Event planned to educate on Klamath River issues
Oregon, California officials will tour various areas
Staff members representing elected officials from Oregon and California will get a crash course on Klamath River issues Friday and Saturday.
They’ll be guests of Klamath Basin farmers, coastal fishermen and Tribes during a two-day workshop and tour.
“We want people to realize there is some agreement between the three different communities,” said Dick Carleton, a Klamath Project farmer and co-organizer of the event. “This tour is directed toward staff people of all elected officials who have an interest in the Klamath.
“The purpose of the tour is to provide firsthand information on the problems facing us, as stakeholders, and to present information on how the system works and how we are all tied together.”
Hoping for solutions
Carleton said they also will offer some possible solutions “which we all agree are environmentally sound and will be beneficial to all.”
Participants will stay in Yreka Thursday and Friday nights. The event kicks off Friday morning at the Karuk Tribal Housing community building, where Carleton will discuss the Common Ground Alliance and its goals.
Troy Fletcher of the Yurok Tribe will talk about Indian fisheries, Oregon State University graduate student Sarah Bjork and coastal fisherman Paul Merz will explain a parasite study being done by OSU, and Craig Tucker of the Karuk Tribe will present possible solutions through the settlement negotiations.
A f t er no on t ou r s a r e planned to the mouth of the Scott and Shasta rivers and Iron Gate Reservoir. The day will end with a salmon barbecue in Yreka, where Carleton said everyone will have a chance to get better acquainted.
Saturday’s schedule calls for touring Lower Klamath Lake and the walking wetlands cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local farmers.
Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association will give an overview of the Klamath Project, and Ron Cole and Fish and Wildlife will discuss the walking wetlands. Coastal fisherman Rick Shepherd will talk about impacts of Klamath River management to commercial salmon fishing. Participants also will view the D Plant, where water is pumped through Sheepy Ridge to return to the Klamath River.
Among those taking part in the two-day event are representatives from Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s office and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s office, Klamath County Commissioner Bill Brown, Modoc County Supervisor Dave Bradshaw, along with Oregon and California legislators, and other officials.
Carleton said farmers, fishermen and Tribes have forged good relationships during the past year.
“We realize if we are going to maintain our lifestyles, we are going to have to get along and come up with solutions,” he said. “Lawsuits are not going to get us anywhere.
“We’ve been told we have to get together and talk and, well, we’re doing it. We think we can reach a balance.”