Irrigators await Federal court ruling
continues for Basin irrigators and for the Hoopa Valley and
Yurok tribes regarding how much water will be released down
the Klamath River for the protection of juvenile chinook
Court Judge William H. Orrick asked for more information
regarding relief from an injunctions that dictates the
amount of water to be flushed down the Klamath to aide fish,
rather than used for irrigation.
filed on Feb. 8, 2017, requires 50,000 acre feet of water be
kept in Upper Klamath Lake for dilution flows to keep C.
shasta from infecting the salmon.
said up to 10 pages of additional information should be
submitted to the court by Thursday, April 26.
irrigation districts claim that the prevalence of infection
of fish are “misleading” and have asked that the court stay
The delay is
holding up much needed spring water for irrigators in the
Basin, as water supply canals low and inactive.
unfortunate relative to the timing,” said Scott White,
executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association.
“Golly, we we just hoping to have a decision by now, a firm
decision, obviously in our favor so that we could get
certainly nervous that the judge was just going to come
right out and say, ‘no.’ Timing aside, I’m feeling that the
judge is paying attention, and that’s good.”
irrigators and representatives of the Yurok and Hoopa Valley
tribes attended the initial court hearing on April 11, where
Judge Orrick stated he would rule as soon as possible.
committed to get a resolution as soon as possible,” said
Paul Simmons, legal counsel for defendants in the case.
In the request
for supplemental information, Orrick said he would be
inclined to issue an “indictive” ruling to modify the
court-ordered injunction if he determines the correct metric
was used under the 2013 biological opinion, and that the
intervenors information submitted is accurate.
Kliewer, chair of the Klamath Irrigation District board of
directors, expressed some hope at the request for more
information, he also echoed concern other irrigators are
feeling as well.
(irrigation) district level, we’re still stuck in the same
place,” Kliewer said. “We’re going to have to figure out
what to do with a sliver of water. That looks like where
we’re headed. It appears we’re going to get a very minimal
flow from the lake.”
The start date
for water delivery by the Bureau of Reclamation to the
Klamath Project had been delayed until Monday, but now
KID will hold a
special meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday to discuss options the
district has this summer.
Herald and News
reached out to the Yurok Tribe for comment regarding the
case but did not receive a response as of press time.
defendant-intervenors are Klamath Water Users Association,
Sunnyside Irrigation District, Tulelake irrigator Ben DuVal,
Klamath Drainage District, Klamath Irrigation District, and
Pine Grove Irrigation District.
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