Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement/KBRA
New off-Project group forms
Organizers seek to represent irrigators in water
A new group has formed specifically to represent
the Wood, Sprague and parts of the Williamson watersheds
in Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement talks.
irrigators Becky Hyde, Karl Scronce and Bob Sanders are
heading the Upper Klamath Basin Water Users Association to
ensure those off-Project irrigators’ issues are resolved
by the proposed water settlement.
The proposed restoration agreement, developed
over 2-1/2 years by representatives of tribal,
agricultural, fisheries and environmental interests, would
dictate how water, power and environmental issues would be
settled in the Basin.
Some settlement groups welcomed the new
organization but others, including
an off-Project organization already at the table, say it
doesn’t represent a large enough group to be included in
talks and call its approach to the agreement
“They think they can change it from the inside,”
said Tom Mallams of the Klamath Off Project Water Users.
“They’re putting a lot of faith in people.”
The Upper Klamath group is still in the
formation process. Its three founders have hosted four
meetings and are still drawing up bylaws.
Hyde said the group’s primary goals include
facilitating settlement of water adjudication claims
between off-Project irrigators, the Klamath Tribes and
Project irrigators, working with the Klamath Water and
Power Agency to address power needs and providing
irrigators the best protections available
from the Endangered Species Act.
The goals aren’t much different from those of
the already active Klamath Off Project Water Users, but
Hyde said her group is more willing to work within the
current format of the restoration agreement. She and
others also see more risk in challenging the Tribes’ water
claims than settling them out of court.
“It’s pretty common knowledge that there’s
differing views on how we bring stability,” she said.
Mallams said he doesn’t object to another
viewpoint on the restoration agreement. But, he said, the
new group is taking a gamble by being willing to sign on
to a document that isn’t fully written and leaves a lot of
exposure for a future water cutoff.
The off-Project irrigator also criticized any
bid to include Hyde’s organization in settlement talks
because it does not represent a sizable number of
off-Project irrigators. As an example, he said another
off-Project group, the Resource Conservancy, was denied
settlement talks despite representing a large number of
off-Project irrigators with water adjudication claims.
Opening the doors
Greg Addington, executive director of Klamath
Water Users Association, said after the agreement was
released to the public, its stakeholders planned to open
the doors to groups willing to move forward. The
settlement group is looking for “productive” new members
who are willing to work within the current document, he
X “It’s not fair to have everyone rehash
everything for just one group,” Addington said. “It’s like
letting the defense into the huddle.”
Jeff Mitchell, Klamath tribal council member,
said he didn’t know whether Hyde’s organization would be
included in settlement talks, but applauded her efforts to
find common ground between off-Project irrigators and the
A call by the Herald and News to Roger Nicholson
of the Resource Conservancy was not returned.
|A KBC editor responds|
First of all, the
Off-Project Resource Conservancy encompasses 50,000 acres of
Off-Project land represented by their president Roger Nicholson. He was not allowed
at the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement table as a
stakeholder. 26 groups of agencies, Indians, and more than a
dozen environmental groups owning no land, and 1 irrigation
rep, the Klamath Project, are at the table, but the Resource Conservancy was not
Recently Becky Hatfield Hyde