Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
***Circuit Court of Oregon to Klamath Irrigation District, KID vs OWRD (Oregon Water Resources Department) 12/17/20. "...the Oregon Water Rights Act and this court's order...require the Respondents, and in particular the Watermaster, Danette Watson, to prohibit the distribution of Stored Water unless it is for a legally permissible use by parties with an established right or license to use the Stored Water...Petitioner, having an established interest in the Stored Water in the UKL, certainly has standing to demand that the Watermaster stop the distribution to any person who does not have a right, recognized by OWRD, to take and use the Stored Water."
Instead of complying with the court order, however, OWRD announced they plan to fight the ruling. OWRD is seeking a legal stay to allow them to continue to illegally divert water while their appeal is pending. And now California special interest groups are joining OWRD in the lawsuit."
Letter from Department of Interior Solicitors to Daniel H. Jorjani, Solicitor, regarding Bureau of Reclamations Klamath Basin water management 10/28/2020. "...Reclamation’s discretion on how the Project is operated and whether certain consequences to listed species and their habitat are effects of the Project operations is almost certainly constrained by various contracts with Klamath Project water users..."
President Donald J. Trump is Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Infrastructure, Whitehouse 10/14/2020.
more than 20 years now, the agriculture community have
been the whipping boy for all the problems concerning
the salmon, sucker and algae in the Klamath Lake Basin.
So called “experts” from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,
the tribes above and below the lake, fisheries
personnel, a local MD, biologists and others have told
us how to fix the problem: Fence the riparian area of
all streams, remove 30-40,000 acres of productive farm
ground along the lake, keep water levels high in lake,
remove cattle or keep manure out of lake. All the above
have been done and nothing works. Maybe the decline in
suckers is due to the trophy trout population consuming
the sucker fry or the cormorants and terns and other
fish eating birds are responsible. Cormorants and terns
are major factors with salmon fry in the Columbia River
In addition to expanding reservoir capacity behind dams, the state has an aggressive aquifer recharge effort underway." " ...should leaders in Washington, California and Oregon continue to succumb to the fad of taking out dams and face more water shortages, higher electricity costs and a jumbled transportation system as a result, they need only look to Idaho to see where they went wrong."
***KID / Klamath Irrigation District vs OWRD/Oregon Water Resources Department 7/30/20: "...respondents are ordered to stop releasing Stored Water from the UKL (Upper Klamath Lake) without determining that the release is for a permitted purpose by users with an established right, license, or permit to use the Stored Water in the UKL"
DOI secretary makes rare appearance at Klamath Project Says Trump will “expect results” Western Livestock Journal 7/16/2020. “The Hoopa and Yurok tribes never made a claim to a water right in the Klamath adjudication,” he said. “Under law, if you don’t make a claim, you don’t have a right.” ...a briefing filed by the state of Oregon in 2018 made the same point, stating “the Yurok and Hoopa Tribes have no rights to the waters of Upper Klamath Lake.” “As for the Klamath tribe,” Rietmann (KID attorney) added, “they were effectively granted a 1908 water right, which is junior to the farmers’ 1905 water right and can’t curtail that senior right.”
6/14/2020 - We just received this message from Rex
Cozzalio, from Hornbrook on the Klamath River, after the
flood last week: "Just found out about it (extreme
high water) when the flood occurred. 1780 cubic feet
per second, or the equivalent of the top 10-20%
WETTEST years on record. No idea yet why, other
than assuming the 'triggering' spore count is above 5
spores/liter, though the OSU report site doesn't support
that, so it is likely a 'behind closed doors' special
interest arrangement. The 'flushes' are insane on their
own, ESPECIALLY in a drought year, considering the
already 'confounding' (their words) results from prior
'experiments' (last year REALLY didn't fit their modeled
'profile'). Since Copco and Iron Gate lakes are already
way down from 'borrowed' water to support the prior
waste, I can only imagine where the water is coming
from, beyond possible programmatic UKL sucker fish
reduction of lake level, more from the irrigators, or
tapping possible unexpected input flows. Ironic and
worst part is, their 'collaborators' already acknowledge
that under their (defective) scenario, due to the
studies that prove the environmental benefits the deep
water lakes provide, that once the dams are destroyed,
the required 'pulses' using confiscated 'unnatural'
artificially stored water will INCREASE in
, by Ben DuVal for H&N, posted to KBC 5/26/2020. "The only reason it’s even available (for Klamath River Salmon) is the reservoirs that were built for a single purpose - storing irrigation water for the Klamath farmers. How does a legitimate Biological Opinion include water that naturally would have never even existed?...My farm, like many on the Project, was developed on land that was under 10’ or more of water until that time. Now, we are told that there isn’t even 0.5 acre-foot available for that same acre...(Also) Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) is being held at a higher level than necessary, purportedly to allow sucker populations in UKL to access spawning habitat. Unfortunately, for the past 20 years, agency-imposed higher and higher UKL levels have contributed to a whopping 0% survivability....Does it seem rational to continue to ruin the economic base of the Klamath Basin in order to save zero fish?"
Reclamation) in April will likely drop
to...an unofficial estimate of 55,000 acre
feet left for the remainder of the
irrigation season...For comparison, 350,000
acre feet is a full allocation for the
Project... 'This is a significant reduction
from the 140,000 acre feet we were told in
April,” Souza said in an email on Friday.
“Farmers have planted crops, hired workers,
and have made plans based upon the 140,000
acre feet … and the rug is currently being
pulled out from underneath them.' "
An interim order put in place by Oregon Water Resources Department on April 21 gave the state agency charge over the water distribution and demanded that Reclamation not use water from Upper Klamath Lake, including in a flushing flow down the Link River Dam, unless it follows specific guidelines outlined in the order. The order has not stopped the recent 40,000 acre foot flushing flow... The federal government’s stealing from us.”
Response to massive flows diverted out of Klamath Project irrigation water storage by Klamath River resident Rex Cozzalio, Hornbrook 4/26/2020 "...For them to continue water wasting against court orders is revealingly ironic, when BOR, OWR, and 'collaborators' are all too happy to comply when court orders are AGAINST the Upper Basin irrigators. I truly hope this can intervene soon enough to avert total Upper Basin carnage this year..."
