Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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4th Klamath Dams provide no flood control or provision for irrigators, 5/11/23
Why support Klamath deals? Our world needs food by Family Farm Alliance Patrick O’Toole and Dan Keppen for the Capital Press
"Like so many self serving special interests benefiting from this unaccountable atrocity of destruction, Mr. Keppen clings to agenda rhetoric cloaked in pretended personal ignorance to rationalize his position. Mr. Keppen has been around long enough and seen enough to be fully aware of the effective fallacy of claiming the Klamath Dams provide no flood control or provision for irrigators. What he was trying to sell to his donors in the Upper Basin is that the downstream dams and deep water lakes provide no 'benefit' to THEM and therefore could be sacrificed in 'negotiating' benefit, which is also a fallacy as we have described in the past. We are already seeing the exposed 'Agreement' intended betrayals, failed promises, and overt lies resulting in massive repercussions to the Upper Basin that have only just begun.
Mr. Keppen's 'claim' is pilfered from special interest agenda canned rhetoric reciting Copco, John Boyle, and Iron Gate were not 'officially' built to provide flood control or irrigation water, but that certainly DOESN'T mean they DON'T. Just ask those in the region like us who FOUGHT to realize and EXPERIENCED those downstream regional and environmental optimized benefits with the construction of Iron Gate, as our grandparents fought for Copco's integral support to the region, environment, and Upper Basin Project sustainability.
Not only do the Project area salmon return statistics, regional experience, and empirical studies CONFIRM those deep water lake provided environmental benefits, the flood protection and irrigation provisions which, to support his own agenda purpose Mr. Keppen claim do not even exist, are ALSO easily proven..
Flood protection: Mr. Keppen may choose to 'ignore' our and other multigenerationals personally WITNESSED profound reduction of virtually yearly pre dams' downstream flood damages and their subsequent improvement to water quality, riparian stability, and contributions to downstream cold water fisheries conditions due to MANY factors we have previously discussed. However, he CANNOT argue with the special interests' OWN acknowledged increased flood impacts who were co-signatories of his promoted exclusionary 'Agreement'. BOTH CDWR and FERC EIS's, along with dams destruction entity KRRC have 'acknowledged' subsequent PERMANENT increased downstream flood levels and impacts to life and property. Though their 'acknowledged' massive impacts have ALREADY been shown to be UNDERESTIMATED due to flawed engineering, even those underestimated projections nonetheless ACKNOWLEDGE impacts to EVERY Project-affected downstream property and the DIRECT LOSS of MANY resident homes that will fall within the 'new' flood plain. Those ACKNOWLEDGED damages ALSO implement a REQUIREMENT for 'revised' FEMA Flood Maps, which will thereby ALSO impose loss of property values, options, and property use due to FEMA Map elimination of paid-for currently approved permitted ability to develop riparian properties, inability to obtain flood insurance for those that are existing or still CAN be permitted, and the increased LOSS of still TAXED property use due to future mandatory TMDL increased fenced 'setbacks' to 'new' 100 year flood lines. If THOSE consequent impacts from Project destruction aren't PROOF of present flood protection BENEFITS, WHAT IS?
Irrigation water: Regardless of intent, Mr. Keppen stating there is no irrigation 'benefit' provided by the Project is yet another example of convenient self-serving ignorance. Current riparian lake and downstream diversions WILL be DIRECTLY impacted or lost entirely due to Project destruction, AS WELL AS the Shasta Valley RIGHTS to 60,000 acre feet of irrigation water available FROM Iron Gate and 120,000 acre feet upstream as part of the PROVISIONS of the Klamath Compact and Klamath Project dams. Those rights will be severely compromised, if not rendered infeasible altogether upon Project destruction. The greatest tragedy is that those rights provide for one of the most promising already engineered identified options to massively IMPROVE Klamath downstream water quality and fisheries indirectly BENEFITTING the Upper Basin at FAR LESS expense and FAR MORE effectively than Project destruction. Not impacting Upper Klamath Project water use, that option uses high nutrient water in the downstream lakes for sustainable irrigated production, thereby REDUCING upstream nutrient loads normally delivered downstream, and thereby allowing INCREASED releases of higher quality instream tributary habitat flows, RELIEVING pressure on Upper Basin irrigators to 'mitigate' naturally higher nutrient endemic waters. Without that option or the deep water lakes that are PROVEN to IMPROVE the water quality of upstream naturally endemic Upper Basin nutrient loads considered economically 'un-ameliorable' by the National Research Council, the Upper Basin WILL see the escalation of ALREADY known FAILED 'rewilding' requirements in a newly imposed area of forced 'anadromy' that history and the special interests' OWN empirical study PROVES NEVER existed in any viable extent in the Upper Basin for AT LEAST 8,000 years. NO WHERE in their 'plan' is there ANY provision whereby the forced requirement of imposed anadromy will expire, instead even mandating PERMANENT 'Truck and Haul' of already Sprague planted 'experimental' hatchery salmon AROUND Keno and upper Klamath Lake if considered 'necessary'. As a a result, the WORSE the failed unaccountable 'claims' of Project destruction, the GREATER our region's resulting regulatory oppression and effective confiscation without compensation."
O’Toole, a Wyoming cattle and sheep rancher, is president of the
Family Farm Alliance. He is a former member of the Wyoming state
legislature and 2014 recipient of the prestigious Leopold
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