Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
June 10, 2005
(KBEF directors, go HERE)
Well, itís been a pretty busy month. Just after we talked to you last, I was sent down to a place called Green Gulch Farm, near Muir Woods on the coast of California. I spent two days with fifteen other people from all across the country, each of whom worked on land conservation in one way or another. It was fascinating to hear about the challenges that are being faced in other parts of the country, and how they are both the same as and different from what we are facing here.
At times I felt like we in the Klamath were lucky because we donít have the kind of intense commercial and residential development pressure (not yet anyway) that seemed to dominate everyone elseís situation. Other times I felt like they were the lucky ones, because they didnít have the unruly and writhing tangle of issues -- multiple listed species, tribal trust, federal lands, TMDL, irrigation project, etc. -- that we all live with every day around here.
But while we faced different challenges, it was the same thing we were trying to protect: the health of our home landscapes, and the health of the communities that depend on those landscapes. More than anything else, we talked a lot about ways to get past the mistaken notion that the health of economies and the health of ecosystems are mutually exclusive goals, and I think we made some pretty good headway.
It was good timing, too, because on the very morning I got back I had to run from the airport to give a talk to Governor Kulongowskiís "Sustainability Board," which was meeting here in Klamath Falls. I heard excellent presentations from our local economic development folks, who have, of late, become very interested in pursuing innovative forms of economic development that depend on the unique resources -- such as geothermal heat, biomass, and agricultural production -- that we have access to here in the basin. We look forward to working with the Governorís office and the economic development folks as KBEF continues to, as our mission statement says, "conserve and restore the natural resources of the Klamath Basin while promoting the long-term sustainability of the regionís economy."
In other news, KBEF has for a while now been developing a partnership with Oregon State University Extension and the Klamath Watershed Council, which is housed up at the Klamath County Extension Building. We work with these two organizations in one way or another on nearly every project we do, so we thought we ought to see if there are ways we can be more organized about the way we help each other out.
The upshot is that KBEF, somewhere around the first of July, will be leaving its office space at 409 Pine Street and moving into a space up at the Extension Building. We will also be investigating the possibility of sharing some clerical staff with the Klamath Watershed Council, which needs it as bad as we do. This is a great opportunity for all parties, and we are very grateful to Ron Hathaway at OSU Extension, as well as all three County Commissioners, for helping to make this happen.
And finally, the big news: We have finally secured two grants -- one from The Brainerd Foundation and the other from the Klamath Basin Ecosystem Restoration Office -- to support staffing our restoration project delivery program. We are very grateful to the Brainerd Foundation trustees, and particularly grateful to Jim Owens and Hattie Cambridge for all their help in getting the proposal together. We are also grateful to Dave Ross, Sue Mattenberger and Curt Mullis of the ERO for their help in funding this program. None of you will be sorry, because this is going to make a big difference in the basin.
Now that the funding is secured, weíre moving right ahead with the hiring process. We have a job description finalized, and we are looking to distribute it this week. Early next week it will be posted on our website, too, if you want to look at it. We intend to have someone on board by the end of July.
One final note: For a while now Danette Watson (of the Klamath Watershed Council) and I have been having Monday lunch meetings (or "Eatings," as we like to call them). We've recently extended an invitation to others to join us. The idea is to get the "grunts" working on restoration and planning in the basin together on a regular basis. I feel good about this, because it can be pretty dang challenging doing this kind of work, and it never hurts to gab with folks who deal with the same kind of hassles you do -- and also, we should say, who experience the same kinds of joy and reward.
Thatís it for now. Drop us a line if you want to.
"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)
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