Klamath Water Users Association
July 31, 2003
Project Irrigators Welcome Coastal Fishermen to the Upper Basin
A small group of representatives from southern
Oregon and northern California coastal fishing communities are meeting with Klamath Project irrigators and local elected officials this evening with the intent of seeking areas of common interest in the Klamath River watershed. The coastal representatives will tour the Klamath Project tomorrow with local water users. Fishermen and elected officials from Coos, Curry, Del Norte and Humboldt counties want to find common ground with farmers in the Upper Basin. Both groups have keenly felt the economic impacts associated with federal fisheries management decisions.
The coastal group first met with Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) representatives last February in Brookings to begin discussions on potential collaborative efforts. At that time, it was decided that a tour of the Basin, followed by a coastal tour attended by a delegation of irrigators, would be an appropriate means of allowing both sides to better understand the other’s issues.
Both the fishermen and the farmers believe that the series of Klamath watershed lawsuits lodged by environmental groups in the past year should not detract from potential collaborative efforts to address fisheries challenges along the river.
"Farmers and fishermen have a common bond – they both depend on wise management of natural resources to sustain their rural communities," said Dan Keppen, KWUA Executive Director.
"We all need to be sitting at the table bringing people together," said Ralph Brown, a Curry County Commissioner and president of Harbor View Enterprises in Brookings.
Hot Weather Continues – Pockets of Poor Water Quality Remain In UKL
A high pressure system that hovered over the Klamath Basin for the last several days has sent local temperatures soaring, with four record highs set and one tied for the month of July. The high temperatures have taken a toll on fish in several Klamath Basin water bodies in the past week, where dead fish have appeared in Upper Klamath Lake (UKL), Topsy Reservoir, and the Lost River. Warm water temperatures and adverse algal conditions appear to be responsible for most of the fish deaths.
After discovering 20 dead suckers on UKL between Friday and Monday, only one or two dead suckers per day have been found since. However, water quality at certain sites in UKL remains poor, particularly in a fairly large area in the northwest portion of the lake. The U.S. Geological Survey is overseeing continued water quality testing and sucker carcass investigations on UKL.
High water temperatures, reduced water quality and dense aquatic weed growth are likely contributing to fish deaths on the Lost River. Dead fish – many in a decomposed state – have turned up near Harpold Dam. Several of these fish were adult suckers. According to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) fisheries biologists, the cause of death appears likely related to:
There is no evidence of contamination along the Lost River, according to Reclamation staff.
Klamath Project Irrigators
Turn Down the Faucet
Oregon Department of Agriculture’s "Story of the Week", July 16, 2003
Faced with another critical year for water supplies, irrigators in the
Klamath Basin continue to conserve the resource in an effort to squeeze
every precious drop that has been made available this summer from Upper
Klamath Lake. From taking land out of agricultural production to using well
water on their own property, farmers in the basin are doing what they can to
keep from drawing down lake levels deemed necessary for fish. It's a
struggle, but the locals say they need to try.
crops and has worked at conservation from day one. Then, well into our
season, came the threat of a total shutoff of water from the lake that
dropped on us like a bombshell."
Farmers had trouble preparing their fields. Water managers began to
assess the upcoming season and, using a complicated formula for required
lake levels, settled on a level that would dictate fewer diversions for
irrigation. So far, the summer has been hot and dry, as usual. The whole
water year has been unstable- a condition normal for an unpredictable
Hooley Stands Up for Farm Women
Last week Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, a Democrat from Oregon's 5th
Congressional District, joined Congressman Mark Green, (R-WI) in asking
their congressional colleagues to co-sponsor H.Res. 42, a bill that calls
for the U.S. Postal Service to issue a postage stamp honoring American farm
women. Selected text from the Hooley-Green letter follows:
Mark Green and Darlene Hooley
Members of Congress
KWUA Thanks DeFazio, Hooley, and Wu for Voting Against Lease Lands Law
The Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) earlier this week formally thanked three Oregon Democrats in Congress for joining with Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) to vote a lease lands amendment proposed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). On July 31st, KWUA sent a letter to Oregon congressional representatives Peter DeFazio, Darlene Hooley, and David Wu thanking them for making a tough vote.
"We realize that this vote was a difficult one for many Members of the House of Representatives," the KWUA letter stated.
Blumenauer’s amendment to the U.S. Interior Department’s Appropriations bill was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives for the second straight year. His language would have limited certain types of farming on the Klamath Wildlife Refuge system. Blumenauer’s amendment was vigorously debated on the House floor before failing by a 228-197 vote.
"I would like to ask for your help in preventing another destructive amendment like this next year," said KWUA Executive Director Dan Keppen in the July 31 letter. "As an organization we are always looking for new ways to improve water quality and quantity for the benefit of fish, wildlife, farmers, tribes, and the community at large. I hope that at this time next year the Klamath Water Users Association, along with the Oregon and California congressional delegations, can work together towards new ways of balancing water needs."
The failed legislation aimed to prohibit the Bureau of Reclamation from issuing leases to farmers planting alfalfa or row crops in the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Thursday, July 31, 2003 – Friday, August 1, 2003 – KWUA / Klamath Fisheries Coalition Dinner / Klamath Project Tour. Merrill & Klamath Project area, Oregon and California.
Monday, August 4, 2003 – Klamath Hydro Relicensing Water Quality Group. 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
Tuesday, August 5, 2003 – Klamath Hydro Relicensing Aquatics Work Group. 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
Tuesday, August 5, 2003 – Klamath Hydro Relicensing Recreation Work Group. 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Wednesday, August 6, 2003 – Klamath Hydro Relicensing Cultural Resources Work Group. 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
Wednesday, August 6, 2003 – Klamath Hydro Relicensing Aquatics / Fish Passage Work Group. 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
Thursday, August 7, 2003 – Klamath Hydro Relicensing Terrestrial Work Group. 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
Thursday, August 7, 2003 – Klamath Hydro Relicensing Socioeconomics Work Group. 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
Friday, August 8, 2003 - Klamath Hydro Relicensing Plenary Group. 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Miner’s Inn, Yreka, California.
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