Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
A news story and an editorial regarding the signing of the recent Klamath River Watershed Coordination Agreement follow:
Hands across the Basin
By DYLAN DARLING
"Today, we realize the
importance of planning and coordinating to overcome
problems in the Klamath Basin for the long term,"
Interior Secretary Gale Norton said Wednesday. "This
gives us a basis for federal and state cooperation."
The agreement creates the
Klamath River Watershed Coordination Group, which
will be co-chaired by designated representatives
from the two states.
"The people of the Klamath
Basin cherish the land and its natural beauty and
desire to hand their way of life down to future
generations," she said.
n Put a priority on their
Basin activities, working with one another, tribes,
governments, private groups and individuals, to
resolve water problems - recovering endangered and
threatened fishes, improving and protecting habitat
and providing water for irrigation.
n Develop and implement
the Basin Conservation Implementation Plan, a U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation program, which will meld a
scientific oversight group, the interests in the
Basin, and resource agencies, to identify the
Basin's critical water and wildlife problems; then
set priorities and goals in resolving the problems.
He said the agreement
makes it important for stakeholders and other
interests in the Basin to participate in the
implementation plan process if they want to try to
get what they want. But, the agreement doesn't mean
there is an immediate solution.
A spokesman for irrigators
said the agreement sets up a way for the various
interests to work toward a solution.
He said fragmentation has
been an impediment to progress, and the variety of
forums, committees and planning meetings that
interested parties can choose to be a part of, or
not to be a part of, has widened some rifts instead
of bringing the groups closer.
Allen Foreman, chairman of
the Klamath Tribes, called it "a very important
The agreement expands on
the last federal attempt to get agencies to work
together on the Basin water issue. Norton was
appointed chair of the cabinet-level Klamath River
Basin Group by President Bush on March 1, 2002.
"We need more than just an
announcement," he said. "We need to get focused on
addressing the underlying problem." He said that
problem is the overallocation of water - too many
promises and not enough water to go around.
"I hope this is not just
another statement of 'we are coming together' before
the election and then we don't see anything," he
"Now the hard part is, what are they going to do?" he said. "This is a good step in the right direction, but there are many long steps to be taken before we have a change for the better for restoration in the Basin."
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2004, All Rights Reserved