Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

KBC response:

KBC photo 2009 on farmland in Lower Klamath

1. KBC - of course Klamath Riverkeeper supports the Klamath BAsin Restoration Agreement/KBRA. They earlier opposed it widely to the media to force more changes in the finished 'agreement.' Riverkeeper's board member Craig Tucker founded their group under Klamath Forest Alliance umbrella, is activist in Friends of the River, an international dam removal group, and helped draft the KBRA agreement as a 'stakeholder' as Karuk Tribe spokesman.

2.  Literally dozens of studies, hundreds of pages, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife have produce absolutely no evidence that any fish or bird has been killed by pesticides or effects of farming these lands. They have the strictest pesticide regulations in California.

3. Only 5% of 300 Klamath County residents polled by a professional poll commissioned by our elected Senator and Legislators supported the settlement, and at a widely advertised public input meeting in November put on by Senator Whitsett and Representatives Gillman and Garrard, 300 attended, 81 spoke, 40 additional people wrote, and not one spoke or wrote in favor of this closed-door settlement; not one felt it would "allow stability" for agriculture and not one said that Addington and Klamath Water Users Association represents the will of the majority of farmers. Addington was invited but refused to come and hear the farmers, ranchers, businessmen and other citizens give solutions and input. KWUA plans no vote of the people they claim to represent.

 4. Mr Addington, do you plan to allow your constituents, the farmers and ranchers and not just your districts' boards of directors, to sign off on the "agreement"?

5. Oregon Wild, "That's why it is quite ironic that the photo that accompanies this story is a shot of hundreds of snow geese over Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. This is the refuge (along with Tule Lake) that is being sacrificed in this deal."
KBC RESPONSE: Look at the 2 photos. Think about it. These are photos of snow geese on farmland. According to Ph.D.Robert  McLandress, UC David ecology, "Klamath Basin is the most important waterfowl area in N America. Waterfowl eat 70 million pounds of food here, and more than half comes from the farms... Wildlife and farms have been together for 100 years."

6. The Klamath Irrigation Project provided regulated water for the 4 Klamath Dams to create power for 70,000 households annually. The Link River, previous to the Klamath Project, often went dry in the fall; that means no fish swam over the dry rocks into the basin then. You received cheap power from the hydro dams. In exchange for cheap power for their customers, the power company offered irrigators at cost power since they made the hydro electricity possible. You call that a subsidy? Don't you use power?


7. Does the above photo look like a desert that should not be entitled to irrigation water? Tule Lake was a navigable lake before the Klamath Project was built, up to 30 feet of water above where my farm in now. All we ask for is 2 feet to irrigate. You spin this like we are a desert, when in fact we are in a closed basin, and diverted the water OUT of the basin and INTO the river. Our farm use is less than 5% of the water at the mouth of the Klamath River.

8. Commentator Eugene attorney Glen Spain from Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen/PCFFA makes a good point. This is a 50 year agreement for the farmers. The wildland proponents forever get the hydroelectric dams out, the Klamath Tribes are given 92,000 acres of land they previously sold to put into a tax exempt trust/sovereign nation for logging, possibly another casino, and biofuel power plant since the hydro dams will be ripped out. Endangered fish will be planted in a warm shallow Klamath Lake which has naturally lethal temperatures and water quality for salmon. Planted lamprey are fish parasites. Off Project has to downsize 30,000 acres above the 100,000 acres previously acquired by gov't agencies and environmental groups, Project must downsize tens of thousands of acres, then relinquish use our groundwater control to the feds and enviros and tribes, and the farmers will get water if the climate change and endangered planted fish evaluations all it. The dam elimination, tribal land, and government expansion will last forever, however the farmers will be allowed whatever benefit they might get for 50 years.

9... Spain, the 'friend of farmers' in the KBRA negotiations, encourages Waterwatch to seek Congressional action to eliminate farming on the wildlife refuges, however in the KBRA negotiations he advocates keeping the farms there. On his Klamath Coalition website, where he and Oregon Wild and Waterwatch are partners, they both advocate downsizing Klamath agriculture and eliminating farms on the refuges. Incidentally, PCFFA has sued against the irrigators being compensated for the government taking our irrigation water in 2001, sued to enforce water quality mandates for the farmers to make their water more pristine than it is from natural sources, sued to shut down Klamath River suction dredge mining, and wrote water quality control board to take down Keno Dam, which provides Klamath Project irrigation water.

