Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Revised version which ran in the Pioneer
The Courier writer was advised of some inaccuracies, so this article was revised.
Chadwick comes to Chiloquin
Indians, government agencies, environmentalists and farmers meet
Klamath Courier Reporter August 2005
Bob Chadwick of Chadwick Consensus Inc. did it before and he intends to do it again. He and his facilitators have traveled nationwide to find solutions for areas in conflict, and he was asked to get involved by Alice Kilham, member of the Upper Basin Working Group, to help find a fix for the Klamath water crisis.
Within the past year in the Klamath watershed, Chadwick facilitated meetings in Klamath, CA, Somes Bar, Scott Valley, Tulelake, and Chiloquin. His philosophy is to "restore the river because it’s the right thing to do."
Bob Chadwick managed the Winema National Forest for several years and has facilitated consensus groups in hundreds of situations. When the biological opinion was written regarding endangered species to control Klamath irrigation water allocations, it stated that a group must be formed of stakeholders on the Klamath watershed to find solutions. So the Bureau of Reclamation is forming the Conservation Implementation Program, CIP, to bring people together to work out their differences. The Bureau has been footing the bill of Chadwick and his associates to bring people together.
- Who came -
More than 70 people met at the Chiloquin Community Center with Bob Chadwick and his facilitators from June 28-30. There were more than 20 government employees, members of several Indian Tribes, a couple filmmakers from Humboldt County, ecosystem restoration groups, water-marketing group, a Ph.D. student from Virginia studying conflict resolution, environmentalists, Congressional aids, a Klamath County Commissioner, power company employees, water resource specialists, and some farmers and ranchers. Few Project farmers participated because they were either farming since the past 4 sessions have been during farm season, or else they do not support this consensus forum.
There was a list on the wall of focus areas, or
goals. Some of these included:
- Why did people come? -
Chadwick had people get in a large circle and tell why they came and what outcome they wanted. Some of the desires were:
* salmon to flourish in their historic range,
* tribes to be given their historic homeland in the Winema and Fremont National Forest,
* more education on facts and science from different parts of the watershed,
* environmental groups and tribes to discontinue using the media to propagate lies about the Klamath Project,
* dams removed from the Klamath River
* Klamath Project irrigation downsized,
* thriving agricultural communities
* thriving tribal and fishing communities
- If something bad happens, it’s your fault -
But first, and several times a day, Chadwick told people why they shouldn’t say anything negative. He told them to tell their worst possible outcomes of these meetings. After they expressed them, Chadwick told them that by thinking of any negative outcomes, they will make them happen.
Chadwick used the example of Andy Kerr, an Oregon environmentalist who is against grazing and told the Tulelake Rotary that farming would come to an end in the Klamath Basin. Kerr explained how the Oregon Natural Resource Coalition would help get more species listed as endangered, plant activist Wendall Wood stationed in the Klamath Basin, and litigate, to achieve their goals.
Chadwick said that, by repeating what Kerr said and thinking about it, the farmers are causing the outcome. And if you dare to think about worst possible outcomes, that means you are using your lower brain, your reptilian brain, which will change you emotionally, chemically and physically, and you can’t differentiate between life-threatening and non-life-threatening concerns. So if worst possible outcomes happen, it’s your fault because you thought about it.
There were people from all parts of the
watershed, with as many views and concerns. Any
initials are fictitious because the facilitator said
those speaking are suppose to remain anonymous.
Mr. B from KBRT said that many people are against change and progress and are against the Klamath Tribes getting the National Forest back (land that the tribes previously sold). He said those negative people are "fearmongers" who believe the government and tribes are going to take their water. He said the Chadwick process can stop those feelings.
Mr. C from Sprague River told about the many projects farmers, ranchers, and landowners are doing by the River, doing what’s good for the land. The people are working together. He said that "we are all U.S. citizens and we all have a voice in elected officials." He said that if the tribes get the forest again, locals and the public won’t have part in it and the acquisition would be divisive.
Another man said he and his neighbors have restored wetlands, cut junipers that were using water, and fenced cattle away from streams. He formed a group to put an end to over-grazing.
Mr. D came to the Salmon River, a tributary of the Klamath River, 30 years ago. (He and Felice Pace formed the Klamath Forest Alliance.) He said he must protect the watershed and the community. He said with western expansion, trappers killed animals and gold miners killed Indians. Mining damaged the rivers. The Forest Service excluded fire, which ruined the natural process. Farmers and ranchers dewatered wetlands which reduced habitat. Farm chemicals ruin water quality and cows damage riverbanks and water quality. Logging was purely greed for money, ruining public trust. Loggers believe that "the only good tree is a stump."
