Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
By Jacqui Krizo, Klamath Courier Reporter, November
9 Edition P A6
YREKA – Klamath River Dam Removal. Klamath
Project power rates. Water management and
allocation. Tribal Trust
Bob Chadwick of Consensus Associates and his group of participants hope to achieve some of these goals for the Klamath River Basin.
Initially Alice Kilham, member of the Klamath River Compact and the Hatfield Working Group, asked Chadwick to help develop a plan for the Klamath Basin to bring stakeholders together. Throughout the past year Chadwick has met with people from the Pacific Coast to the Klamath Project.
Last week more than 30 people met at the Miner’s Inn in Yreka for three days to develop a structure for the new Klamath Basin Congress. Two Klamath Project irrigators attended, one former coastal fishermen, one tribal person, several governmental agencies, environmentalists, one or two county commissioners, and some Scott and Shasta Valley ranchers.
Chadwick asked people to tell why this process
would not work, and what it would take to make it
work. Some of the positive suggestions were:
It would work if agendas were not driving the process.
It could possibly work if ESA and TMDL’s weren’t driving water management.
There were dozens more positive ideas.
Chadwick told the group to look beyond negative concerns to think positive and find solutions to restore the river.
A Klamath Project irrigator explained how the Project was formed. He said that farming began in the basin in the late 1800’s after the gold rush as the miners needed cattle and food. The Bureau of Reclamation had the Project built after water had already been used for many years for irrigation. The irrigators paid for the Project, which was divided into irrigation districts. The Klamath Basin was formerly two large lakes, Klamath Lake and Tule Lake, and the water was rerouted into storage for irrigation. However, because of the Endangered Species Act, the federal government now takes the water away, and takes away the irrigators’ right to that water, while the irrigators continue to pay for the facilities.
"We can’t share. We have no water. We have no water to control."
A facilitator responded by telling the group that there is more information on the Klamath Project at the OIT library sharing other points of view. The irrigator took issue with her inference that his testimony was not factual.
The tribal person said the federal government doesn’t exist; the tribes don’t see them. He said the federal government must respond to the tribes on a government to government basis. He explained how his tribe gave up 22 million acres for their reservation. Part of their benefits includes medical care, education, and rights to hunt and fish. He said their methods of hunting are not poaching but are rather their subsistence. The tribes were left out of agreement on their rights.
Chadwick had people position themselves in a circle representing their relationship to the federal government and states. When the tribal person went to the government people in the circle, the government turned their backs on him.
The tribal person said that the tribe’s relationship with farmers was good, and that they did not want to take rights away from landowners.
One former coastal fisherman said her goal was to put a moratorium on all well permits from the Klamath Project, the Scott and Shasta Valley, and all the way to the ocean because drilling a well reduces water in the river, affecting the fish in the river and ocean.
Chadwick had the participants devise a structure for decision making. The core of the structure was the stakeholders: environmentalists, tribes, fishermen and farmers.
Once the people positioned themselves in the hierarchy, Alice Kilham from the Klamath Compact Commission and Bill Bennett from California Department of Water Resources said the Klamath Compact Commission should be on top of the order representing everyone in the Klamath Watershed to be the liaison between the basinwide Congress and governors and congress.
Chadwick sessions were paid for by the Bureau of Reclamation until this session, which was paid for by USIECR, U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. Food and lodging were paid for by funds left over from a 2004 watershed conference.
Klamath Basin Stakeholders are invited to attend a training session in collaboration, communit
y building and consensus building November 14-18 offered by Bob Chadwick of Consensus Associates. The workshop is being sponsored by the Klamath National Forest, Fremont-Winema, ORE-CAL RCD, NOAA and BOR (Sacramento). More information on the upcoming training session, and past articles and Chadwick press releases, may be found at www.klamathbasincrisis.org/chadwick/chadwicktoc.htm
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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