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Tulelake Growers host Herger
* "I like win-win" - Congressman Wally Herger.
By Pat Ratliff, Pioneer Press Sept 6, 2006

TULELAKE - The Tulelake Growers Association hosted Congressman Wally Herger Monday to showcase efforts and improvements farmers are making in the Tulelake area.

The Congressman was joined by Ron Cole, manager of the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge complex, Deb Crisp, Executive Director of Tulelake Growers Association, Marty Macy, TGA President, Earl Danosky, Manager of the Tulelake Irrigation District, Greg Addington, Executive Director of the Klamath Water Users Association and a number of local farmers from the area.

Herger toured the Tulelake Irrigation District's D plant, where water is pumped through Sheepy Peak to Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge, and eventually to the Klamath River.

The tour then proceeded through the TID leaselands, where Herger was shown the "walking wetlands".

"These are new, dynamic wetlands." Ron Cole told the Congressman, "This is what we're short of in the basin.  I don't want to overstate the win-win situation we have with these walking wetlands, but that's exactly what it is.  This is great wildlife habitat.  I come from a wildlife background and it's hard to deny what's happening here."

"I like win-win, myself" Congressman Herger quipped to Cole as he looked out at an enormous number of diverse species of birds using the wetland.

The "walking wetlands" is an extremely successful cooperative program between the Wildlife Refuges and the farming community where tracts of land are flooded for a number of years before being drained and used for farming again.

The newly flooded ground makes very beneficial wetlands for wildlife and results in fertile ground for farming after it is dried up, resulting in much of the ground being used for organic farming practices.

The wildlife love the walking wetlands, utilizing both the wetlands and the surrounding fields.

"If you came out here at 8 p.m. in the evening," Rob Crawford, a local farmer told Herger, "all the birds will be in the fields.  They use the fields as much as the wetlands."

Marshal Staunton, another local farmer told Herger that 22 percent of the leaselands are being farmed organically now, primarily because of the walking wetlands program.

"The costs are lower and the market prices are higher." Staunton said.

The tour concluded with a lunch at Mike and Wanda's restaurant in Tulelake.

"You have my continued commitment," Herger told the group, "to keep working for and with you."

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