10. We have lived here for nearly 60 years, and know of no time water has been completely denied to the refuges. When irrigators receive water, the water goes downhill into the refuges. Then the farmers pump it uphill into more refuges and into the Klamath River. In 2001 the tribes and environmental groups sued to deny us irrigation water, the first time in known history this former lake has been denied water. We farmers, at our own expense, drilled wells and pumped the water into the refuges while our fields died.

11. Spain claims the refuge farmers pay nothing to Fish and Wildlife. We are paying the entire expense of pumping all of our basin's water--remember this was a 30' deep lake in places in a closed basin--out of the basin and into the refuges and Klamath River. Before the water did not leave our Basin...look again:


We paid in full to blast a tunnel through Sheepy Ridge and pump the water uphill ultimately into the Klamath River. Our power cost are rising 1400% because Spain, the tribes and enviro groups petitioned against our affordable power rate when in fact we pump our water into the refuges and river for fish and power.

12. Yes, the KBRA mandates taking tens of thousands of acres out of agricultural production to create more wetlands. Studies show that this worsens water quality and evaporates 2ce the water as is used for irrigated agriculture.

13. Spain's additional info supporting the water "scheme" for fish: "Under the KBRA, "Hardy flows" are closely matched and in some instances exceeded during the most biologically critical times of the year for Klamath River salmonids (spring juvenile outmigration and late summer spawning). The flows we receive today are clearly inadequate by comparison. KBC response: Hardy flows would sometimes exceed any water available for agriculture. Remember, this was a closed basin, this lake water had no way to reach the river, Hardy took the highest water year in history to create his average mandatory flows using tribal science. The farmers are not going to survive this water theft.

14. "130,000 and 230,000 additional acre-feet" of agricultural water will be sent down the river. All this is higher than historic flows since this was a closed basin and the river sometimes went dry.

15. These former ranchers were forced to sell to create water storage for irrigation. They watered their ranches a few times per year. The acquisition was spun as real storage for irrigation water. After the sale of 100,000 acres of their ranches, the Nature Conservancy, despite proof that wetlands create worse water quality and double water usage, has torn down dikes and is breaching these new "storage" wetlands into the lakes, consuming much water. Some ranchers were willing sellers with the federal inflated payments.. Some were flooded out by neighboring acquisitions.

16. Resource Conservancy is the longtime umbrella association of all the Off-Project irrigators involved in active adjudication claims with the Klamath Tribes. They are not allowed a seat at the KBRA negotiation table, however the KBRA negotiators allowed Becky Hyde to form a little new group to represent all the off project irrigators. She works for Sustainable NW environmental group, they work for the Klamath Tribes, and the Tribe has an easement on her property. Resource Conservancy does not want to take their land out of production with no promise of a cap being put on the amount of land the tribes will demand. In the Klamath Tribe document of intensions, the tribe wants to acquire their private land. Of course they won't allow Recource Conservancy at the table. They already got the Klamath Water Users Association to give them senior water rights.

17. Yes, the tribes get a tax exempt sovereign nation that they sold, superior water rights, signed agreement that all biological opinions and Endangered Species Act mandates will be followed, land to fish on the Klamath River that was historically not their tribal land, and irrigators to drop adjudication claims. Yes, it is a good deal for them, along with the new logging and casino and power industries and millions of dollars for more studies.

See KBC's KBRA page for videos, articles, Whose Who, letters, documents audio, petitions, ....


Final Klamath Basin agreement released

By Matthew Preusch, The Oregonian

January 08, 2010, 4:40PM
klamath_snow_geese.JPGView full sizeSnow geese in flight over the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge in 2007.4:40 p.m.

The environmental group Klamath Riverkeeper was not part of the negotiations behind the agreement announced today, but the group said in a statement it nonetheless supports it.

1. "Our analysis shows the settlement is the most workable and realistic way to get the dams out, and poses an innovative way to deal with the historic over-allocation of water in the basin," the groups' Erica Terrence said.

2:45 p.m.

The group Oregon Wild, which opposes the agreement, released the following statement:
It has been three long years since Oregon Wild was excluded from settlement negotiations over the fate of the Klamath Basin and its valuable salmon, wildlife, and wetland habitat. While we have often disagreed with the adequacy of many of the provisions in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), we are glad that this final document is now available for public review.