The order urges the Bureau of Reclamation to stop releasing stored water from Upper Klamath Lake..." The court order reads: "The BOR is hereby ordered to cease releasing stored water from UKL reservoir..." They continue to divert our stored water out of Upper Klamath Lake.
The (court) order said it prohibits U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from diverting stored water in Upper Klamath Lake through Link River for purposes of a 50,000 acre-feet flushing flow without a water right." KBC NOTE: Rumor has it that the Bureau is defying the court order and continues to divert our stored water into the ocean.
We fear being able to start and then getting shut down for the rest of the season, like mid-season...”
OWRD/Oregon Water Resource Dept: Interim Order Concerning Release of Stored Water, 4/23/2020. "The Department confirms that as of April 16, 2020, it has taken exclusive charge of the UKL for the purpose of dividing and distributing the water therefrom in accordance with the respective and relative rights of the various users of water from the ditch or reservoir..."
April's EXTREME "pulse flows", 6000cfs, dewatering
Klamath irrigators' stored water 4/23/2020 from rancher Rex Cozzalio, Hornbrook, CA on
the Klamath River. The 3 photos of flooding are
Iron Gate flow wasted over
the spillway, Hornbrook on the Klamath River, and
Klamathon Bridge near Hornbrook.
Reclamation releases Interim Operating Procedures and 2020 Operations Plan for the Klamath Project, Bureau of Reclamation News Release 4/22/2020. "the Project supply from Upper Klamath Lake for the 2020 irrigation season is approximately 140,000 acre-feet. This volume is approximately one-third the historical irrigation demand of the Klamath Project...The 2020 Operations Plan ... provides increased water flows in the Klamath River for Endangered Species Act-listed coho, as well as Chinook salmon, and maintains Upper Klamath Lake elevations important for endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers..." KBC NOTE: Rec concludes "...Finding of No Significant Impact related to the Interim Operating Procedures..." however the plan states that "...involuntary land fallowing of productive irrigable land within the Proposed Action Alternative area would occur leading to an increased risk to local rural agricultural communities.” OUR "risk" of them putting our stored water into the ocean: No water, no farms.
!!! Bureau of Reclamation NEWS RELEASE: Reclamation to implement Klamath River flushing flow for salmon health 4/21/2020. "Increased flows to begin April 22 and continue through May 1; public urged to take safety precautions on or near the river while flows are high...flows below Iron Gate Dam will increase from approximately 1,325 cubic feet per second up to 6,000 cfs. Increased releases out of Upper Klamath Lake will occur simultaneously..." KBC NOTE: The Klamath Project is projected to receive less than 50% of their deeded water this season. With this huge increased taking of Project water, the Bureau of Reclamation's draft Project operation plan, (https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=42926) states: “During the three-year period of the Proposed Action Alternative, the cumulative impacts (to help fish) are likely to be minor, as sucker recovery, coho enhancement, and changes to the biological resources would require a much longer time frame to be implemented and their effects are speculative beyond the period of analysis.” However they operation plan promises, "...involuntary land fallowing of productive irrigable land within the Proposed Action Alternative area would occur leading to an increased risk to local rural agricultural communities.” After the three years they will inform us of their NEW plan after they destroy the Klamath River Hydroelectric Dams and downsize agriculture in the Klamath Project.
PRESS RELEASE - Congressman LaMalfa: Farmers Need Maximum Water Allocations to Ensure Stable Food Supply Chain, April 9, 2020, followed by LaMalfa's full letter to President Trump. "...I ask that you direct the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Commerce to waive any restrictions on granting 100% water allocations to farmers and water districts, along with waiving outdated Endangered Species Act requirements..."
KWUA Announces Projected Klamath Project Irrigation Allocation; Drought Response Agency Expects to Open Programs April 15 4/6/2020. “Bottom line, we’re looking at less than half of the water that’s needed,” said TID Manager Brad Kirby
Agreement Buys Time on New Klamath Project Ops Plan, KWUA 3/30/2020.
"The action is due to a snow water equivalent that has dipped to 65% of normal with a forecast of warm weather on the horizon. A drought declaration is aimed at providing opportunities for farmers to apply for aid to supplement losses..."
Lower Klamath refuge to start getting water, KWUA 9/5/19. “Even in a year with 130 percent of average precipitation, we still did not have a full allocation to the Project,” said Klamath Irrigation District Manager Gene Souza. "The ESA requirements for fish are overwhelmingly the biggest risk to the water needs of the Refuge as well as the Project.”
“Pumping shutdowns by the Oregon Water Resources Department have been a source of controversy in the Upper Klamath Basin in recent years, with the agency facing multiple lawsuits arguing that regulated wells aren’t actually interfering with surface water rights... 'Overall, the rules are still bad for us, bad for the entire state of Oregon,' said Tom Mallams, an area farmer who sat on a “rules advisory committee” about the interim regulations. 'It’s unlikely OWRD will actually abide by a provision stating that the interim rules won’t set a precedent,' he said. 'Water Resources say they won’t or say they will, and they don’t stick to it. The final rules may again increase the number of wells subject to regulation while retaining provisions about the adverse impacts from groundwater pumping, hindering irrigators from challenging shutdowns in court,' said Mallams.'The OWRD likely reduced the distance in the interim rules to avoid court challenges in the meantime,' he said. 'That’s a very appealing carrot to the irrigators, but we know that’s just to put a stop to the litigation against them.' ”
Irrigation season begins for Klamath Project, followed by Reclamation transitions to modified water operation plan, H&N 4/4/19. "Snowpack as of Tuesday afternoon is up to about 129 percent of average for the Klamath Project, with precipitation resting at 98 percent. Nettleton told irrigators late last month they could anticipate a projected 93 percent allocation, pending the release of the official number, which should be released later this week."
