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Walden takes a look at restoration projects

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican whose district includes Klamath and Lake counties, crouches to look at a poster explaining a wetland restoration project on the Sprague River he visited Friday. The visit was part of his two-day stay in the Klamath Basin while Congress is on summer break.

August 27, 2005

A day after meeting with dignitaries in suit and tie, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden put on his bug-resistant shirt, Wranglers and well-worn sneakers Friday to take a look at wetlands restoration projects from the Sprague River into Upper Klamath Lake.

"What runs down there affects the lake," said Walden, a Republican whose district includes Klamath and Lake counties. "I wanted to see first hand what is working."

Congress is on summer break and Walden took two days to visit the Klamath Basin.

Walden's day started with fry bread and coffee in the living room of Taylor and Becky Hyde's ranch house near Beatty.

The room was filled with faces familiar with the water issues in the Upper Klamath Basin, including Klamath Tribes Chairman Allen Foreman, Klamath County Commissioner Bill Brown and Curt Mullis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Klamath Falls office manager.

Mullis served as tour guide for the day. The tour wound from the Hydes' house to two ranches where federally and state-funded projects are restoring the river in different ways and finished on the east side of Upper Klamath Lake, where the Nature Conservancy is working on returning reclaimed farmland to the lake.

"We are achieving real results on the land," Becky Hyde said. "We have a first step we can agree on."

She said small projects done by individual ranchers and landowners, as well as larger projects such as those of the Nature Conservancy, have found support from people on all sides of the water issue.

The support comes from the success of projects, such as the digging up old pasture near the river to re-create wetlands and the moving back of riverside fences to leave lusher vegetation on the banks, which Walden saw during his tour.

More people are also getting involved with the projects because they are less wary of working with the government, Walden said.

People are less worried about getting involved in a project and then losing support now.

"If they can get protection they will be more interested," he said.

Foreman said the Klamath Tribes also support many of the projects and want to see more get involved.

"I think that the projects happening here are a good start," Foreman said.

Becky Hyde said the projects will not only help restore the Sprague River, but also preserve her family.



"We want to be ranching here 100 years from now," she said.




Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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