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Klamath Restoration agreement/KBRA— two views


Against agreement: It would devastate cattle industry

by ROGER NICHOLSON and GARRETT ROSEBERRY, Guest writers October 28, 2009, Herald and News.
Authors: Roger Nicholson is the president of Resource Conservancy and Fort Klamath Critical Habitat Landowners. Garrett Roseberry is vice-president of Resource Conservancy and Sprague River Water Resource Foundation.

followed by Becky Hyde, defending the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement

KBC NOTE: Nicholson and Roseberry represent more than 95% of off-Project irrigation, and 125,000 acres of land. They oppose the KBRA and were denied a seat at the closed-door KBRA negotiation table and the Klamath Hydro (dam removal) settlement table. Hyde's new little group represents less than 5% of off-Project irrigation. Hyde works for Sustainable NW and is a partner with SNW and Klamath Tribes, and has a seat at the KBRA table and Klamath Hydro table. SNW works for the Klamath Tribes. More on Becky Hyde go HERE.


In a recent Herald and News story, State Sen. Doug Whitsett pointed out the devastating effect the Restoration Agreement and dam removal agreements would have on the Klamath County cattle industry.  Several days later, Becky Hyde dismissed the senator’s statement by questioning his perception. 

    The senator was merely stating the obvious. The Restoration Agreement advocated retiring tens of thousands of acres outside the Klamath Reclamation Project, which would devastate the Klamath County cattle industry.

    The vast majority of the cattle numbers in Klamath County are pastured in off-Project areas. Ranches, like ours, are responsible for making Klamath County the 69th largest cow county and 87th largest stocker cattle county in the nation. 

    The cattle industry is the number one agricultural industry in Klamath County and in the State of Oregon. 

It’s been slipping   

    Even as impressive as these numbers are, slippage in cattle numbers is noticeable in the past several years. The main reason slippage has occurred is the purchase and agricultural retirement of 100,000 acres of land by the U.S. government and The Nature Conservancy. To our knowledge, not one acre of Project has been retired. The Restoration Agreement sets in motion retirement of an additional 30,000 acre-feet of water as well as a process to idle most of the remainder of the Upper Basin. When is enough, enough?

    The local Klamath County Cattlemen’s Association, the state-wide Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, and Water for Life have seen the destructive nature of the Restoration Agreement and have taken an active stand against its unfair anti-cattle industry provisions.

    It was confusing to many why Becky Hyde and Karl Scronce formed an organization, “Upper Klamath Water Users Association” (UKWA), when the role seemed to be duplicative to existing representation provided by Resource Conservancy. 

    Resource Conservancy has represented all active contestants in the Upper Basin in the present adjudication, as well as most of the irrigated landowners in the Upper Basin. It later became apparent that most of the time positions taken by Hyde’s and Scronce’s new group “have been against those of Resource Conservancy” and adversarial in nature. It was hard to understand why some of these positions were taken until research was completed. 

    Sustainable Northwest, a nonprofit group from Portland, helped Hyde fund her ranch in Beatty through outside investors and a grant from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board that provided $225,000 of public monies. Coincidentally, on the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board was a board member of Sustainable Northwest. A conservation easement on Hyde’s property was then deeded to the Klamath Tribes. The Klamath Tribes then became a partner of Hyde in this real estate venture. 

    The Restoration Agreement negotiating group refused to allow Resource Conservancy a seat at the negotiating table to represent Upper Basin irrigators.  However, Hyde and the Upper Klamath Water Users Association were recently granted a seat at the Restoration Agreement negotiating table to represent the off-Project water community.

    Hyde gained access to the negotiating table as a consultant to Sustainable Northwest, which in turn gained access by being a consultant to the Klamath Tribes. The Klamath Tribes are claiming virtually all of the water. At the same time, Hyde is supposedly representing the ranch lands from which the Tribes are trying to take the water.  This, in our opinion, is an actual conflict of interest.

Gets consultant fees

    Even more disturbing, Sustainable Northwest’s latest tax return shows Hyde was paid $63,835 as a consultant to Sustainable Northwest, which further emphasizes her conflict of interest, in our opinion.

    Hyde’s co-director of the Upper Klamath Water Users Association, Karl Scronce, sold his off-Project property for $2 million on Sept. 20, 2008. On Oct. 13, 2008, he became a director of the newly formed Upper Klamath Water Users Association.  At the same time, Scronce is a board member of the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents Project water users. 

