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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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 Barely a dent in Klamath crisis


Barely a dent in Klamath crisis


The Bush administration's new water bank proposal for the Trinity River ("Interior backs water bank for Klamath fish, farmers," March 6) is a positive step. It is good to see the administration admit that fish in the Klamath Basin actually do need water. Unfortunately, the administration's plan runs counter to Klamath Basin geography.

The Trinity joins the Klamath approximately 42 miles from the Pacific Ocean, leaving more than 200 miles of the mainstem Klamath above the confluence. The Trinity is an important spawning tributary for the Klamath, but Trinity restoration will barely make a dent in the Klamath water crisis.

Focusing on the Trinity to prevent future Klamath fish kills also represents flawed thinking. At the time of the tragic 2002 kill on the Klamath River, the Trinity was flowing at 96 percent of its historic average, while the water releases from the upper Klamath Basin were at 59 percent of average.

As the recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report on the fish kill pointed out, irrigation water demand in the Klamath Irrigation Project was at the heart of the tragedy.

STEVE PEDERY Outreach director, WaterWatch of Oregon Southwest Portland


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