Despite 121 percent of median snowpack, 101 percent of median precipitation in the Klamath Basin and a 93 percent water allocation for Klamath Project irrigators, uncertainties for some farmers in the Basin remain...In 2019, I plan on planting some permanent crops,” Paul said during the meeting. “With the new biological opinion, how likely am I going to be able to irrigate those crops in the future years?...If one out of three years we won’t be irrigating, I can’t make that work...2019 might look good, but with this new biological opinion, you have no certainty..."
The OWRD will ask the commission to consider adoption of proposed rules that manage groundwater and surface water in the Upper Klamath Basin."
Suckers thrived in warm water with low lake levels, H&N KBC 11/11/18
CORRECTION: In the article below, Capital Press edited out 1/2 of Mallam's sentence. The sentence should read: "Modeling experts have also examined OWRD's modeling and their analysis actually includes the word 'fraudulent.' " Capital Press left out of the sentence: "...and their analysis actually includes the word 'fraudulent.' "
KLAMATH BASIN: Oregon state agencies out of control, by Tom Mallams for Capital Press 10/13/18. "Their computer model claims wells interfere with surface water, if the well is within one mile of any waterway. This year’s shutoffs include 2 wells for the city of Klamath Falls, all of Bly and all of Chiloquin. Also shut off are many wells used for irrigating crops, watering livestock and some homes that use spring water. Additionally, wells used for major businesses including Jeld-Wen, Running Y Ranch Resort and Harbor Links golf course were issued shutoff notices. Each year, the number of wells being shut off grows...Problem is, OWRD, when pressured, actually admitted that the one mile number could be expanded...you are automatically deemed guilty unless you prove your innocence. Not exactly what the Constitution says. The way OWRD modeling is framed, it is literally impossible to prove your innocence. OWRD even admitted that this is indeed the case...Thousands of Oregon businesses and citizens will be denied their ability to survive in this openly hostile state governmental environment..."
LaMalfa PRESS RELEASE - House Republicans Welcome Executive Action on Western Water. U.S. Congressman Doug LaMalfa, California's First District 10/19/18. "...Communities across California have also been devastated as senseless government regulations have mandated that billions of gallons of water be flushed out to the ocean and wasted..."
"...judge...ruled in favor of the Klamath Irrigation District...by urging the Oregon Water Resources Department to make a determination on the distribution of water in Upper Klamath Lake..."
Klamath County Commissioners float concept of new gauge in Wood River, H&N 8/8/18. "...
Scientific examination would clarify that some wells do impact surface waters while others do not. OWRD seems to suggest that in all cases, at all times, and in all circumstances, groundwater wells impact surface flows...OWRD ought to know with certainty that an individual well is harming a senior water right-holder, before shutting-down specific water resources..."
PRESS RELEASE: Reclamation begins emergency dilution flows early Monday (May 7) in Klamath River; Water releases from Iron Gate Dam will continue through May 21; public urged to take safety precautions 5/7/18. "The emergency dilution flows will utilize approximately 50,000 acre-feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake..."
The State has turned off all of our water including our wells! by Brandan Topham, Sprague River, Newsletter 5/7/18. "Most of the irrigation wells have been drilled since 1950...we have river data for 32 years before the wells were drilled. In those 32 years the average flow is 860cfs. Since 1951 the average flow is 1052cfs. That means since the wells have been drilled there is almost another 200 cfs in the rivers. That does not sound like the wells are drying up the rivers...Every few years they keep changing the rules to shut off more stuff. This year they figured out how to shut off ~140 wells in addition to what they have been shutting off in the past for the Klamath Tribes. Last year they shut off every thing even with river flows well above average..."
A tentative time frame for Klamath Project water delivery of somewhere between June 1 and 15 was announced Tuesday by the Bureau of Reclamation...Part of BOR’s plan going forward, according to officials, is that the agency is considering asking for a total 14,500 acre feet of water from the Horsefly and Langell Valley irrigation districts. That amount, coupled with 10,500 acre feet borrowed from PacifiCorp reservoirs, could help irrigation districts make it through the month. 'They feel like that would cover KID (Klamath Irrigation District) and Tulelake Irrigation District through the month of May...' "
Letter from Ann SeCoy, Beatty, Oregon to Klamath County Commissioners, Oregon State and Federal Representatives & Senators regarding 140 Upper Klamath ag wells shut off, and responses from Senator Linthicum and Rep. Reschke 4/30/18.
Tensions rise at KID (Klamath Irrigation District); Irrigators allege water mismanagement, H&N 4/24/18. "KID members claim PacifiCorp is sending excess water down the Klamath River and that the BOR is not managing their water effectively. “That water is basically getting stolen from us,” Kliewer said. “The Project has the superior water right in the Basin. PacifiCorp has a junior water right to us, and right now, and the way PacifiCorp has operated, basically whatever way they want, they just take it … We are a big body of water that’s really easy to steal.” "(Klamath Project irrigators are awaiting a) ruling from Judge William H. Orrick regarding water delivery for the Project."
3 Open houses for OWRD plans to shut off off project
The local irrigation districts claim that the prevalence of infection of fish are “misleading” and have asked that the court stay the injunction. The delay is holding up much needed spring water for irrigators in the Basin, as water supply canals low and inactive..."
'A lot on the line' in water hearing. Irrigators wait on Klamath River court decision, H&N 4/12/18 KBC NOTE/short update: Presently the Bureau of Reclamation will not allow Klamath irrigators to even put water in the ditches to prepare for spring irrigation until they get direction from District Judge William Orrick. We can not plan to borrow money to plant fields, or not to plant. Will we keep or lose contracts from buyers who purchase grain, onions, potatoes, mint... , keep or lose fields, keep or lose those renting our fields. One judge can determine the fate of our entire farm community, when or if he will allow us to irrigate, thus farm, this year. Will our perennial crops that took years and tens of thousands of $ to establish, live or die? Our stored irrigation water is being sent down the Klamath River, with not a drop on our farms.
...OWRD has control over whether it follows the law or not in regulating water users in the Klamath Basin. And irrigators in the Upper Klamath Basin are tired of the agency not carrying out its regulatory responsibilities..."
PRESS RELEASE - Reclamation to increase water releases to Klamath River today to address fish health concerns. Increased flows to begin this afternoon and continue through Monday; Public urged to take safety precautions on or near the river while flows are high, BOR 4/6/18
Klamath Tribe complaints regarding ranchers being allowed drinking water and water for livestock.
4/2/18. Watering crops and pasture on Upper Klamath private land is presently forbidden by Klamath Tribes.
Ranchers in the Upper Basin of Klamath County — and the town of Chiloquin — received an emergency exemption from the call on water Friday allowing them to use water for their stock cattle and for human consumption...The Klamath Tribes has the first rights to the water, which it uses to protect endangered short-nosed sucker and Lost River sucker."
Irrigators gather in Reno to address the drought H&N 2/23/18. "Standing up among the some 200 irrigators and ag people, Hammerich said he believes water storage in the Klamath Basin is a “good deal.” But he wanted to know how storage benefits the Klamath Basin when it butts up against the Endangered Species Act and fish protection." The water just goes downstream, so what are we gaining?” Hammerich asked."
Please keep in mind we have lake levels from a biological opinion that need to be met,” White added. “We have an injunction that’s been placed upon us where more water is required to go downstream as a result of litigation brought by downstream tribes last year.”...“Once the governor issues the drought declaration, then it’s after that time that people can come to the watermaster’s office here and apply for drought emergency permits,” said Kyle Gorman, of OWRD. Permits allow irrigators to use water where the primary source is unavailable, Gorman said, due to drought conditions..."
KWUA appeals to Tribes: Let's talk. OWRD, KWUA to talk 2018 irrigation, H&N 2/18/18. “They’ve felt meaningful, they’ve felt sincere,” White said Friday morning, of previous talks with Tribes representatives. “But then when these notices come out and we don’t get a heads-up that it’s coming out, we don’t have an opportunity to talk to them about it beforehand...It doesn’t feel like the community and the fish are in the best interest of the Tribes,” White said, "… and I hate feeling that way but that’s what it feels like. It feels like there’s something bigger than just the fish going on here."
Klamath Project 2018 Contractors Meeting with KWUA, OWRD, Klamath County Feb 20, 2018, to "bring contractors of the Klamath Reclamation Project current information about the 2018 irrigation season...current hydrology, possible options available, and the process for taking advantage of those options is important information for district and on-farm operations..."
Water Claims & Confrontations: (Klamath) irrigators say state shows lack of support, H&N 2/8/18. "...Though 2017 saw so much water in the Basin that multiple areas were flooded, the state still validated a claim on water initiated by the Klamath Tribes...Some irrigators claim that the Tribes have been making blanket calls on water without justification..."
Reclamation cancels water surges on Klamath River, H&N 6/1/17.
Fish over farms — again? We have get back to the table, On April 13, the Klamath Tribes, who have senior instream rights, notified OWRD of a call on the Wood, Sprague and Williamson Rivers and tributaries, including Upper Klamath Marsh...Riparian areas are thriving and current flows are off the charts, making any talk of drought or shortage simply ridiculous... If the tribes call water during one of the highest water years on record, one can safely wonder if their goal is fishing, hunting or other heritage practices?..."
Tribal chairman defends water call, H&N 4/30/17. "Ranchers in the upper basin have criticized the call, claiming they will have a short window to irrigate and water their cattle this spring, and they have no water available the rest of the summer. Some believe this call could put them out of business....“We're just asking for justice,” Gentry said. “We're just trying to hang onto what has been reserved by treaty despite what has happened to us..."
KBC NOTE: The Klamath Tribal members voted to terminate their tribe. $220,647,000 was paid to the Klamath Tribes. Regarding their votes, "There were return receipts signed by each and every member of the Klamath tribe(Unconquered, Uncontrolled, by Carrol Howe). "One Klamath Indian, Edison Chiloquin...refused to accept the payment and demanded land instead..."
Regulation headed for Wood River, H&N 4/28/17. “Everybody above the Lower Williamson system, all the way up to Sprague and Sycan and on up into the Williamson itself are effectively regulated..." "snowpack ...ranges anywhere from 130 to 146 percent (in some areas) of average for the water year..."
OWRD responds to Tribes' call on (Klamath) water, H&N, 4/28/17. "I’m very disappointed that this call has been initiated by the Klamath Tribes and validated by the Oregon Water Resources Department at a time when our rivers are literally running over their banks,” (State Rep. E. Werner) Reschke said in a statement. “This decision negatively impacts farmers and ranchers up and down the basin and defies conventional logic. Oregonians lose when we allow one group to exercise exorbitant control over the rights of others..."
Water call should send message Basin needs a real answer, Area needs congressional help for a long-term plan, H&N View, 4/23/17. "...The local community should accept the fact that an overall settlement isn’t going to happen without a land settlement with the Tribes. Yes, land for water. Accept it and move on..." KBC ANALYSIS: H&N got it right...it's not about fish, it's "land for water". Tribes sold reservation. Tribes will call on irrigation water (like happening in this flood year) until they can get their land given back to them again, and the Klamath hydroelectric dams destroyed. Some call it 'blackmail.'
Tribes Issue Water Claim, Ranchers Fear the Worst, H&N,4/23/17. "In April 2014, ranchers and the Tribes signed the Upper Basin Comprehensive Agreement. The ranchers agreed to retire 18,000 acres of land or 30,000 acre feet of water and do riparian repair work on the rivers in exchange for an allotment of water each year…At the end of February, the Tribes indicated to the ranchers they wanted to terminate the agreement..."
Installation of measuring devices on streams can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Daily maintenance can add up to thousands of dollars in additional labor costs. The annual reporting, and more often if the Oregon Water Resources Department requests, of 'water amount, rate, and duty' will add thousands of more dollars, annually, in time and additional out-of-pocket expense. 'The inclusion of a $500 civil penalty for each day of violation of the act...' "
Top-notch Deception by Oregon State Senator Dennis Linthicum - District 28, News Ticker Opinion, Wallowa Valley Online 3/21/17. Linthicum represents Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Deschutes and Crook counties. "If a Democrat House member gets his way, the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) will load stiff economic, land and water management problems right into the lap of Oregon’s farmers, ranchers, cattle and dairymen..."
