Environmental group pulls out of Klamath talks
|KBC NOTE: According to the NEC, "The
agreement, they said, doesn't do enough to ensure
flows for fish runs while guaranteeing water
deliveries to farms that rely on irrigation water
diverted from the river."
We will remind you, the Klamath Project was a lake up to 30' deep in a closed basin. There were 30' of water on our farm. When they built the Klamath Project, they diverted water OUT of the basin, into Klamath Lake for storage, and also diverted it OUT of the basin, uphill through Sheepy Ridge mountain, through Lower Klamath refuge and INTO the Klamath River. Before the Project was built, around 1900, Link River, between Upper Klamath Lake and Lake Ewauna, occasionally went dry before the Klamath Project was built. There was no hydropower, no hatcheries, occasionally no fish (fish need water), no artificially-raised river flows or lake levels.
Since there were up to 30" of water on our fields, the US government issued war veterans, with WWI and WWII homesteads, deeds with water rights appurtenant to their land for 2.5 feet of water, the rest going into storage and the river. The feds and enviros want it all.
NEC said: "The farmers require water to avoid dry fields. But the salmon need that same water to avoid extinction."
However in truth: Healthy salmon runs on other rivers raise questions about the Sacramento, Redding Record Searchlight 12/15/08. "But while the Sacramento has continued to see declining returns this year, fall Chinook runs on the Klamath and Columbia rivers - the next two major river systems north - appear to be healthy."
The California-based Northcoast Environmental Center said the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement would threaten salmon and other fish and the basin and won't speed the removal of four dams on the Klamath River, which the center supports.
The agreement, they said, doesn't do enough to ensure flows for fish runs while guaranteeing water deliveries to farms that rely on irrigation water diverted from the river.
"We understand and sympathize with the plight of
upriver farmers, who need water for their
crops," said Greg King, the NEC's Klamath campaign coordinator. "The farmers require water to avoid dry fields. But the salmon need that same water to avoid extinction."
The settlement was crafted over three years by a coalition of 26 groups representing government, farming, fishing, tribal and conservation interests. It was released in draft form last year, hailed as a way to end long-running disputes over water and resources in the basin that straddles the Oregon and California border.
But it would require enough political support to wring nearly $1 billion in funding from Congress to move forward, so any dissolution of the negotiation group threatens its success.
-- Matthew Preusch; email@example.com