As we begin to sift through the 369 page KBRA, we will pay close attention
to three main areas:

   1. Ensuring that Klamath River salmon are provided with river flows based on the best available science.
 2.  2. Protecting Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge from the harmful effects of commercial agriculture. These refuges were established decades ago to provide critical habitat to myriad species and the program of leasing refuge land for commercial crop production should be phased out, not extended.
   3. Guaranteeing a timely and more certain agreement for the removal of the four lower Klamath River dams. Currently, the KBRA’s associated document, the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement (KHSA) contains too many off-ramps and delays.

In our initial assessment, it appears that while substantive changes have been made from earlier draft versions, much work remains to improve the KBRA so that it adequately protects fish and wildlife in the Klamath Basin. In the coming months, we hope to work with other stakeholders through the Klamath Conservation Partners to push for alternatives to improve upon the current deal. We are confident that Congress will craft legislation that responds to the needs of the tribes, governments, conservationists, irrigators, and the fish and wildlife that call the Basin home.

And a full statement from the group American Rivers, which was party to the agreement, can be found here.

1:30 p.m.

The full text of the agreement, which is 369 pages long, as well as an 11-page summary have now both been posted online as PDF files.

9:42 a.m.

The final version of a massive agreement to share water and other resources in the fractious Klamath Basin was released this morning.

The roughly 400-page Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement doesn't differ substantially in many ways from a draft agreement released to much fanfare two years ago, according to those involved.

But it does reflect the work of negotiators representing environmental groups, tribes, farmers, local governments, state and federal agencies to refine the document so it could garner wider approval and survive any legal challenges.

At its heart, the deal would provide water to farms and ranches in and near a 200,000-acre federal irrigation project that straddles to the Oregon and Californian border while ensuring flows for protected fish.

The federal government curtailed water to project farmers in 2001 to protect the endangered sucker in Klamath Lake, leading to protests and civil disobedience that gained national attention. Water was restored the following year, but that led in part to a huge die-off of salmon in the river downstream.

In the years since, groups and individuals long at odds - like farmers and fishers - have been working to find common ground for an agreement to avert future water wars.

3.“We are proposing a plan that will balance water use in the basin such that all of the Klamath’s diverse rural communities can prosper. This means restoring fisheries in a manner that allows stability for agricultural economies,” said Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents farmers on the Klamath Reclamation Project.

The deal also includes an agreement to remove four private power-producing dams on the Klamath River to help recover runs of salmon there, and it reflects the Obama administration's entrance into the long-running talks.

Critics of the deal say it doesn't do enough to protect federal bird refuges on the basin, large parts of which are still leased for farming, and it doesn't guarantee enough water will be left in the river during drought years to protect fish.

 4 The negotiators will now take the document back to their constituents and ask them to sign off on it.

But before any of the plan can go forward, Congress has to agree to spend roughly half a billion dollars to fund the various aspects of the deal.

“In many ways, completing the negotiation marks a beginning, not an end," said Petey Brucker, of the Salmon River Restoration Council. "We still have to pass legislation and complete environmental reviews before dam removal and other elements of the agreements can be implemented. Still, we are closer than we have ever been to solving the Klamath crisis."

The Oregonian will update this post throughout the day with reactions from proponents and opponents of the deal.

-- Matthew Preusch


 (12 total)     RSS
Oldest comments are shown first. Show newest comments first
Posted by oregonwild
January 08, 2010, 10:13AM
Hey Matt-

Thanks for the first blush report on this. Seems that link to the KBRA doesn't have an updated document (just the one from back in September).

As the article points out, Oregon Wild has some significant concerns over the provisions of this settlement. Some of our chief concerns stem from the way this deal gives away the farm (or more accurately, gives away the national wildlife refuge) to continued abuse from commercial agriculture.

5. That's why it is quite ironic that the photo that accompanies this story is a shot of hundreds of snow geese over Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. This is the refuge (along with Tule Lake) that is being sacrificed in this deal. Settlement proponents will say that the refuges get guaranteed water! That wildlife will be taken care of! That plowing under their habitat to grow alfalfa is a dandy idea! Take a look at the document (whenever it is actually public) and see for yourself.

