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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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 March 24, 2006  

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski will convene an emergency summit next week to address the imminent federal closure of a major stretch of Oregon's coastal waters to commercial salmon fishing and develop a strategy to minimize the impacts on Oregon's coastal communities.


The governor will convene his economic revitalization team, representatives of the fishing community, coastal legislators, agency directors, and Oregon's congressional delegation to identify the economic and social impacts of the closure on small, independent fishing companies, local businesses and Oregon's coastal communities.


"As governor, I will use all resources at my disposal to see that the people, businesses and communities hit hardest by this decision have hope and opportunity," Kulongoski said. "Past experience has demonstrated that federal aid often arrives too late, if any aid arrives at all. This is why I am bringing together key stakeholders and public officials to identify how we can provide immediate help for this important sector of Oregon's economy."


Because the projected Klamath River fall chinook run will be well below the minimum number allowed in the federally approved management plan, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considering options that would close most salmon fishing from Cape Falcon, Ore., to Point Sur, Calif. Though salmon from all rivers swim together in the coastal waters before entering their rivers of origin to spawn, any fishing must take into account the fish population that most needs protection, fish biologists say.


A final decision from the PFMC and NOAA is expected by April 7.


Kulongoski said he will ask summit attendees to identify available federal and state emergency assistance to help coastal communities and commercial fishers maintain economic stability during this shortened fishing season. He will also ask for an overview of how similar assistance programs have been implemented in the past, including lessons learned and areas in need of improvement.


The meeting will broadcast live on the capitol mall network. The public can view the summit in Hearing Room 50 in the State Capitol, or on Kulongoski's website, where the summit will be streamed live: http://governor.state.or.us.


The summit will convene at 9 a.m. and conclude at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28.




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