“We believe the restoration agreement is a real
platform for change,” said James Honey, prog ram director
for Sustainable Northwest, a Portland-based company
focused on economic and ecological health. “If local folks
aren’t driving it, it’s not going to happen.”
The flights were given by volunteer pilots with
a nonprofit environmental aviation organization called
LightHawk. LightHawk’s mission is to give aerial
perspective to partners to gather data and documentation
for their campaigns.
“There’s a conversion experience,” said Pacific
Northwest Program Manager Christine Steele. “They’re able
to see things in a different way. I hope some of that
Four airplanes took the passengers in small
groups through the Basin to view ecological restoration
dam removals, currently operating hydroelectric dams,
farmland and rivers and streams flowing through the area.
Fewer than 20 men and women gathered to discuss
the KBRA, and most said they did not feel the agreement
“I've been involved in this stuff for over 30
years. We knew 30 years ago it had to be a Basin wide
agreement,” said Tom Mallams, who represents several
off-project irrigators. Mallams feels the KBRA as written
fails to do enough to protect off-project interests.
“It’s not equitable for off-project people
View as a whole
For ranch manager Nathan Jackson, the flight
provided a glimpse of the Basin in its entirety.
“I enjoyed being able to see how the Basin fits
all together,” he said. “I didn’t realize how those dams
are positioned on the river.”
The pilots flew over the Iron Gate, Copco No. 1
and No. 2, JC Boyle and Keno dams. Algae blooms could be
seen in the Iron Gate Reservoir, and whitewater rapids
between Copco Reservoir and JC Boyle Dam illustrate the
power and movement of the water below.
H&N photo by Jill Aho,
An aerial view of the Iron Gate
For Missie Hess, the vastness of agriculture was
“You could see all of the land and ranches, and
how many depend on agriculture in this area,” said Hess,
who is both a rancher and Klamath Tribe Indian. Hess feels
that water adjudication, in which the state will award
water rights, will not leave everyone happy.
“The adjudication is going to go, and it’s going
to hurt a lot of people,” she said. “I feel sad for some
of those people because they didn’t understand what
they were purchasing.”
Mallams isn’t sure the tribes will get
everything they are asking for in adjudication.
“Our real belief, in going through adjudication,
that) their claim will be very small compared to what
they’re asking for,” he said.
Mallams said he and other off-project community
members want an agreement.
“It has to be livable, it has to be equitable
and as it is today, it just doesn’t fit that,” he said.
Jackson said he was glad to hear organizers
announce Sunday a goal of getting the agreement signed
within two years.
“I think the problems with the existing
agreement need to be identified in a concise manner and I
think they need to be addressed,” he said. “They need to
be addressed and those people need to be listened to.”