Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Dan Keppen, Family Farm Alliance Executive Director, comments of Media untruths regarding the Klamath Project blame for fish die-offs and limited fishing seasons.


There’s Something Fishy in the Media, by Dan Keppen, Family Farm Alliance Executive Director.
All of the following papers have in some way placed blame on the Klamath Project, federal water management, agriculture or irrigation

As the month of March rolled in, West Coast readers were greeted to newspaper headlines that predict dire times for Pacific salmon fishermen. From Coos Bay to San Diego, newspapers have highlighted a potential decision by federal regulators to put 700 miles of the Pacific coast “off-limits” to Chinook salmon fishing. This, of course, is a hugely important issue to West Coast commercial fishermen, because the health of the Klamath River salmon stock has a dominant impact on the ability of fishermen to make a living at distances far up and down the coast from the mouth of the Klamath. The media coverage has taken a very consistent and dominant anti-farming position, essentially accepting arguments made by environmentalists that Klamath Project operations (located hundreds of miles from the ocean) are somehow responsible for this looming disaster. The attachment (“Media Coverage 2006 (2).doc”) provides links to just a fraction of the numerous articles that we have seen in recent weeks.

Virtually every newspaper report contains the same anti-farming interests quoted, and their message is always the same. It ignores a multitude of factors that we all know affect fish, and instead focuses instead on two years, 2001 (when Project farmers were denied water for the first time in 95 years, with no fish die-off) with 2002 (when farmers full supplies were restored to typical levels, but an unprecedented 33,000 salmon died downstream). Clearly, these advocates claim, the Bush Administration’s decision to provide water to the farmers has to be the reason those fish perished. 

The focus of the environmental groups continues to be on flows, with an increased emphasis on removal of hydroelectric dams. Of course, they continue to get their licks in on President Bush and his appointed policy makers, the focus of a recent front page story in the New York Times.

On behalf of the Family Farm Alliance, I wrote the attached editorial (“march2005salmonregs.doc”) which was printed in the past week in the Siskiyou (CA) Daily News, the Klamath Falls Herald & News, and the Klamath Courier.

The Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) has prepared the following useful summary of arguments that very rarely make it into the newspapers. KWUA has asked the Alliance to share this information with its members. Please take a quick glance, compare this to the recent media coverage of this issue, and judge for yourself if you think the “rest of the story” is being told. Klamath Water Users response to media accusations directed at the Klamath Project RE: Potential Salmon Season Closure, 3/20/06 

Dan Keppen
Executive Director
Family Farm Alliance





Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved