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Undated letter by John Keyes on behalf of Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, concerning the purchase of Barnes Ranch. This letter is over a year old (5/18/05)

Mr. John Engbring
Chairman, Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force
1829 South Oregon Street
Yreka, California 96097

Dear Mr. Engbring:

Thank you for your recent letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton concerning the purchase of the Barnes Ranch in the Upper Klamath Basin.  Secretary Norton requested that the Bureau of Reclamation respond to your letter.

Reclamation appreciates the interest of the Klamath Rive Basin Fisheries  Task Force in improving the water storage capability in the Klamath Basin.  During the last decade, several properties along the perimeter of Upper Klamath and Agency Lakes have been purchased by the Department of the Interior and others for the purpose of restoring the original function of those lands.  These properties include Tulana Farms at the mouth of the Williamson River, Wood River Ranch at the mouth of Wood River, and most recently, Agency Lake Ranch adjacent to the Barnes Ranch.  The Barnes Ranch has great potential to increase water storage, improve water quality, and expand habitat for endangered species.

We believe the restoration of these properties, including the Barnes Ranch, could contribute significantly toward assuring the recovery of the endangered suckers and improving the ecosystem associated with the lakes.  While the Department prefers that the Barnes property remain under private ownership, Reclamation could be in a position to manage both the Barnes Ranch and Agency Lake Ranch as one contiguous unit to maximize water storage options through the purchase of a flowage easement or similar scenario; however, Reclamation has not budgeted for such options at this time.

The development of a long-term plan for water withdrawals and restoration, which supports the economic stability and health of Klamath Basin's ecosystem, will be valuable as we move forward in developing the  Conservation Implementation Program (CIP). Last winter, Reclamation hosted a day-long presentation for stakeholders about this program.  The presentation was well attended by representatives from the  Departments of the Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, and d the states of Oregon and  California.  We will soon circulate a draft plan for the  CIP and would appreciate your review and eventual participation in implementing the program.

We look forward to the Task Force's continued support of our efforts to manage the valuable resources of the Klamath  River Basin.  Should you have questions or require further information, please contact Mr. Kirk Rodgers, Regional Director, Mid-Pacific Region, at 916-978-5000, or Mr. Dave Sabo, Area Manager, Klamath Basin Area Office, at 541-883-6935.

Sincerely,

John W. Keys, III
Commissioner
Bureau of Reclamation

 

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