The refuges get less water than even the Bush administration was forced to give them when Oregon Wild sued to protect Bald Eagle habitat in August 2001.

I'm glad this document is now out in the open so we can start to work with Oregon's Congressional delegation on taking the good parts of this deal, fixing the bad parts, and getting a final solution that restores balance to the Klamath - for the tribes, the farmers, the fishermen, the fish, the snow geese, and more.

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Posted by j2cub612
January 08, 2010, 12:28PM
That's what it means to copromise oregonwild. You don't want compromise you really want it to be done the way you say. Even if this deal gets accomplished you will still spend years trying to overturn it or restict it more. Compromise for now but you'll be back.

I doubt the environmetalists will be happy with anything less than no farming in the basin at all and eventually no fishing in the Klamath River or at sea for any of it's fish.

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Posted by oregonwild
January 08, 2010, 1:15PM

I think it is fair to say that compromise should be the goal. As long as that compromise does not undermine the basic principles of any group at the table. Oregon Wild was long ago jettisoned from these negotiations, not because we wouldn't compromise (we were willing to agree to power subsidies for irrigators, a federal buy-out for willing sellers, and more).

You don't have to look very far (try three weeks ago on the pages of the Oregonian) to see that Oregon Wild can negotiate in good faith to find solutions to intractable problems. We just managed (with 6 other conservation groups) to sit down and find common ground with the timber industry over management of eastern Oregon forests. And we did it without trading away other environmental values. The Klamath deal announced today does not have science-based flows for salmon and does not stop the harmful practice of plowing under wildlife habitat on National Wildlife Refuge land to grow alfalfa! If the eastern Oregon forest deal looked like the Klamath deal, we would be protecting old growth, but at the same time building parking lots over meadows in the Ochocos.

Oregon Wild can and will negotiate agreements that are good for all parties. But we refuse to support compromises simply for the sake of compromise.

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Posted by digg
January 08, 2010, 3:32PM
(we were willing to agree to power subsidies for irrigators, a federal buy-out for willing sellers, and more).

Does any of "your" comprimises not call for my tax dollars to be given away to one or another effected party.

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Posted by oregonwild
January 08, 2010, 3:56PM

Good question. Certainly, it is worthwhile to consider the implications to the taxpayer in all of this.

6. For 100 years, we've subsidized cheap water in the Klamath Basin (and for a big chunk of that time, cheap power as well). Ostensibly, we did that to support communities and provide jobs for farmers. Little did we know that in time those actions would cost other folks their jobs (namely, coastal fishermen and tribal members) and decimate our natural heritage (salmon, wetlands, and wildlife).

Some might say that we shouldn't spend any tax dollars on restoration or support for certain industries. I think that would be going too far.

Not only does a healthy and balanced Klamath Basin stimulate the economy (through a salmon fishery, recreation and tourism, food production, etc), it is also vital in maintaining our quality of life. Worthy investments for taxpayer dollars when done correctly.

Oregon Wild would argue that giving away taxpayer dollars to unfairly support any one group would be counterintuitive and wasteful. There is certainly some fat to be trimmed in the $1 billion KBRA.

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Posted by Croucier34
January 08, 2010, 3:45PM
There seem to be several assumptions here that are shaky at best.
1. It still doesn't sound like dam removal is guaranteed, so compromise and then cross your fingers as it sounds like wishful thinking.
2. If the dams come out all the water will be sent to farms and none left for the fish.

7. As to j2cub612 comments about whether or not farming should happen in the Klamath Basin. The are gets about 7 inches of rain per year. Does that sound like a good place to farm? I don't think I need to answer that question. With climate change we need to be smart about where we farm and not farm in places where all of the water has to sucked out of rivers that provide salmon for downstream fishing communities.

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Posted by digg
January 08, 2010, 3:51PM
Since it's no longer "Global Warming" we should be alright farming in dry climates as "Climate Change" could mean just about anything.
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Posted by Croucier34
January 08, 2010, 4:35PM
I wouldn't invest my money in farming in dry climates as one of the primary predictions of climate change is that droughts will be worse.
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Posted by Glen Spain
January 08, 2010, 5:32PM
With all due respect to our many colleagues and friends there, Oregon Wild has been championing a great deal of highly inflated rhetoric blasting the KBRA that is SIMPLY NOT TRUE, particularly about the impact of the KBRA on the national wildlife refuges, some in these postings. As one of the Klamath Negotiations groups, we should set the record straight, with references to the KBRA itself (as just released) so people can check the facts for themselves.

8. For example, among other unsupported press statements, Oregon Wild has in the past said the following: The KBRA locks in continued agricultural leases on the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges for the next 50 years.

Actually, such agricultural leases have been allowed on certain National Wildlife Refuges in the Klamath Basin since the passage in 1964 of the Kuchel Act (PL 88-567)(16 U.S.C. Sec. 695m). However, this merely contractual KBRA Agreement cannot change that fact because it cannot repeal an Act of Congress. Only Congress can do that. This may be disappointing to some (including Oregon Wild) who once tried to make the lease land program a KBRA issue, but the remedy for those advocating an end to national wildlife refuge lease land farming is 9.. in CONGRESS, not attacking the KBRA.

KBRA critics also discount certain benefits the KBRA brings to these national wildlife refuges (listed above). These are not trivial benefits, but are deliberately ignored by many of the KBRA's critics who focus far more on what is not in the Agreement, rather than on what is. Those benefits include the following:

10. 1. In KBRA Sec. 15.1.2.E, a guaranteed minimum summer inflow water right for the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge of between 48,000 and 60,000 acre-feet (scaled depending on the water year type). At present these National Wildlife Refuges have no water right assurances whatsoever, which means they can be (and have been)  completely dried up during previous low rainfall and drought years. This new KBRA refuge water right can be scaled down to no less than 24,000, but only in the most extreme water shortages under Sec. 15.1.2.F.i. In many past droughts the refuges have gotten NO WATER AT ALL. Without the KBRA reforms in place, this could happen again. In fact, Oregon Wild has some very dramatic pictures of dried up national wildlife refuges and dead birds in its archives to prove that very point.

2. The Agreement would provide for federal implementing legislation (See Appendix A-1, provision G) which would FOR THE FIRST TIME specifically add fish and wildlife and National Wildlife Refuges as legally authorized purposes of the Klamath Reclamation Project. Right now the Reclamation Project cannot include those protections because they are not in its original 1906 purpose statement. This change will legally institutionalize the requirement for the Bureau of Reclamation to provide reliable water supplies to the nearby National Wildlife Refuges.

 3. Under Sec. 15.4.4.B.iii of the KBRA, US Fish and Wildlife Klamath Refuge managers would for the first time have a dedicated funding stream (20% of future lease land revenues) to better provide for fish and wildlife needs on the wildlife refuges themselves, including enforcement and implementation of new mitigation measures required for the lease land program in accordance with the Kuchel Act. Refuge managers believe this will make much better management of the refuges for wildlife possible. At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gets 11 none of these lease land revenues, and refuge managers must instead tap the U.S. Treasury for all of their refuge management funds, competing (sometimes unsuccessfully) against every other use of federal taxpayer dollars.

12. 4. An additional benefit to waterfowl generally from the KBRA will also be the reclaiming and addition of several thousands of new wetlands acres to the existing upper basin wetlands land base, to be used for additional water storage as well as waterfowl (KBRA Sec. 18.2).

Some refuge advocates are disappointed that the KBRA, a mere contract, cannot repeal the 1964 Kuchel Act (PL 88-567) 16 U.S.C. Sec. 695m by which Congress allows commercial lease land farming on parts of these refuges. However, neither will it overturn the Kuchel Act or any other laws wildlife protections. (KBRA Appendix A, Item L). No mere restoration agreement could do any of that, only Congress.

In short, Oregon Wild has the wrong target here. Oregon Wild should be working to change the Kuchel Act in Congress, not trying to discredit the KBRA and block its major benefits to the wildlife refuges simply out of spite or disappoint that the KBRA cannot be used for that purpose.

-- Glen Spain, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen?s Associations (PCFFA)

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Posted by Glen Spain
January 08, 2010, 6:18PM

There is also a need to correct another myth or bit of misinformation about the science underlying the KBRA-projected new flows for lower river salmon. Oregon Wild and some others have frequently said there is no science behind them -- a statement that is patently false and very easily disproved.

