Skip to comments.Let the water flow - Klamath Falls
Posted on 03/29/2002 7:51:58 PM PST by nunya bidness
Let the water flow
By LEE JUILLERAT
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As crowds chanted, Let the water flow, water from Upper Klamath Lake began flowing down the A Canal today, highlighting ceremonies rich with symbolism and significance.
Two of President Bushs Cabinet members, Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, and Sen. Gordon Smith were joined by Klamath Basin farmer Dave Cacka for this mornings ceremonies at the A Canal headgates.
I think today is highly significant. Today is the day we establish balance, said Smith, who predicted that government agencies will eventually announce full allocations to Klamath Basin water users.
We think this is a significant day, said Veneman. This symbolizes not only the presidents commitment to the Basin, but also the desire to meet the needs of all water users.
Conflicting water demands were represented by a large gathering of mostly Yurok and Hoopa tribal members from the Lower Klamath River Basin, who carried signs and banners protesting decisions to release water.
But the day belonged to Klamath Basin water users and others who supported farmers and ranchers during last years crisis, when irrigation water was mostly denied to meet the needs of threatened and endangered suckers and coho salmon.
Pent-up emotions were released as a ceremonial turning of the wheel opening the gates was done by Smith, Norton, Veneman and Cacka. But they flowed as freely as the water when, minutes later, a second gate was opened, allowing water to begin filling the canal.
What began as a lone voice expanded into a thundering cacophony of celebration, as the crowd echoed chants of, Let the water flow, while Veneman, Smith and Norton worked their way along the canal, shaking hands with mostly joyful spectators. Spokesmen for the Klamath Falls Police Department estimated the crowd at about 350 people, far less than expected.
About 65 cubic feet per second will be released to initially charge the system. Over the next 10 days the rate will be increased to prepare the canal to deliver water to irrigation districts by mid- to late-April.
The releases came even as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are working on long-term biological opinions, which will form the basis for long-term Klamath Basin water allocations though 2012.
Veneman, Norton and Smith, while emphasizing the need for balanced water uses, were clearly pleased and optimistic that water will continue to be available to Klamath Basin water users.
A year ago I came here to tell you how sorry I was, said Smith. Im delighted to be here today to tell you how delighted I am that we are righting that wrong.
We understand our decisions need to be based on solid science, said Norton, referring the opinions by the National Academy of Sciences that say water lake levels in Upper Klamath Lake do not appear tied to fish survival.
The president feels very strongly we need to take care of not just the immediate needs, but long-term needs, said Norton. There are way of balancing the interests of jobs and the environment.
Our farmers in this area are the best in the world, said Veneman. We are so pleased to be a part of the process of getting the needed water to the farmers.
Veneman, who arrived in the Klamath Basin on Thursday, toured the region and held a series of meetings. She admitted theres a lot of divergent opinions on what the ultimate solutions will be.
According to Veneman, during face-to-face meetings with President Bush, He was very concerned about what is happening the in the Klamath Basin, and said todays ceremonies, and creation of the Klamath River Basin Working Group, are indicative of his interest.
The working group was instructed by Bush to create short and long-term solutions to problems faced by farmers, ranchers, fisherman, tribes and others along the Klamath River corridor.
Todays water release was done after consultations with the two fisheries services indicated the U.S. Bureau of Reclamations operations will not cause irreparable harm to endangered species in April and May.
Regional Editor Lee Juillerat covers Lake, Siskiyou, Modoc and northern Klamath counties. He can be reached at (541) 885-4421, (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
If they plant and fertilize in April will they lose their crops due to a June cutoff.
I owe it to my children.
It would have been cool to be there.
I'd really like to get back up there and see if I could make a few things happen. I've had some time to let things jell and would like to explore some ideas. Perhaps the California State Grange could help with integrate a plan with its Oregon counterpart? Know anybody up there ff? If they want watershed planning, perhaps we should give it to them.
Correct. I should have been clearer.
Tonk heads up my friend.
BTW do you happen to have a Klamath ping list. I bet redrock and izzaquacken and blackie and AuntB and such would love these photos and to see the articles. I've already showed Yellow Rose of Texas lol
"26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
I wonder if these bureaucrats are the creepy things the Bible refers to? This angers me that they are celebrating standing up for humans like it was a great feat or something.