Group joins water discussion
(KBC NOTE: According to Tom Mallams, president of the
Off-Project Water Users, Klamath Project negotiator Steve
Kandra and the Karuk, Yurok, and Klamath Tribes and some
others voted to oppose Mallam's group from attending the
PacifiCorp closed-door meetings because OPWU oppose dam
removal and several components of the Settlement Agreement.
However, settlement group allowed Hyde's new little group
encompassing 200 acres to
join the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement negotiations with
opposition from some groups. The Off-Project Resource
Conservancy encompasses 125,000 irrigated acres and hundreds
of people, yet they are not allowed a seat at the table.
Hyde's land is in a partnership with the Klamath Tribes,
government agencies, and environmental groups.)
Upper Klamath Water Users Association will have a vote
by Ty Beaver, Herald and News April 10, 2009
Stakeholders connected to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement
voted Thursday to include another group representing irrigators
off the Klamath Reclamation Project.
The group of stakeholders, which includes farmers, fishermen,
tribal members and environmentalists, met in Sacramento Thursday
to discuss changes to the restoration agreement, which seeks to
settle water disputes in the Basin.
The Upper Klamath Water Users Association will now sit at the
table with other groups, including the Off-Project Water Users,
Klamath Tribes and Klamath Water Users Association and have a vote
Those representing the Tribes and on-Project water users welcomed
the new group, saying its participation should help move
discussions along and ensure that off-Project water users are
taken care of in the agreement.
“We feel having some new voices at the table, and voices willing
to find common ground, are important at this time,” said Jeff
Mitchell, Klamath Tribes council member.
Tom Mallams, president of the Off-Project Water Users, said he was
disappointed the group was allowed in when not all stakeholders
agreed and when other off-Project groups he’s sought to have at
the table have been denied spots.
“ We’re just being denied any voice at all,” he said.
The Upper Klamath Water Users Association has only existed for a
few months, has a relatively small membership and primarily serves
off-Project water users. Board members include Becky Hyde, Karl
Scronce, Bob Sanders and Matt Walter.
Members of the group have said they want to address the needs of
off-Project water users in the agreement. They also have worked
closely with the Tribes and on-Project irrigators.
“There was just some skeletal language in the KBRA for the
off-Project and we’re just trying to put some meat on the bones,”
Mallam’s group has sought to reopen negotiations, saying there are
too few assurances for off-Project water users. The group also
opposes removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River and
providing the Mazama Tree Farm to the Tribes.
Working with others
Steve Kandra, board member on the Klamath Water Users Association,
said part of the reason his organization welcomed the new group
was because it was willing to work with stakeholders rather than
serve as a road block.
Mallams said he wouldn’t have opposed the new group’s admittance
if groups he’d petitioned to have included, the Sprague River
Water Users and Resource Conservancy, also were at the table.
Instead, the new off-Project group will only add one more vote of
approval when it comes to controversial decisions, he said. He
also lamented how stakeholders are no longer taking action as a
consensus but as a majority. At least three groups opposed letting
a new organization in, he said.
“The only thing it’s going to change is give them a little better
public relations,” Mallams said