As the Co-Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee to the KBRA process, I invite them to really look at the impressive body of science, including two entirely independent modeling efforts using three separte models, all showing that the KBRA Flows, even alone and not coupled with dam removal (making them even more effective), are going to GREATLY benefit salmon restoration and recovery in the Basin, including benefiting ESA-listed coho salmon.
In fact, the KBRA water reallocation scheme is, in the opinions of most scientists, far less uncertain and risky than simply doing nothing. The status quo could easily lead to widespread salmon extinctions in the basin unless the water reforms that the KBRA will achieve are implemented.

A full explanation of the science behind the KBRA flow regime is contained in a "Science White Paper," with the daunting title of "Compilation of Information to Inform USFWS Principals on Technical Aspects of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement Relating to Fish and Fish Habitat Conditions," US Fish and Wildlife Service. The final version of this Report is expected to be released soon and drafts are available. Please refer to that document for the detailed scientific analysis supporting the KBRA flow regimes.

13. Those KBRA flow targets are also solidly based on the so-called "Hardy Phase II Flow Study," considered the currently best available science on the flow recovery needs of salmonids in the Klamath River (Thomas B. Hardy, R. C. Addley, et al., Evaluation of Instream Flow Needs in the Lower Klamath River: Phase II Final Report, (US Dept. of Interior, July 31, 2006)). There are also various summaries of the modeling efforts done to test the KBRA flow recommendations in the KBRA itself (Appendix E-5) and to assure their benefits to salmon restoration referenced in the KBRA itself, at Sec. 12.2.7.A.

Under the KBRA, "Hardy flows" are closely matched and in some instances exceeded during the most biologically critical times of the year for Klamath River salmonids (spring juvenile outmigration and late summer spawning). The flows we receive today are clearly inadequate by comparison. All salmonid species (several chinook runs, coho and steelhead) were considered and will be benefited under these KBRA flow targets. Under the current ESA-mandated flow regime, all the ESA can provide is just enough water to prevent extinction -- not to mention that the ESA protections for salmon in the Klamath River could vanish with one bad Court ruling.

However, it is clear that improved flows alone cannot fully recover the Klamath's damaged salmon runs. Those improved flows must be coupled with dam removal to improve water quality as well. This is one major reason these two Settlement Agreements are coupled together. Both are necessary for full salmon recovery in the Klamath Basin, but neither is sufficient in itself to accomplish that goal.

Thus the so-called "dam removal alternative" that Oregon Wild and some others have been touting cannot, in itself, achieve full salmon restoration in the basin. Only dam removal coupled WITH THE KRBA can accomplish that greater purpose. Unless conservation group opponents of the KBRA have a viable, and most importantly achievable, alternative to the KBRA that will ALSO deliver between 14. 130,000 and 230,000 additional acre-feet to the salmon in the lower river, end water wars in the Klamath Basin, and result in a 50-year habitat restoration effort, their assertions that there are "better alternatives" to the KBRA are nothing more than wishful thinking.

Out of work commercial fishermen PCFFA represents support the KBRA because it will lead to both dam removal AND Klamath salmon recovery. We cannot rebuild our salmn-dependent communities and livelihoods on KBRA critics' wishful thinking.

-- Glen Spain, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA)


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Posted by Larry Dunsmoor
January 09, 2010, 12:42PM
I am a biologist working for the Klamath Tribes, at the upper end of the Klamath River. I have been working to restore healthy conditions to this river basin for more than 20 years now, and have spent the last 9 years focusing on restoring salmon and steelhead above the Klamath River dams, and restoring healthy conditions to the Upper Klamath watershed.

I will begin by saying that I support the two agreements without reservation. These agreements offer complex approaches to complex ecological, political, and socioeconomic issues, and are therefore difficult to understand. It is useful and appropriate to consider individual components of the agreements, but always in the context of the overall package, as well as in the context of the available alternative. This dynamic is consistently missing in the rhetoric that has been flowing from Oregon Wild in their attacks on the settlement efforts.

The agreements mark a fundamental change in approach to management of aquatic resources in the Klamath Basin. They move us from regulation based warfare with ESA based Biological Opinions and litigation as principle weapons, which can only address symptoms of our environmental problems, to innovative collaboration that address the real, foundational problems. Understand that I speak as one who worked hard for many years, trying to use the ESA to make real, lasting, beneficial change happen.

