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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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 Letter from Oregon troller Scott Cook, responding to Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen 7/18/06

Zeke. you just don't get it...if you read Don's letter of the 18th, that is what we feel, we hope you folks will stay out of this long enough so we can get things done.. all the pcffa has done is file law suit after law suit, when we the Oregon troll fleet are in congress with a hold on Magnusson Stevens trying to get aid to our fleet and yours, you are back there at the same time lobbying to get it pushed through????when they lift the ESA on coho you file a suit to get it back. When we started this process of relief for the fleets the hardest thing we had ahead of us was to let our leaders know that Oregon is not a part of the pcffa nor ever has been, once we accomplished that, people were willing to talk to us. we thought that they dident like fishermen. but its the pcffa that has made our industry so remote, if you wish to help your fleet survive this crises then put your energy in to those things, there are families worrying about how they are going to feed there kids, make there boat payment, there house payment, put cloth on there children's backs for Christ sake... the pcffa as we see it has become an environmental group an that's fine if that's what you want to do, its a free country, but DO NOT do it on the backs of the Oregon fishermen, and farmers, and I really hope you folks can open up your eyes at some point and see all the harm you have caused to good working honest people, with you vision of the Klamath, start representing your boats as they could use the help, not your personal goals,,,,,,,,,,,,,best of luck in the future.. Scott Cook

On Tue, 18 Jul 2006 07:27:55 -0700, Oregon fisherman Don wrote::  FYI Onno-Good job on meeting with farmers. I think Jim Moore out  of Bandon was key in getting Walden onboard. Just maybe Glen and  his crew will stay backed off long enough to get something accomplished.  See ya Don

Don, Onno, et al. Thanks for forwarding the AP article (following this letter) and Walden letter > regarding a Klamath Summit. I guess the old saying that "it's better late > > then never" applies here. That said, it could do some good. As some of you may > > know, we stopped waiting for the agencies to act and now have two initial > > meetings set up. > > > > One is for tomorrow in Eureka (actually Bayside) to look at what projects are > > taking place in the basin to help the fish, their adequacy and funding as well > > as what's missing. It is hoped from this we can get a list to present to > > Congress without having to go up each agency's chain of command and fight with > > other agency priorities - not unlike what we did with winter-run. Also I want > > to see if we can begin developing some contingency plans such as what to do in > > when there is an outbreak of the parasite (rear fish in ponds, trap and truck, > > find a predator to eat the host worm, etc.) as well as what to do when the > > next dry year hits. This kind of intervention is going to be needed to keep > > the fish and the fleet going until the dams come down (10 years at the soonest). > > > > The other is set for Friday in Bodega to look at DNA sampling/stock > > identification and perhaps tagging, e.g., radio tags (that will probably have > > to wait for a subsequent meeting). The purpose of this is to look at the > > science/technology that could be applied to help us identify with greater > accuracy and on a timely basis where there are stocks of concern (i.e., Klamath) to help us better avoid them while being able to target on abundant > > runs. This may be a way of avoiding the massive closures we're now under > > trying to get back every last Klamath fall-run to the river. OSU's Dr. > > Michael Banks, who Nat worked with years ago on winter-run, will be coming > > along with some others from OSU to describe your CROOS
(sp?) program and see > > how we can all coordinate. > > > > The two meetings are the beginning of what I see as a first of many (the > > winter-run efforts went on for about 7 years), but I'm hoping we can get some > > immediate actions started with these initial meetings. If any of you are > > interested in getting the meeting nots, let us know. While a summit is > > probably a good idea, we need to act now. If we do things right we should have > > a list for Congress in the next few weeks of things that need doing > > immediately and a list as well for whatever summit may be convened this fall. > > > > I really appreciate the lines of communication that have been opened up with > > you all along with your Governor's office. Thanks again, Zeke (Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen)


Walden proposes summit to kick-start Klamath water solutions
7/17/2006, 4:50 p.m. PT By JEFF BARNARD

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) ?" Faced with an alarming crash in West Coast salmon fishing, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden is asking three cabinet secretaries and a White House official to lead a summit this fall to kick-start government efforts to help Klamath Basin fish and farms.

A stalwart defender of farmers during the 2001 shutoff of federal irrigation water to 1,000 farms to protect endangered fish, the Oregon Republican said Monday that efforts need to get back on track to restore certainty for Indian tribes and fishermen who depend on salmon as well as farmers who depend on irrigation water.

"I think we are at a key tipping point," Walden said from Washington, D.C. "A huge majority of people are saying 'Let's sit down and try to figure out how to work this out ?" find a solution that will give us certainty whether you are a tribal family, a coastal fishing family or an inland farming family. But we need the government to say: Here is a list of things you need to do.'"

The region became a flashpoint in 2001, when drought triggered the shutoff under the Endangered Species Act of federal irrigation water to the Klamath Reclamation Project. Farmers and anti-government protesters faced off with federal marshals for months over headgates that kept the water for endangered suckers in Upper Klamath Lake and threatened coho salmon in the Klamath River.

The Bush administration threw its support behind farmers, and the next year restored full irrigation to the project. But months later more than
35,000 chinook salmon died from gill rot diseases in low and warm water conditions after returning to the river to spawn.

More than $100 million has since been spent on habitat restoration, increasing water supplies, fish screens, aid to farmers and improvements to irrigation efficiency. But the continuing decline of wild chinook salmon to the Klamath River this year forced federal fisheries managers to practically shut off commercial salmon fishing off Oregon and California.

Plentiful rains have eased worries over water supplies for now, but a federal court ordered increased minimum flows for salmon that had been planned for 2010 to begin immediately, setting the stage for another showdown between fish and farms whenever drought returns.

Walden sent a letter Friday to the secretaries of Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Spokesmen for the Department of Interior and the Council on Environmental Quality said the offices had received the letter, but no commitments had been made.

As a starting point for discussions, Walden suggested the 2003 National Academy of Sciences report, which suggested voluntary steps to restore habitat, including removing some dams, would be more effective at helping endangered suckers and threatened salmon than taking water from farmers.

One environmental group expressed skepticism, but members of farming, fishing and tribal organizations said the time was right to make the kinds of agreements that lead to significant progress.

The Klamath Water Users Association has been reaching out to Oregon salmon fishermen and Indian tribes, but continues to be wary of the Oregon Natural Resources Council, an environmental group, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association, which represents California salmon fishermen. Both groups have been active in court to get more water for salmon.

"I think it's an environment where people are going to be pretty serious about finding solutions," said Steve Kandra, a farmer and president of the Klamath Water Users Association.

Dennis Puzz Jr., executive director of the Yurok Tribe, agreed, noting that they are entering into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior to coordinate restoration efforts.

"In the past the tribe has often fought with others for certainty in protecting its own interests in the basin," Puzz said from Klamath, Calif. "The Yurok tribe has shifted that paradigm to common ground."

Steve Pedery of the Oregon Natural Resources Council expressed skepticism that Walden would do anything substantive after fighting efforts to buy out farmers to reduce irrigation demand.

"The saddest thing is this is a manmade fisheries disaster," Pedery said from Portland. "This is the result of a political decision that favored 100 percent irrigation in the high desert over the needs of fish."

Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations said from Eugene that there has been progress, "but it has to be real.

"You can have all the meetings in the world, but they will not make more rain nor will they save fish, unless they are the result of productive changes in the sustainability of the whole river basin."




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