Trollers Association designed T-shirts
to indicate support for the Klamath
Water Users Association. The two
groups began discussions about how to
better manage the Klamath River
By Susan Chambers,
CHARLESTON - A T-shirt
hanging in the Oregon Trollers Association's
Charleston office has a gaff hook and a hay
hook in the background. In front of them, it
reads, "Our competition is farmed fish NOT our
brothers who farm!"
It's indicative of a new agreement between the
Klamath Water Users Association, an
organization that represents Klamath
Irrigation Project farmers and ranchers on
both sides of the Oregon-California border,
and local salmon fishermen fed up with the way
the river system's been managed in the past.
The fishermen blame this year's sharply
reduced salmon seasons partly on poor
management of the northern California Klamath
Klamath Water Users
members met the trollers in Charleston this
"The focus of the interaction was not to point
fingers about salmon harvest or low numbers,"
the May 27 issue of the KWUA newsletter reads.
"Instead, participants focused on solutions
and working together. ... The heart of the
agreement is to continue to have meaningful
dialogue and to coordinate efforts to solve
the problems of both industries."
Farming and fishing communities both are
dealing with the complexity of regulations
that are tearing apart the foundations of both
industries, the trollers association said in
an earlier press release. Farmers and ranchers
need water for crops and animals; fishermen
need the water for salmon.
"We have a lot more things in common than we
don't," trollers association President Rayburn
"Punch" Guerin said Thursday. "Our intentions
all along was to quit throwing rocks over the
Though both groups are just beginning
negotiations, Guerin outlined some of their
goals: ask for an independent Congressional
investigation into the Klamath basin
management; work with other Klamath River
system stakeholders to change the management
of the Klamath basin; and design five-, 10-
and 20-year business plans for the basin.
"Like any corporation, (a business plan will
help) stabilize these situations rather than
work from one crisis situation to another,"