Water decisions are not making any sense, by former Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams H&N, 2/17/17. "The irony of this is so obvious. The rivers are at flood stage or very near it, and OWRD finally lifts the tribal call on the water...This applies to all uses on the listed water right, including stock water, and domestic...surface water, (rivers, creeks and springs), and ground water, (wells). Most all of the rights list irrigation as a listed use." "...A single judge and our federal government send extra water down the Klamath River for fish in the middle of a flood. You would certainly think a flood event would contain enough water for any fish needs, including flush or pulse flows. It is absolutely necessary that logic and true science drive the decisions critical to the survival of our local economies..."
Judge mandates more irrigation water down Klamath River during flood, Liz Writes Life, Siskiyou Daily News, posted 2/20/17
Klamath River floods as Jerry Brown set to tear down dams, Breitbart, posted to KBC 2/18/17. "The un-noticed Klamath River, even with its dam system still in place, is expected to flood and potentially cause serious damage to the North Coast when the rains hit. If four of the seven dams were already torn down, the flood and destruction from the Klamath River would likely have been be epic."
Pulse flow curbed in wake of downstream concerns, H&N, posted to KBC 2/18/17. KBC note: Tribes and environmental groups sought court order to take 100,000 acre feet of water from Klamath Irrigator storage to wash a parasite out of the river on an already high water year. Tribes saw their homes might get wet. "In the Happy Camp area, where river water levels were reaching the highway, residents were getting nervous...Due to the danger looming downstream and terribly high water levels just from the run-off from the river and side hills, we decided to scale back."
Reclamation pulls back on water releases, H&N 2/11/17.
Bureau to release Klamath water pulse Friday, H&N 2/10/17.
PRESS RELEASE: 2/9/17 - Statement From Representative Werner Reschke On Federal Court Decision Related To Klamath River.
PRESS RELEASE: Reclamation to Release Water Below Iron Gate Dam to Address Fish Health Concerns in Klamath River, Bureau of Reclamation 2/9/17
! Water call made on the Williamson, H&N 11/23/16. "Water users in the upper Klamath Basin have received shutoff notices for surface water use after the Klamath Tribes called on their water rights earlier this month....Water users along the Williamson and its tributaries, as well as the Klamath Marsh, received notices directing them to cease stock and domestic use of surface water until February...this should only affect those diverting water from streams and rivers and said wells, which depend on ground water, are not affected."
Feds asking public to weigh in on breaching Snake River
dams, found on This
West is Our West from Spokesman Review, posted
to KBC 9/30/16.
Upper Klamath Basin Nonpoint Source Pollution Assessment
and Management Program Plan; Klamath Tribal Water
Quality Consortium, Aug 16, 2016, Comments WERE due
Sept 18, 2016. Who knew about this plan to eradicate
agriculture and all the dams in the Klamath River Basin?
received and posted to KBC 9/20/16. KBC NOTE:
Participants are 6 tribes (including
federal and state agencies,
Trout Unlimited, The Nature
Rangeland Trust, California Coastal Conservancy,
State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and
dozens more; most of the agencies, tribes and
environmental groups are "stakeholders" in the
Klamath Basin dam-removal
agreements. "Given the large volumes of
water in the Klamath Basin, very large wetlands (on the
order of thousands of acres or tens of thousands of
acres) would be necessary to have basin-scale effect...",
they want to get rid of "... water rights, water
availability, and landowner willingness issues...", "
TNC recently acquired approximately 4,000 acres adjacent
to Agency Lake Ranch and Barnes Ranch which it is in the
process of restoring back to wetlands",
by the way, evaporates nearly 2ce the amount of water
used by irrigated agriculture, "The Upper Klamath
Basin Comprehensive Agreement...calls for inflows to
Upper Klamath Lake to be increased by 30,000 acre-feet
per year to be achieved by reducing the net consumptive
use of water for irrigated agriculture," Roads that are
no longer necessary would be considered for ...
removal,"..."The Consortium supports reduced irrigation
and improved grazing management as a method to reduce
irrigation demand," "Once plans are developed for how to
remove the dams and appropriate permits are obtained,
the dams should be removed. The KHSA targets 2020 as the
year in which dam removal would occur."
***Dozens of Sprague River wells shut down by Klamath Tribal call on irrigation water, Senator Doug Whitsett 7/28/16.
Hoopa Tribe Sues Federal Government over Inadequate Protections for Juvenile Salmon, Hoopa Valley Tribe PRESS RELEASE, 5/17/16
Full water supply expected, H&N 4/9/16
Klamath Water Users Association has named Scott White (the current watermaster) as its new executive director, H&N 1/20/16. “I think what’s important right now is unity...”
Irrigators wrangle over Klamath Water Users membership, H&N 1/15/16. "The 2016 KID annual budget states the cost for KID irrigators is $238,168...'I can’t say I’m against the Water Users, but I can say that I’m not for them, in the fact that they don’t include all of Klamath County. Every adjudicated, irrigated acre in Klamath County should be included,' said Oxley. 'If it’s not good for everybody, it’s not good.' Horsely agreed that Water Users should be open to more of the county’s farmers."
KBC News notes on last Friday's meeting of Klamath Project irrigation districts to find water solutions in the aftermath of the failed controversial KBRA / Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, and the resignation of Klamath Water User's executive director, posted to KBC 1/12/16"Tracy Liskey said we will have the same problems again if we leave out the off project irrigators; we need a basin solution. He said 90% of the problem with the KBRA was that all the meetings were in closed door executive sessions and people didn't know what was going on. 'If we don't address issues tearing us apart, we can't bring this together.' Luther Horsely, KWUA past president of the board, said they couldn't talk about the settlement because they were gagged. Brent Cheyne brought a list of solutions he said were necessary." KBC Photo above is of TID/Tulelake Irrigation District Manager Brad Kirby, right, escorting a tribal member out of the building when he loudly interrupted this meeting of irrigation district boards.
Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement Terminated on 12/31/15. "The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA) are still in effect, they did not terminate with the KBRA, but they also require federal authorization legislation and their implementation is interdependent with the now-terminated KBRA," by Ed Sheets, Klamath agreements facilitator.
Water district board members meet Friday, H&N 1/6/16. Friday at 1 pm in Merrill, Klamath Basin irrigators meet to find solutions, "to bring community back together." "Under the (controversial KBRA) agreement, Klamath Project irrigators were slated to receive a substantial block of irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake each year if certain instream flows were met in the lake’s tributaries..."
Water district board members meet Friday, H&N 1/6/16. Friday at 1 pm in Merrill, Klamath Basin irrigators meet to find solutions, "to bring community back together." "Under the (controversial KBRA) agreement, Klamath Project irrigators were slated to receive a substantial block of irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake each year if certain instream flows were met in the lake’s tributaries..."
Reclamation Releases Scoping Report on Long-Term
Plan for Protecting Late Summer Adult Salmon in
the Lower Klamath River, BOR Press Release,
posted to KBC 12/15/15.
Irrigation district reverses course, re-joins Klamath Water Users Association, H&N, 11/25/15. "Board member Grant Knoll, who represents KID’s Zone 3, said he voted to dissolve the district’s relationship with Water Users because his constituents do not agree with the policies Water Users stands for..." 'I’ve polled them, and they want to pull out,' Knoll said."
KID / Klamath Irrigation District leaves (Klamath) water users group, H&N posted to KBC 11/18/15. "Board member Brent Cheyne said KID irrigators pay Water Users about $238,000 per year...“It seems to me that some of the political goals of the Water Users contradicts what we are trying to do,” Bair said...."the money being paid to Water Users should instead be dedicated to paying for the multi-million dollar C Canal flume replacement. The flume delivers irrigation water to roughly 22,000 cropland acres in the Klamath Project."
History of water in the Klamath Basin, by Oregon Rep Gail Whitsett 7/26/15.
More water for Project irrigators, H&N 7/24/15. "...on July 19, Upper Klamath Lake was 62 percent full, with a volume of 317,395 acre-feet. Last year on July 19, the lake was only 45 percent full..."
"40 wells Oregon Water Resources Dept. plans to shut off this year. (So far)" This was sent to KBC 7/14/15. These are Upper Klamath Basin Wells.
Bureau makes call for water, shutoffs anticipated, H&N 6/17/15
Senator Whitsett's help to Klamath Basin irrigators Senate Bill 206-A
In Central California
Calif. salmon get truck rides and more during
Fish taxi service
in place to make sure young salmon survive the
trip to the ocean,
NEWS RELEASE -
Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental
Documents for Proposed Excess Capacity Contracts
for Conveyance of Non-Klamath Project Water
Irrigators asked to scale back usage. Shutoffs could start on June 1 if water draws continue, H&N, posted to KBC 5/7/15
State adopts drought rule; drinking, stock water given preference by commission, H&N posted to KBC 9/28/14.
County, state tussle over water regulations;
works director to sit on water advisory,
H&N, posted to KBC 9/20/14.
Klamath salmon in danger; additional flows intended to prevent fish die-off, H&N, posted to KBC 9/21/14. "The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) began releasing additional flows from Trinity Reservoir via the Lewiston Dam Tuesday....We must, however, take all reasonable measures to prevent a recurrence of the fish losses experienced in 2002" KBC NOTE: Water was shut off to Klamath Basin family farms the summer of 2001. After irrigation was restored to irrigators in later, tribes, U.S. Dept of Fish and Game, and environmental groups focused on obliterating farming in the Klamath Basin, blamed Klamath Farmers for fish dying in 2002, 170 miles downstream. Fish Scientist David Vogel (see #'s 19, 22, 23 and 29) explained why sending high flows of warm water from Iron Gate dam was lethal for salmon in the already warm river. According to a Scientist conference in Klamath Falls in 2004, effects of the 2002, 500,000-acre Biscuit Fire smoke were never studied in relation to fish dying that fall. Neither were considered effects of drainoff from drug labs on the Klamath River.
Additional water releases for Klamath River, H&N 8/23/14
KLAMATH COUNTY - New drought water ruling proposed by officials, H&N 8/16/14. "The public comment period ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 19...A new rule that would allow water for human consumption and stock watering during drought in Klamath County has been proposed by the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD)."
Agency reconsidering water for Klamath salmon, H&N 8/16/14. "Tribal members were going to Sacramento on Tuesday to hold a vigil outside Bureau offices, she said. Since the 1960s, some water from the Trinity has been pumped over the mountains to the Central Valley of California for irrigation. Sierztutowski said some of those irrigation districts have been denied water this year due to the drought."
BOR, PacifiCorp reach agreement on reservoir releases H&N, posted to KBC 8/16/14. "According to KWAPA Executive Director Hollie Cannon, the combination of consecutive drought years and new rules in place to protect endangered fish in the Klamath watershed means irrigators are given less surface water, forcing them to turn to groundwater..."
Oregon's expansion of regulations of surface and groundwater use, by Senator Doug Whitsett 8/13/14. "What the Department is not making clear to the public is that their proposed permanent rules make substantial and critical changes to the existing emergency rule. The rule being proposed extends the Department’s authority beyond its regulation of surface-water, to include the regulation of groundwater under the preferential use of water for human and stock-water during drought. This rule appears to be another attempt by the Department to use its rule making powers to extend its authority to regulate surface water under the Klamath River Adjudication, to include the regulation of groundwater."
BOR reduces Iron Gate Dam flows, H&N 7/3/14
On April 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly released a new proposed rule – Definition of Waters of the U.S. Under the Clean Water Act – that would amend the definition of “waters of the U.S.” and expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction. The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register, is open for public comment for 90 days, until July 21, 2014.
Why Willamette Valley farmers should watch Klamath Falls' water rights fight, Statesman Journal, posted to KBC 5/10/14. "The agency identified 130 wells (including Mallams) that could interfere with surface water sources, meaning he and other farmers could lose both sources of water this summer. 'You virtually cannot prove there isn’t interference because of the way they did the modeling,' Mallams said. 'I am considered guilty unless I prove myself innocent and I cannot prove myself innocent.' For Whitsett, that means the OWRD can do the same thing to any watershed in Oregon."