Mr. D. said it is his duty to make sure industry and business do not further destroy forests, and he supports regulations like the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Clean Water Act, to slow society; "regulations curb greed and destruction."
(If you look on a Wildlands Map, you will see dots covering most of the Western United States). Mr. D said that he, through Klamath Forest Alliance, helps map corridors and core areas. These are the areas targeted by the ESA (which lacks peer review), NEPA, and Clean Water Act, to eliminate people from these areas. He said that the process took a long time through the Klamath Task Force, however listing Coho salmon as endangered helped the process.
Water is over-allocated, said Mr. D. He does not believe in storing water because he feels it will allow less water down the river, and storage will cause fish diseases. And he wants the tribes to acquire the forests.
The reason he does not like the water bank, which will take 100,000 acre feet of water from the irrigators this year to send down the Klamath River, is because he thinks water should not be privatized. The Klamath River dams should be taken out. He is involved in the Fisheries Task Force and monitors the river. He said that TMDL’s, the regulations for water quality, and support of "restoration" will help achieve his goals.
He said he supports the Chadwick process because it will allow the environmentalists to be heard.
Mr. E from Water Watch followed that talk with the following: he lives in the city, feels like agriculture has ruined the wildlife and wetlands and water quality in the Klamath Basin, there isn’t enough water to go around, and he doesn’t support farming on the refuges. So he wants farmers, "willing sellers,’ to sell their land. He wants that land then to become wetlands. (But in reality, wetlands evaporate more water than farmland, diverting less water into the Klamath River.)
He blamed irrigators and Congressmen for losing $125 million dollars in the past. Mr. E. said money was previously available to buy out Klamath Project farmers and give the tribes the national forest. But farmers and Congress did not support this use of funds.- Angry Farmer -
Mr. F, Klamath Project irrigator, became angry with Mr. E, saying how he hated Mr. E’s untruths. He said , "I want to "kick your ass." Mr. F. said that Hitler used half-truths like Mr. E.
Mr. F. said he believed Mr. E would win, eradicating farms from the Klamath Basin. He said he would show Mr. E. where there are farmed lands that should not be farmed.
Another environmentalist said farming and logging communities should not be decimated by extreme environmentalists.
Ms. G discussed the Conservation Implementation Program, the CIP. She explained how it was the government’s response to the people’s request to have a basin-wide forum to look at the watershed and find solutions. She said she moved here to "make a difference’ in the water crisis.
Mr. H, Yurok Tribal member, said that he does not want the CIP to happen. He said he does not trust the Bureau and does not trust the area manager. He said Ms. I and Ms. G work for the Bureau manager and Sue Ellen (Wooldridge from U.S Dept. of Interior Dept) so can’t be trusted and they might move away so no one would be accountable.
Ms. I, Bureau fish biologist, said she also moved here to "make a difference’ and stay forever. She showed the human side of federal employees, telling how she watches wildlife, loves the area, and wants to influence decisions in our area. She explained to Mr. H that the biological opinion mandates the CIP. She and the Klamath area manager worked on a CIP program on the Upper Colorado which was successful.
Mr. H asked everyone if they trusted the government. He wants demand reduction of water, a Klamath Basin Congress to make decisions on water allocation, and wants no CIP program and wants a meeting with no ‘feds’. Ms. I asked who would pay for the meeting expenses since the government has sponsored these.
Ms May, from Humboldt County, is using the
Chadwick sessions to write a play, Salmon is
Everything. It features the 2002 fish die-off in
the Klamath River. Mr. D will be in the play.
- the last circle –
In the last big circle, day three, late afternoon, everyone was supposed to say that they wanted to do next. If anyone dared say something negative, they certainly would be labeled a lower-brain reptilian whose health and mind would disintegrate. So everyone except one was gung-ho to move forward and find ways to make their wishes happen - take out dams, return the Forest to the tribes, restore salmon west to Bly, preserve farming, and have basin-wide social times with everyone loving and understanding each other.
But there was one reptile, Ms. L.
She wondered how this group, with many who attended several Chadwick workshops, could make solutions for the Basin when most of them still believe that the Klamath Project used to be a desert. And many in the room think that irrigators are taking their water from the Klamath River rather than from storage they built and paid for. Some said that the river and lake are lower instead of higher than pre-project levels. Their solution is Klamath Project water ‘demand reduction’ regardless of the facts and the science. Many of these people want to be a "One Basin Congress." They are forming committees to study things such as Project Irrigators’ power rate, tribal trust, and taking out dams. Ms. L did not feel confident that this group would represent the science and interests of the Klamath irrigators while representing tribes and agencies and environmentalists.
If these dedicated people are the citizens who
you would like to have represent you in a Klamath
Congress, be sure and write your Congressmen to
allocate money for their conservation and
restoration efforts. They would like your support.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved