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Common sense left out of Klamath water plans

Steve Cheyne 12/23/03

Unfortunately Capital Press reporter Mitch Lies made the mistake of applying common sense in his article “A white Christmas is good news for irrigators,” Dec. 16.

In the Klamath Basin our irrigation situation will be the reverse of what logic would indicate should be a beneficial situation for all water users.

The way the current biological opinions are written, the best thing that can happen for irrigation is for the declaration of a drought year, or secondarily a critical low-water year.

The reason is that whoever wrote and approved the biological opinions saw to it that higher flows of water into Klamath Lake translate to even higher flows downstream. Lesser inflows into Klamath Lake give irrigation a higher percentage.

That sounds crazy, or illogical, or you can pick some other adjective, but there it is. For whatever reason the biological opinions and the federal agencies’ inability to balance water between National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seem to be largely ignored. You are probably right on the money for the rest of the region.

Steve Cheyne, Project manager, Tehama County Resource Conservation District, Red Bluff, Calif.




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