    The Klamath Water users Association has signed papers, which state that the Klamath Tribes own virtually all of the water in Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River. Even a casual observer can recognize the conflict of interest in this situation. 

    The Restoration Agreement is cultural genocide to ranchers and their families in Klamath County.  An attempt has been made to discredit the Upper Basin representational organizations and replace them with individuals and organizations with conflicted ulterior motives. Our people stand united with Whitsett in seeking a fair and equitable solution for all. 


Roger Nicholson is the president of Resource Conservancy and Fort Klamath Critical Habitat Landowners. Garrett Roseberry is vice-president of Resource Conservancy and Sprague River Water Resource Foundation.


Restoration agreement — two views


For agreement: ‘We’re working to build stability for every family in the off-Project’

By BECKY HYDE, Guest writer October 28, 2009 
When my mother-in-law Gerda settled our water rights at Yamsi on the Upper Williamson, she had a lunch celebration in the old ranch dining room with the tribal council. This settlement represented such a relief to our family.

    But our ranch in Beatty is not very secure.

    Ten-cent power for irrigation pumping will shut us down. Endangered suckers and red band trout have forever changed the way we do business.

    We have very junior 1950 water rights on part of the ranch, making us vulnerable if the Klamath Tribes prevail on their claims and also vulnerable to the Klamath Project irrigators. This has left me sleepless many nights  and I know other families are worried as well. We want our children and our neighbors’ children to have the opportunity to ranch and maintain our way of life.

    Upper Klamath Water Users Association was formed over a year ago to ensure that all Upper Basin irrigators could work toward the stability like our family at Yamsi experienced.  The Upper Klamath Water Users Association board and members want to have the best terms possible for water security, regulatory assurances, and affordable power delivery.

    Each of our board members’ ranch or farm in the off-Project and is devoted to agriculture.

    Upper Klamath Water Users Association came late to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement settlement table, and so we are playing serious catch up and trying to pick up the pieces to secure benefits for the off-Project in that document.

They rely on litigation

    There are at least seven other groups in the off-Project area: Resource Conservancy, Fort Klamath Critical Habitat, Sprague River Resource Foundation, Sprague River Water Users, Save the Family Farm, Water for Life, and Off Project Water Users/Off Project Power Users.

    They take a different approach than the Upper Klamath Water Users Association.

    They rely on endless, costly and often-poorly thought-out litigation. They have a track record of misrepresenting facts to further stir people’s fears. These organizations are mostly run by the exact same people.

    You might ask Roger Nicholson, Tom Mallams and Doug Whitsett why they have so many groups. Is there clear transparency and accounting for where hard-earned off-Project agricultural dollars are spent?

    For years these groups have targeted anyone outside their core group who challenges their approach and logic to decision making. I’m the latest to draw the short straw.

    For example, there is nothing threatening about the fact that our family has a conservation easement on our land that assures grazing. We understand lots of people don’t like easements. That’s OK with us. You don’t have to put one on your land. However, it is silly to say that our family is in a “real estate deal” or “consulting” relationship with the Klamath Tribes. Everyone in this Basin knows a statement like that is only meant to build fear. The Tribes act responsibly in their relation to us in their role as a land trust. If you’re curious about what a land trust is — please ask.

No secrets here

    It’s common knowledge that I do contract work for a nonprofit called Sustainable Northwest, and that Sustainable Northwest has also helped Upper Klamath Water Users Association with grants and technical assistance. This helps, not harms, the off-Project. Sustainable Northwest has worked in places like Lake County — helping keep the mill open and develop biomass projects, and developing small diameter timber markets in Wallowa County.

    There are no secrets here. Talk to me or the Upper Klamath Water Users Association board if you’re nervous. We’re working to build stability for every family in the off-Project. Together, we create the best solutions.

    I grew up on a hardscrabble high desert ranch raised by parents who believed you had to take the problems that face ranching head on. Playing victim was not allowed. My very capable mother-in-law proved that you can make great wild plum jam, cook hamburgers for big crowds at the Klamath Bull Sale for 50 years, and create a water settlement, too. Join us.

