs to be said that just because someone works for the government means they suddenly become a "stakeholder" either.

Do a web search on the "Klamath Basin Watershed Conference" and read some of the minutes of their planning meetings for the conference.  Most of the discussions are on how to raise money and get themselves grants.  Very little discussion, if at all, is on who should actually be present at the meetings.  This is a prime example of government agencies gone amok.

The conference this year (yes, it's been held before, don't you remember all those wonderful accomplishments they implemented?) seems to be an outgrowth of the Chadwick Consensus Meetings.  You remember the Chadwick consensus meetings, where our government agencies paid big money for everyone to get all touchy feely and talk to each other.  That's right, the ones where you had to sigh a statement you were going to work for dam removal before you could attend.  The very fact they are trying so hard to say it isn't an outgrowth of the Chadwick Consensus meetings means something. 
When doing your web search, notice all the mentions of Chadwick's name, his training of the facilitators, etc.  You tell me what that means, but right . . . it's not about him.
Bringing the summit to the Klamath Basin Watershed Conference can do no good, and I urge Congressman Walden to not give this group the time of day, let alone validity by attending.

Actually, with a lot of county and local governmental groups listed as attending, I urge them to also pull out and not attend.

If you sleep with dogs, you're going to get bit!

Public emails promoting a summit in conjunction with the conference have been sent out by Alice Kilham (541-883-3738) who was appointed by President Clinton to the Klamath River Compact Commission and serves as the Federal Representative on the commission, and Lindsey T. Lyons (541-883-7131x212) who is a Watershed Resource Agent with the Oregon State University Extension-Klamath County.

Feel free to give them a call and ask them, "just what were you thinking?"

This column was written by Pat Ratliff, who has no intention of EVER being touchy feely with the Klamath Forest Alliance or Pacific Coast Federation of Fisheries Associations.
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