Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Moderator, Afternoon Session February 25, 2004
Rick Woodley, Klamath Basin Soil and Water Conservation Service

Session Four:  Human Environment
Steve West, Klamath County Commissioner
Marsha Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor
Jimmy Smith, Humboldt County Supervisor

Jimmy Smith                                     Marsha Armstrong

Steve West

(The human communities and economies in the Klamath Basin are closely tied to the landscape and its diverse natural resources.  Farming, ranching, forest products, fishing, tourism, and mining are important economic activities in the basin.  County Commissioners or Supervisors from the upper, middle and Lower Klamath watershed will provide an overview of the socio-economic vital statistics and issues.)

Jimmy Smith, Humboldt County Supervisor spoke first:

Humboldt County, operating with a $217 million dollar budget had 1800 employees 3 years ago but has 300 less this year and they are not supplying county services like they should be.  California budget crunch.  The supervisors totally support the Williamson Act that keeps small farmers on the land.

Mr. Smith was a commercial fisherman before running for public office and still owns his own boat.  Because of the importance of the Klamath River to salmon production, there is a 144 square mile "no fishing" zone at the mouth of the Klamath River.

Marsha Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor:

Ms. Armstrong was involved in the California Farm Bureau and has served Siskiyou County for about one year. Her talk consisted of describing the "area" she serves which is western Siskiyou County and is about 3000 square miles.  She lives in Scott Valley.

Hornbrook:  Was once a "Fruit Growers" timber town.  Fruit Growers still owns land in Siskiyou County and the mill at Hornbrook produced apple crates.

Happy Camp: Is no longer a lumber mill town, all the mills have shut down.  The Northern Spotted Owl and the NW EcoManagement has shut logging down in the area. Happy Camp is part of the Yurok Indian Tribe's land and they still dip net fish for salmon in the Klamath River.  The town is trying to become a recreational area.  This summer they will host the American Canoe Races.

With passing of the President's Healthy Forest Act, Happy Camp is looking forward to small fuel reduction and restoration jobs.

Salmon River: Is populated with "free thinkers."  Isolated area up a very narrow steep canyon, which supported gold mining and logging in the past.  On their own, the people have developed a strong restoration council for the river.

Scott Valley: Historically to the present, Scott Valley is an area of traditional old family farms and ranches with some dredge and hard rock mining on the Scott River.  The people are good stewards of the land and cherish it with strong family values.

Shasta Valley: There are 5 generation family farms in Shasta Valley but it is slowing turning into a retirement area.  Area residents are fighting to keep open spaces.

Steve West, Klamath County Commissioner:

Klamath County, at 6,000 acres is larger then some eastern states.  Has a population of 64,000 with 62% of them living in the Klamath Falls urban area.  Klamath County businesses collected over $110 million in tourist dollars in 2002 and farm payroll generated $24 million.  Steve went on to give more statistics about Klamath County.

Session Five:  Ecological Issues in the Klamath Basin
Mark Buettner, Fish Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service
(Dr. Harry Carlson, Superintendent, University of California, Intermountain Research and Extension Center of Tulelake, California was supposed to give this presentation.)

(Ecological issues and controversies are many and varied in the Klamath Basin, particularly when viewed from the different landforms and land uses that occur in this large watershed.  This presentation will describe and review the myriad of ecological processes and issues facing Basin resource users, regulators, and managers.)

Title of PowerPoint presentation: Impacts on the Ecosystem

Tribal Trust species and native species at risk - no harvestable numbers at this time.

Ecological areas in the Klamath River Basin and the causes of changes to each

1. Forest lands - timberlands
a. Fire suppression
b. Roads

2. Rangelands
a. Fire suppression
b. Livestock grazing
c. Road building
d. Exotic and invasive species

3. Riparian health
a. Water quality - nutrient loading, shading
b. Habitat for insects, birds, amphibians - small ecosystems

4. Wetland Habitats
a. Do support certain water fowl
b. Threats managed by USF&WS with lower water rights - have to get enough water to support water fowl and the wetlands
c. Need to look at how we can improve our wetland environment

5.  Rivers Habitat
Flow management - water in the Upper Basin is used to help with flows below Iron Gate to support salmon.  Studies are on going to see just how much water the fish in the lower river really need (amount of water that is beneficial to the fish)

6. Agriculture Areas - provide habitat for native species
a. Soil loss and degradation
b. Water availability
c. Water quality
d. Pests

Other Ecological Issues and Challenges:

1. Climate change on water temperatures
2. Ocean conditions
3. Hatchery impacts
4. Harvest of fish - very restricted now

Resource Conflicts:
1. Single species management
2. Target federal lands and water projects
3. Regulation driven (ESA and Clean Water Act)
4. Crisis management
5. Inadequate scientific information
6. Litigation driven
7. Regional management (Trinity, Lower Klamath River, Upper Klamath Basin)

Keynote Address
Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) Rieke
Introduction - Dan Keppen, Executive Director - Klamath Water Users Association

Ms. Rieke is the Area Manager for the Bureau of Reclamation in the Lahontan Basin, which includes the Truckee, Carson, Humboldt and Walker River basins in Nevada.  Her previous positions include: Director, Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado School of Law; Assistant Secretary for Water and Science in the Department of the Interior; Director of Water Resources for the State of Arizona; Partner in Jennings, Strouss and Salmon in Phoenix, Arizona, representing various water clients, including the Salt River Project.  She has spent most of her career addressing complex water resources conflicts.

"What I think we know and don't know about negotiations"

"Leadership is the main reason for success in negotiations."

"Leadership helps make decisions like 'who needs to be at the table, what needs to be on the table, and how big the scope of the problem.'"

"Do we have a mediator?  Mediators can reduce the communication between the partners at the table and they don't come cheap."

2 examples: With a mediator and no success - Newlands Project in Nevada - came close to agreement in the negotiations but didn't succeed between the US government and the tribes.

Without a mediator - US and CA flows through the Bay Delta.

Have to have a process, which includes rules on discussions and who talks to the press.  Just the mediator or the committee chairman?

You must understand your goals - best alternative to your bottom line or a negotiated settlement/agreement.

You must have a common understanding of the science, your community, etc.

Leadership is:

1. Optimism beyond reason - a leader has to believe that he will succeed
2. Risk taking - support risk takers on your team, continue to support even if they fail.  Take risks yourself
3. Build relationships with other participants at the table - helps to learn their positions and their needs
4. Build teams - a coalition with other participants
5. Level the playing field between the participants - BOR has the expertise and the money, but other participants (farmers) don't have the money to hire the experts - without a level playing field, there will not be an agreement
6. Get your house in order - speak in concert but not with one voice - federal agencies have to get together - will help for a better outcome

"Being responsible sometimes means pissing someone off."



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