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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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DORRIS — Water issues are key, but they aren’t the only concerns Brandon Criss is facing in his first term as the Siskiyou County supervisor for District One, a sprawling geographic region that includes Butte Valley and a portion of the Tulelake Basin.

“Overall, it’s been positive. I’ve enjoyed it,” said Criss, 36, who lives and works on a family ranch near Macdoel. He took office in January after defeating incumbent Jim Cook.

“We’re continuing to make progress, especially on natural resource issues. The meeting with Klamath County commissioners is one example,” he said, referring to a recent joint session of Siskiyou County supervisors and Klamath County commissioners in Dorris.
On a related front, he said supervisors have been working with federal agencies, until the federal government shutdown, on coordinating decisions on land managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other federal bodies.
County-wide, Criss said supervisors are moving forward on building a new jail, saying, “It’s still a long process, but we’re working through it.”
Unanticipated was the number of closed, executive sessions, mostly involving litigation — “That surprised me,” he said.
The focus on water-related issues has not been a surprise. Criss is a vocal critic of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Among its many provisions, the agreement calls for removal of four Klamath River dams, including three in Siskiyou County.
“This isn’t a good idea,” he said, referring to dam removals and implementing the KBRA.
Legislation to implement the KBRA has been stalled in Congress.
Criss said he fears if salmon are successfully introduced in the Upper Klamath Basin, their presence could adversely impact water users. He also believes KBRA promoters are ignoring previous studies that claim inflating Upper Klamath Lake’s water level could adversely impact endangered sucker fish.
“The water level of the lake isn’t the solution to increasing the number of fish,” he said.
While water issues are a major concern, especially in the Tulelake Basin, Butte Valley and Montague area, he said economic development is a constant issue throughout his district, which also includes areas near Copco Lake.
“I still go to all the towns when I can,” Criss said. “It’s a half-time job but I consider it full-time.”




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