Oregon Wild consistently criticizes flow provisions of the agreements. It may be useful to readers to understand the context within which I, and I believe most other settlement parties, view the flow outcomes of the KBRA.

Picture a river system in which the following things have happened as a result of implementing the KBRA and KHSA:

1. The lower four Klamath River dams have been removed.

2. Spawning and rearing habitats in the Klamath River have been revitalized by restored gravel storage and movement dynamics, which the dams have all but eliminated.

3. The toxic Microcystis (algae) blooms in the hydro project reservoirs have been eliminated, and they no longer impact downstream river reaches.

4. The thermal impacts of the hydro project reservoirs have been removed, restoring a thermal regime similar to that measured in 1926. This is a big deal, because at present fall Chinook spawning runs are delayed (compared to historic timing) by weeks, and when they do run they face a river that gets warmer as they move upstream to spawn. Both are caused by the hydro project reservoirs slowly releasing heat stored during the summer. Late spawning leads to late fry emergence and then to late out-migration of smolts, which likely decreases their success.

5. Salmon and steelhead once again have access to the large concentrations of cold water, and the extensive spawning and rearing habitats that exist upstream of the dams.

6. The damage to the river caused by peaking, and by the diversion of most or all of the flow from the Klamath River within the hydro project, has been stopped.

7. Major efforts have been made to remove nutrients and organic matter before the water flows past Keno Dam. Under present conditions, these nutrients and organic matter cause big problems for salmon downstream.

8. Increased and reliable diversions into the Klamath National Wildlife Refuges are in place. The KBRA substantially improves the water supply for the refuges.

9. Diversions into the Klamath Irrigation Project have been reduced significantly, and capped.

10. An interim program for managing lake levels and river flows has been implemented; that is between now and when the dams come out, Project diversion cap is realized, etc.

11. A more collaborative approach to managing water in the lake and river is in place, one that will facilitate simultaneous consideration of upper and lower basin needs, which has never been possible under the ESA.

12. A plan for managing through droughts has been implemented, which will provide for increased water in the lake and river should it be necessary in the worst drought years.

15 13. Former wetlands have reconnected to Upper Klamath Lake,
restoring natural water storage and greatly expanding habitat for endangered suckers, waterfowl, etc.

16.14. Inflow to Upper Klamath Lake has been increased by 30,000 acre ft through retiring upstream water uses.

15. Major river restoration has been accomplished in the Klamath River, its tributaries, and above Upper Klamath Lake. This is the centerpiece of the KBRA as far as fish are concerned, and something that cannot be delivered by the ESA, or by litigation. River restoration will also greatly benefit waterfowl, and when combined with the reconnected wetlands around Upper Klamath Lake, and the large, reliable water deliveries to the Refuges, it is clear that settlement brings enormous benefits to the Pacific flyway.

I could go on if I had more time, but the point is that it is simply wrong to make sweeping statements about the flow outcomes of the KBRA and KHSA without taking all of the above into account. In my opinion, the flow outcomes of the settlement offer dramatic improvements to the flow regime in the Klamath River, and when combined with the removal of dams and massive restoration actions, provide the best possible achievable future for the Klamath ecosystem.

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Posted by Bud Ullman
January 10, 2010, 3:30PM
17. As an attorney representing the Klamath Tribes I have watched, and participate in, decades of litigation over Klamath Basin resources, especially water. Of all the interests involved, none of them has found a way to litigate their way to achievement of their goals. While litigation clearly has a role to play in ironing out resource issues, the current laws simply don't offer the tools for fixing all fo what's wrong in the Klamath Basin.

In recent years an impressive number of parties found a way to set aside their differences long enough to explore alternative paths to solutions. The resulting KBRA, and its partner the KHSA, offer more solutions to more problems than can possibly be offered by another decade or more of litigation.

Attacks on the KBRA and KHSA by groups like Oregon Wild are simply not well founded. The attacks seldom offer any meaningful alternatives and, when they do, they appear to assume there is an ability to simply dictate outcomes desired by particular interests. this isn't correct, and it will bring only more decades of litigation.

The Klamath Tribes, and other leaders resident in the Basin, are prepared to move beyond the old costly, divisive, and inconclusive ways of doing business, and they call on others to join and support this remarkable effort.

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