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Meetings deserve more media attention   Restoration agreement — two views

Reader Comments

The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of HeraldAndNews.com. Comment Disclaimer: The editors of heraldandnews.com reserve the right to refuse publication of any comment posted for consideration. We may refuse for any reason, including use of profanity, disparaging comments, libelous comments, etc. Any reader who notices a comment they believe is particularly offensive, should notify us at webmaster@heraldandnews.com.
Many groups wrote on Oct 29, 2009 8:15 PM:
" How come nobody has answered the question why Roger, Tom and Doug have so many groups? "


Jon wrote on Oct 29, 2009 5:17 PM:
" I believe there are so many "games" being played now with this agreement [by a select few] the general public stands little chance of legitimate representation. "


Gimme gimme girl wrote on Oct 29, 2009 11:22 AM:
" As citizens and taxpayers, could we each please have $225,000 from the state (OWEB)for the asking?

Who do we have to know, if we are on the board of directors of Sustainable Northwest and OWEB will it help? Where do we sign up for the freebies?

Also, could we ratepayers of PacifiCorp have Hyde and Scronce's money back that we paid them through the reduced power rates? Since they apparently forgot how they came to have those reduced power rates. The regular ratepayers could sure use the break - instead of getting whacked with dam removal costs. "


Dan wrote on Oct 29, 2009 11:03 AM:
" Since SB-81 was brought up, I feel a need to comment.

We were farming and irrigating in the late 70's and early 80's. Due to health and other outside forces, we no longer farm.

At that time we new the Klamath River Compact was going to expire and when it did our power rates were going to rise significantly. We were actually planning for that event. Now the time is here and we all of a sudden have a crisis on our hands because local businessmen (irrigators) didn't plan for the future.

Now it's incumbent on the rest of the ratepayers and taxpayers to "soften the blow" on the poor farmers that PacificCorp is raping. In fact PacificCorp is just doing what they agreed to do at the onset. Your lack of planning should not become a crisis and a burden on me. "


SB 81 -Rate Shock help wrote on Oct 29, 2009 9:01 AM:
" Becky,
Have you and Scronce benefitted from SB 81, the "Rate Shock " bill which has afforded ALL irrigators in the Klamath Basin (OR)reduced power rates? Including tribal irrigators (yes, there are some)and environmental irrigators (Nature Conservancy)

That bill was conceived and shepherded through by the same groups and neighbors you are bashing in your letter. Water for Life being the lead group on SB 81.

What indeed have they done for you and your colleagues and Scronce's on the federal project?

They have saved you and the farms and ranches of the Klamath Basin from $25 - $75 million over the life of the bill , in electric pumping rates. "


To Below wrote on Oct 28, 2009 6:55 PM:
" Becky's assertions that the legitimate groups have raised lots of money and have little to show for it, is blatantly false.

Becky gripes about power rates but the same groups she attacked passed the rate shock bill which save power users in the Basin in excess of twenty million dollars (water for Life and Tom Mallam's Group). Spending a few thousand to get millions seems like a pretty good investment to me.

How much rate relief has Becky got local irrigators? Well none, she just smears the people who actually are doing something, other than taking loads of cash from settlement supporters.

Ms Hyde also forgets the in excess of two thousand contests that have been settled as a result of Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Roseberry's groups’ efforts including contests with the Klamath Tribes. They also successfully litigated the Brarren case the successor to Adair a case with nation wide importance. And they have also litigated the tribal claims tribal claims to date. The adjudication is a complaint driven process if you are not a party you have little chance of winning.

Becky and her predecessor in interest failed to file contests so she cannot even participate in the cases. But that does not stop her from trying to "settle" cases she is not even a party too.

What is Becky done constructive to protect upper basin water? Well nothing much other than smear the legitimate representatives. Oh, and she is promoting the settlement agreement. The same settlement agreement that advocates parties "Recognize the tribal water rights at the claimed amounts and with the priority date of time immemorial". This is a direct quote out of KBRA read it for yourself.

If these Tribal rights were recognized as filed Becky's 1950 water rights would be rendered essentially worthless. But she has got a lot of cash from SNW. Getting cash from SNW is probably easier than irrigating anyway. "


Allen wrote on Oct 28, 2009 5:15 PM:
" Valerie, Mr. Nicholson and does have his facts right.

Ms. Hyde is raking in big bucks as a consultant for sustainable Northwest, which is a major proponent of settlement. While at the same time alledgedly representing irrigators, which settlement directly targets.

If you will note Ms. Hyde uses clever words to refute Mr. Nicholson as his assertions were "silly" and "meant to build fear", she does not say they are factually inaccurate. "


Valerie Little A. wrote on Oct 28, 2009 2:19 PM:
" Seems to me that Mr. Nickleson and company might want to get their facts in order before they publish. They come across like rush l. and gentlemen that is not a compliment. "
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