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Water issues still the same for Basin
January 31, 2005 by DYLAN DARLING
Federal and state officials tasked with prioritizing
funding and finding a solution for ongoing Klamath
water issues have set meetings for the top and
bottom of the Klamath River Basin this spring to
hear directly from the people involved.
Klamath Falls meeting is set for 1 p.m. March 15,
although the venue hasn't been determined yet. The
next day there will be a meeting in Eureka, Calif.,
near the mouth of the Klamath River.
The coordination group was assembled last October
when Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced an
agreement among federal agencies and the states of
California and Oregon to cooperate and collaborate
on solving issues in the Klamath River watershed.
Officials from state and federal agencies had been
meeting informally for about two years, with the
meetings held in Sacramento, Salem and Portland.
Early indications are 2005 will be another dry year
in the Basin. Federal officials are trying to figure
out how to reserve more water for protected salmon
while debates continue about facts at the root of
the water issues.
"I'm not ready to say we have a problem," he said.
"It's problematic, but it's too early to say."
"If the water situation stays the same way it is, it
will be a tough year," said Jim Lecky, spokesman for
the National Marine Fisheries Service.
"Things aren't looking too good," Mullis said.
the coordination group's meetings, about two dozen
officials from state and federal agencies will meet
to organize efforts and determine where the agencies
should focus their funding.
The group by itself doesn't have any authority to
spend money or form policy, but participants do
through their various agencies, Baggett said. A goal
of the group is to get the different officials
agreeing on facts concerning the water issue, then
they can get into discussion about what to do about
Meanwhile, Bureau and Fisheries Service officials
are waiting for the completion of two studies, both
concerning flows on the Klamath River. Lecky said
the reports should be done in the spring, allowing
the service to begin revising its biological opinion
for protecting coho.
Until then, the existing biological opinion guiding management of coho will remain in place, including its requirement for the Bureau of Reclamation to have a 100,000 acre-foot water bank available to boost flows in the river.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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