Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Friday May 27, 2005
Klamath Water Users Association Oregon Trollers Association
Farmers and Fisherman Sign Cooperative Agreement
Today, May 27, 2005, an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) representing Klamath Irrigation Project farmers and ranchers and the Oregon Trollers Association (OTA), which represents hook and line fishermen as far north as Seattle and south to San Diego.
The MOU comes on the heels of a recent meeting between the parties that took place in Charleston, Oregon on April 1.
Steve Kandra, President of the Klamath Water Users Association is pleased to be moving forward. “We were approached by members of the OTA about working together regarding restoration of Klamath River salmon stocks. The Trollers recognize that cooperative watershed wide salmon recovery efforts are the key to addressing fish harvesting restrictions in the Klamath Zone. The real fishermen have some pretty good restoration ideas and understand the river/ocean complexities. The Fishermen see that ‘finger pointing’ is not recovering salmon.”
The waters of the Klamath River Basin provide the resources that sustain and impact both commercial fishing and irrigated agriculture.
Rayburn “Punch” Guerin, President of the Oregon Trollers Association agreed. “The Klamath farmers and the Trollers recognize and appreciate the need to utilize and manage the water of the Klamath River Basin in a manner that addresses both constituency’s cultures and economies. Farmers and Ranchers have a lot in common with coastal fishermen. We don’t want to fight each other, we want to get results.”
Both organizations agree that “non-local” entities have inserted themselves as stakeholders and are doing little more than creating conflict and impeding collaborations and other restoration related activities that could improve conditions throughout the watershed.
Key components of the agreement include the following commitments:
Future meetings between the two organizations are being organized and will likely include farmer/fisherman exchange tours and other events that will lead to better understanding of the two community’s perspectives and needs.
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