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Despite claims, dams provide water storage, flood control 

By LEO T. BERGERON and BRANDON CRISS, guest writers, Herald and News 8/1/10.

Authors: Leo T. Bergeron is a Montague, Calif., rancher, and a past California State Grange Master.  Brandon Criss is a Butte Valley rancher and a board member of the Klamath Conservative Voters’ PAC.


     The Klamath Conservative Voters PAC opposes the incorrect statements made by the Klamath County commissioners and the board of directors of the Klamath Water Users Association as well as their offspring the Klamath Ag PAC.


   They repeatedly misled the Klamath Basin community into thinking that the downriver dams provide no water storage for downriver agriculture and no flood protection.


   Under the commonsense leadership of America’s Greatest Generation, it was agreed that Iron Gate “dam will serve for both power and flood control, thus lessening flood danger in the Klamath Area.” (The Del Norte Triplicate, March 1960)


   There’s 60,000 acre feet of adjudicated senior water storage behind Iron Gate dam for the Shasta Valley Farmers (Montague area) in Siskiyou County.. In 2001, these farmers were at the Klamath Bucket Brigade March and its Grange successfully lobbied the National Grange to support Klamath Basin Farmers.


   The Shasta Valley Farmers advocated for Basin agriculture. Now the commissioners and KWUA Board in collaboration with the radical environmentalists groups, are actively lobbying Congress to forever destroy this Shasta Valley farmers’ water storage capacity.  


   Thrown under the bus


   The Shasta Tribe has been thrown under the bus. Its members fought against the 2001 water shutoff. Their oral history and research of early white settlers proves that the blame against Klamath Basin farmers for a later fish kill was false.


   The Shasta Nation tribal historian stated, “A huge concern for the Shasta Nation and myself are the ancient villages, sacred sites, and burial grounds under these reservoirs. … I fear that the human remains of my ancestors will be washed down the river.” (Pioneer Press Dec.16, 2009)


   Klamath County commissioners and the KWUA board are misleading the public in regards to PacifiCorp’s private property rights. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found dam removal not to be viable. Fish passage was the best choice. The only requirement to relicense the dams is a California Department of Water Resources 401 certification permit.  


   Natural occurring


   The state of California added a naturally occurring substance, algae growth, as a pollutant. PacifiCorp was informed by the State of California that it was extremely unlikely the state would issue this critically important permit. Faced with the prospect of spending huge sums of money, and even then not receiving the necessary permits, Pacifi-Corp was bureaucratically bullied into this position.


   Once you agree to flawed science that the Klamath River is “pure” and only man’s activities harm the river, then it makes it harder to fight the rest of the flawed science. It is like that saying, “what a web we weave when we first begin to deceive.”


   The city of Klamath Falls is faced with the same sort of bureaucratic bullying and is facing costs up to $118 million for new discharge requirements into the Klamath River.


   The Herald and News Editorial Board on June 12 hit the nail squarely on the head: “And for what? The treated wastewater now being discharged into the river is cleaner than the water that’s already there. What’s the gain?” The primary problem with Upper Klamath Lake is naturally occurring phosphorous.  




   Sadly for Basin agriculture, the KBRA establishes a non-elected self appointed coordinating council to set water policy. It has a super majority of those who advocate the flawed science for the 2001 and 2010 government made droughts. It is a continuation of the “status quo” that hasn’t worked.


   In fact, a group established in 1993 by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association (a self-appointed voting member of the “council”) is suing farmers in western Siskiyou County for their use of groundwater. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and the majority of the “council” will not be kind to Basin agriculture.  


   We were all united in 2001. But since then the Klamath County commissioners and the KWUA board started collaborating with the radical environmentalists, spreading misrepresentations and splitting a once united agricultural community.


   It’s obvious why Water for Life, several California Granges, the Klamath County, Siskiyou County and Oregon Cattlemen’s Associations all expressed concerns and opposition.


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