Zero acre-feet of water; East Side Klamath Project irrigators to see little or no water; idling funds also are in short supply, H&N 4/15/14. "Moxley said the newly designed pivots can reduce his irrigation water use up to 50 percent. But last week, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) announced that irrigators, who rely on water supplies from Clear Lake Reservoir, will get zero acre-feet for the 2014 irrigation season." KBC NOTE: When Klamath Reclamation Project was built, Clear Lake was a meadow. Suckers do not live in meadows. To create farmland, water was stored in Clear Lake (meadow) to so it could be used for irrigation if needed. The U.S. government made it into a bird refuge and decided to create habitat for suckers who historically did not live in this meadow, mandating lake levels and denying access in most of that area to the public.
Klamath 2014 Emergency-Use Drought Permits Denied, posted to KBC 4/7/14
Klamath Basin water outlook, recent rains just a drop in the bucket, H&N, posted to KBC 2/19/14.
Brandan Topham February Newsletter - OWRD to shut off surface and ground water to Upper Klamath ranches and farms, posted to KBC 2/23/14. "The State recently told us that they are going to shut off all of the surface water above Klamath Lake again this year....(OWRD) has decided that it will also shut off most of the wells above Klamath Lake."
Water Interference Bill, legislative update by Oregon Rep Gail Whitsett, posted to KBC 2/21/14. "....Over 130 Klamath Basin farmers and ranchers have been threatened by the OWRD to have their irrigation ground water wells shut down as soon as April 2014. This is in addition to the same ranches having all of their surface water called on, and shut off, by the Klamath Tribes (as the newly adjudicated senior water right holder) and the OWRD in 2013. The adjudication provides absolutely no direct statutory control over ground water, but the OWRD is trying to tie the two water sources (ground and surface) together in an attempt to gain control over all of the ranch and farm lands (through their water) in certain areas of the Basin, without going through the process of defining a “Critical Groundwater Area”. OWRD does not want to go through this process as there really is not a shortage of ground water in this region..."
Governor plans $687 million for California drought, Capital Press 2/20/14
Draft of (Oregon) state water plan posted, Capital Press 6/26/12
Well, it looks like the Karuk Tribe and Klamath River Keepers are at it again, PieNPolitics 6/5/12. "Late last week while the areas food producers were preparing for the 2012-farming season, the Karuk Tribe, in coordination with the Klamath River Keepers, went public with an extremely biased and highly controversial groundwater model of the Scott River aquifer."
Plan in place to ease moderate drought, basin irrigation officials say idling will save 10,000 acre-feet of water this summer, H&N 5/31/12. "The first land idling period begins June 15 and the deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 5."
Oregon Integrated Water Resources Strategy, by Oregon Senator Doug Whitsett 5/31/12. "...IWRS advisory committee... appear to have placed little emphasis on the development of additional storage for current and expanded agricultural use. Implementation of those public policies can only serve to diminish the supply of water available for irrigation."
Latest water level drop at Copco, by Robert Davis, 5/14/12. "NMFS requested a higher than normal water flow out of Irongate, above 3000 cfs. Flows provided from Klamath Lake were about 2750 cfs. ...The shortage was made up from Copco Lake resulting in a drop in lake level of about 7 feet...It is evident there was no monitoring of the process to assure any request for change would not cause damage or hardship for the other sections of the project."
The Big Picture part 2, by Siskiyou
County Supervisor Marcia Armstrong, posted
to KBC 5/14/11. Armstrong documents how the
UN and ICNU, with designated roadless areas
and wilderness areas, were formed to shut
down human use of land and resources in the
Klamath River Basin.
The Big Picture Part I,
Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor,
posted to KBC 5/11/11. "I
was struck by a sentence in the recent
“chinook expert panel” report commissioned
for the dam removal studies. It said:
“Furthermore, the refuges should be managed
for fish and wildlife versus agriculture if
the basin management objective is
rehabilitation of fish species.” Just when
did the citizens of
Managing Klamath River complicated; recent flow change offers an example, H&N editorial, posted to KBC 2/15/11. (KBC NOTE: last year more than 1/2 Klamath irrigators received no irrigation water. This year the federal agencies sent approximately 20,000 acre feet of water into the ocean.) "Greg Addington, executive director for the Klamath Basin Water Users Association, which represents water users on the five irrigation districts on the 240,000-acre federal project, said the lake’s 'in good shape now. That’s a lot of water (going downriver), but I don’t feel like the lake is in jeopardy of not filling because of it.' ”
River flows to increase for fish, H&N, posted to KBC 2/10/11. "Flows will be three times their current cubic feet per second rate, going from 1,600 cfs to 5,000 cfs for six hours, and then decreasing to 1,300 cfs."
Reclamation Announces Flows from Iron Gate Dam to Increase on Wednesday, February 9, BOR 2/7/11. " 'I am confident that we will have the lake as full as possible for this time of the year, and we are on track to fill the lake on or before April 1, 2011,' stated Phillips."
PRESS RELEASE: Reclamation Announces Start Date for Klamath Project Water Deliveries, Bureau of Reclamation, posted to KBC 4/5/09
CA New Water Governance Paradigm;
information, sent by Siskiyou County
Supervisor Marcia Armstrong 7/21/08
Rationing signals grim times for water out West, by Dan Keppen, Executive Director of Family Farm Alliance, 2/29/08, H&N. "...government regulations and court-ordered directives favoring fish over farmers will put the screws to San Joaquin communities this summer. Because farmland within Westlands Water District — ground zero in the current crisis — accounts for 20 percent of the $5 billion agricultural production of Fresno County (the nation’s No. 1 farm county), the potential economic impacts will dwarf the 2001 Klamath crisis."
Central Valley farmers adjusting to drought, CVBT 6/24/08
Columbia River: Salmon win in this dam legal battle, Capital Press editorial 4/25/08. "It's a fact that some environmental groups won't be happy until every dam is removed from every salmon stream and river in the West. Whether that's practical is, for them, not a concern. They simply don't seem to be willing to accept any alternatives. For them, it's an all-or-nothing proposition."
