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Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
 

May 12, 2005

Mr. Richard Smith, Natural Resource Specialist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2800 Cottage Way Suite W - 1916
Sacramento, CA 95825

Dear Mr. Smith:
We offer the following comments pertaining to the proposed Federal acquisition of the Barnes Ranch, located in Klamath County, Oregon. While the initial rationale for this acquisition was enhanced water storage, that purpose has now evolved into an increase in the Upper Klamath Lake Wildlife Refuge.
We object to the continued erosion of the Countyís tax base as a result of Federal acquisition of income-producing lands for which the citizens of this County, apart from the land sellers, receive no compensation.
When the Wood River Ranch was acquired by the Bureau of Land Management, we were informed that it would enhance water storage. The same goal was given for the acquisition of the Agency Lake Ranch by the Bureau of Reclamation. The same is proposed for the Barnes Ranch. It now is apparent that water storage is of only secondary importance.
While the loss of property taxes is certainly a concern of ours, the greater issue is the loss of productive forage land and the resultant loss of commercial activity from which all the ancillary ranch and farm business services are derived.
A key element toward long- term solutions regarding water issues throughout the Klamath River Watershed is late season releases provided by dedicated deep water storage projects. With this proposal, the only storage provided is coincident with Upper Klamath Lake levels, which will do nothing for late season flows.
We also wish to strongly support Dr. Ken Rykbostís letter to you outlining his concerns.
Sincerely,
Al Switzer, Chairman William R. Brown, Commissioner John Elliott, Commissioner
cc:
The Honorable Senator Ron Wyden
The Honorable Senator Gordon Smith
The Honorable Representative Greg Walden
The Honorable Representative Richard Pombo
The Honorable Representative John Doolittle
The Honorable Representative Wally Herger
 

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