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Focus sought for water program
Published October 24, 2004
State and federal officials see the Conservation
Implementation Program as a possible way to a solve
the Klamath Basin's continuing water problems. But
concerns persist about who will lead the program,
and how all the voices will be heard.
About 40 people gathered Friday night at the Klamath
County Fairgrounds to provide feedback to U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation officials about the program.
The officials have been on a road trip through the
Basin, conducting five meetings about the program
Many familiar faces of the Klamath water issue came
to the meeting Friday night, including Dan Keppen,
executive director of the Klamath Water User
Association, Dave Sabo, manager of the Klamath
Reclamation Project, and Doug Whitsett, State Senate
candidate who has been active in water issues.
"Unless you have something concrete, we are just
chasing a rainbow," said Frank Hammerick of Bonanza.
"And I'm sick of chasing rainbows.
the past year, there have many calls for a Basinwide
solution for the water issue - including those
coming from science conferences in the lower and
upper Basin, at the congressional field hearing in
July in Klamath Falls, and a meeting held by
California Rep. Mike Thompson in Eureka in August.
the meetings in Chiloquin and elsewhere, Bureau
officials emphasized that they are facilitating the
formative meetings of the program and are not its
leaders. Who will be the leaders will be determined
by the groups that want to be involved.
Whitsett, who is the President of Water for Life, a
water rights lobbying group, said it would be
difficult for a rancher or farmer to take time off
from a roundup or harvest to go to a meeting in
Arcata. Likewise, it would hard for a lower Klamath
River fisherman to come to Klamath Falls when the
salmon run is in.
"If you get the right parameters and the right
members, it might work," he said.
said the he has to make sure that local landowners
and water users have a say.
The water users want to have the protected fish in
the Basin restored, he said.
And that would mean less federal regulation of
actions in the Basin, he added.
"We are not just trying to make a park that is hands
off," Karas said.
She said people are still skeptical of the program,
and the details still need to be fleshed out. One
more meeting might be held downstream, and then a
third draft developed.
Bureau takes new program for test drive
By DYLAN DARLING
CHILOQUIN - "Basinwide" is the new buzz word for
groups trying to find balance in the Klamath Basin
The meeting was the fourth in a series of five, the
last of which will be tonight in Klamath Falls.
Previous meetings were held in Yreka, Arcata and
The Chiloquin meeting lasted for a little more than
two hours. Participants talked about what can and
can't be solved by groups from the headwaters of the
Williamson and Sprague rivers to the mouth of the
Klamath River working together.
But much needs to be defined about the program aside
from being Basinwide. Where will the meetings be?
What will the organization look like? What are the
Karas emphasized that the Bureau is facilitating the
meetings, but is not the designated leader.
am really scared that we are not going to reach the
little people in this Basin," she said.
"Something needs to happen or the Basin will die,"
"If you know the folks who live in this Basin, that
is not going to be the way to go," she said.
said the quality of habitat available for the
suckers and quality of water are key factors in
determining how the suckers are doing.
Thus, the program can help restore the fish, but
other efforts will be needed as well, said Irma
Largomarsino, supervisor of the U.S. National Marine
Fisheries Service's Arcata Field Office. Adding to
the difficulty of restoring the coho are the
physical changes to the Klamath River, with the
addition of hydroelectrical dams, in the last
said the turnout for the Chiloquin meeting was
disappointing, although people from many sides of
the issue came.
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