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Drought Spurs Water Fight in the Klamath Basin

followed by Response by W.D. Kennedy, Klamath Basin Irrigator

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Weekend Edition - Sunday, May 8, 2005 ∑ The battle over water continues in the Klamath River Basin on the Oregon-California border. Another year of drought has been declared, which may spell more trouble for the region.

A century ago, the Bureau of Reclamation drained huge marshes in the region, exposing fertile soil. For a long time it seemed like a good situation for all involved. Then species of wildlife which had depended on the marshes began to suffer.

Farmers and their supporters in the region protested four years ago when the federal government shut off irrigation water to help endangered fish. And while farmers and the government say they're doing a lot more to protect endangered species now, environmentalists say the core issue is being ignored: There just isn't enough water to meet all needs.

Response to Mr Brady by Bill Kennedy, Klamath Basin farmer,

Mr. Brady leaves the listener with the impression that it is choose either irrigation for agriculture or water for wildlife, but never both. A quote from a metropolitan environmental organization claims that bird life, dependent upon irrigated croplands for habitat, is obliterated by seasonal thrashing. This simply is not true. Migrating waterfowl, raptors and our good friend the Sandhill Crane, hatch and raise their young before any thrashing occurs. More wildlife is killed on our highways each year by speeding environmental activists. Sorry, itís either wildlife or paved roads and automobiles but never both.

Today over 400 species of vertebrates enjoy the habitat provided by private landowners in the Klamath Basin. The best habitat is irrigated and has very limited access by urbanites and others. Our irrigated infrastructure provides food and cover for wildlife and higher flows down the Klamath River in drought years.

W.D. Kennedy
Lost River Ranch
Klamath Falls, OR





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