Water obligations will be met, Reclamation expects to make full deliveries to irrigators, H&N posted to KBC 4/14/07
PRESS RELEASE Reclamation : Klamath Project 2007 Operations Plan Released; Supplies Expected to Meet all Responsibilities, 4/9/07. "Reclamation has developed access to supplemental water of up to 100,000 acre-feet, if it is required, to meet Project needs...the WSES water comprises off-stream storage, land idling, and ground-water pumping."
Growth threatens water, H&N 3/1/07. "Addington said irrigators are frustrated that the matrix gives them less water in average-water years than in low-water years."
Recommendation for Big
Look Task Force;
Water, Paper or Planning?
by Tamra Mabbott, Umatilla County Planning Director,October,
Project aims to mend lake shore, H&N, posted to KBC 7/3/06 "Mark Buettner, a fisheries biologist for FWS, acknowledged the lake level does not currently meet the biological opinion's requirement. But he said the agency has OK'd the temporary discrepancy, which was due to circumstances beyond Reclamation's control. Analyses by Reclamation and FWS conclude the current level will provide adequate sucker habitat this year."
Interior and Yurok Tribe announce agreement to improve management of Klamath River Basin, posted to KBC 6/29/06.
Common sense left out of Klamath water plans, Capital Press Steve Cheyne posted to KBC 12/25/05
Bureau Commissioner John Keyes 'On Point', July 19, 2005, transcript.
Reclamation Managing Water in the West articles for 6/24/05
Wrangling Water, International water experts and officials gather in Boise to discuss rising demands and decreasing supplies, Headwaters News 6/22/05 (Family Farm Alliance Dan Keppen and BOR Commissioner John Keyes were amongst the panelists.)
Water-use measurement bill clears Senate, Capital Press 6/13/05.(In California in certain regions, this type bill led to landowners being charged over $100/acre foot for their own groundwater. KBC)
Whitsett has good reason to be wary, Herald and News editorial 6/8/05. "Rural Oregon should be afraid of such things because they put weapons in the hands of urban residents who have little knowledge about such things as agriculture and responsible use of resources."
Rural Oregonians fear bill SB731 is threat to their water rights, Seattle Times 5/30/05. (BEWARE: there are places in California that private property owners must pay over $100 per acre foot for their own water. This will erode your property right to your water. KBC)
Alliance: ‘Mining’ ag water becoming default water policy for urban growth, Wyoming Livestock Roundup 5/7/05 "Quotes from Family Farm Alliance president Pat O’Toole and Chairman of the Board, Bill Kennedy on the importance of enhancing Western water supplies."
Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA unveils water action plan for California, "No Time to Waste: A Blueprint for California Water" pdf file. HERE for summary.
2 H&N articles on the Klamath Conservation Implementation Plan, 10/25/04, 'Focus sought for water program', and 'Bureau takes new program for test drive.'
Klamath Water Users Association weekly update October 14,
2004. Go to
Klamath Water Users Association update 101404 for update:
local, regional and national news articles regarding yesterday's
announcement of the historic Klamath River Watershed Coordination
Hands across the Basin, H&N 10/14/04
Interior Secretary Gale Norton Announces Klamath
Watershed Coordination Agreement, Office of the
Cal-Fed Authorization, NCWA-Northern California Water Association pdf., October 8, 2004.
Klamath Basin Water Management, by Dr Doug Whitsett, AgLifeNW Magazine 7/19/04.
Officials push for water regulation, The Idaho Statesman, posted 7/22/03 regarding Water 2025. "John Keys, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, the agency which supplies water to more than 30 million people in 17 Western states, said Idaho´s water bank is one of the innovative ways states can shift water from one use to another to meet new demands. A water bank is a brokerage service that allows farmers and others to lease their surplus water to others."The water market needs to be regulated, said former U.S. Sen. James McClure, so rich outside interests cannot overwhelm the social and economic structure of a community. “There is no question Idaho could look like Owens Valley if we allowed California to buy our water,” McClure said."
Water 2025: The Coming War on the Western Frontier, 7/11/03, The Sierra Times."On April 6, 2001, flawed science forced the federal shut off of over 100,000 acre-feet daily irrigation water to over 1400 farms in the Upper Klamath Basin south of Klamath Falls, Oregon ' to save the sucker fish and coho salmon'".
Water 2005 conference spawns feud with Yuroks, H&N July 11, 2003 AP.H&N July 11, 2003 AP. "But (Yurok tribe chairperson Susan) Masten said she's skeptical, and her tribe, with 90 percent poverty and 70 percent unemployment, is dependent on the river for its livelihood." While accusing Klamath Project of ruining the livelihood of her tribe, she forgets to mention that last year's run of fish was the 3rd highest run, there were so many fish the take limit was raised, the price was lowered, and they had trouble selling them. KBC
State Rips Norton on Water, July 10, 2003, The Sacramento Bee."We have grown to expect this sort of partisan whining from Mary, and that is the way it is," said (assistant Interior Secretary Bennett) Raley, a water lawyer from Colorado. "I find it humorous that, in her zeal to make this a partisan issue, Mary is blaming the Bush administration that the California delegation doesn't have a consensus." (State Resources Secretary Mary Nichols is the woman who blamed the Klamath Project for the dead Trinity-river fish 200 miles from Klamath Project which contributes 2% of the watershed. This was before the water was tested, before any scientific studies were done, and before they even knew that these were not Klamath River fish. KBC)
Norton's surprising stance, by Stuart Leavenworth --The Sacramento Bee, July 7, 2003 "Called Water 2025, Norton's water blueprint takes a few pages out of the environmentalist playbook: "It calls for more conservation of supplies, more banking of groundwater and more water trading between farms and cities, instead of new dams."
Water, growing demand, dwindling supply, by Shaun McKinnon, The Arizona Republic July 6, 2003
DOI Press Release June 4, 2003--Water 2025
Western water initiative aims to douse disputes, by Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY.
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