Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
"The decision was very specific in saying that the Bush administration could not ignore the fact that they were killing off generations of salmon before they actually provided the water that is needed," said Jim McCarthy of Earthjustice, a non-profit public interest law firm.
Other than environmentalists, commercial fishermen (search) also support having more water for the salmon. Some say low water levels kill off some fish.
"This year, we lost the best two months of the season primarily due to low numbers of Klamath Fall chinook," said Newport fisherman Jeff Feldner.
Pollution, parasites and ocean conditions might also have an impact on the salmon.
Irrigators and farmers in the Upper Klamath say the court is failing to let the Bush plan work and in the process, the agriculture industry is being blamed for all the salmon problems hundreds of miles downstream.
The reclamation project that brought hundreds of homesteaders started in the 1920s. Farmers were promised water to grow food and maintain a wildlife refugee. Now, they're afraid the water may get shut off again.
"We can't farm as usual," said John Crawford, a Klamath farmer. "We can't support projects as we would as usual. We can't do a lot of things that constitute our daily lives."
A federal judge will decide on the remedy requested by the appeals court. While environmentalists say they want more water for the Coho salmon, farmers hang their livelihoods on the hope that they don't lose their business.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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