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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey wait until August implement your plan. Let those trophy trout swim up the Williamson and Wood Rivers. Then collect the slime creatures and drop them off at the Casino Parking lot. If they are so valuable, they can distribute them.
You are exactly right. While on the watershed council, I tried to get our local irrigators to collaborate with the tribes. Unfortunately, previous litigation by the tribes has created a large amount of anger and distrust in the ag community - they simply do not trust them and feel that they are in bed with the extreme enviros. Personally, I feel that the key is to form a political alliance between the tribes and agriculture. The tribes are better off with the land in ag then in subdivisions, and ag should support the tribes efforts to manage their tribal homelands (they can't do any worse then the feds have). This concept is not acceptable to the generation (baby boomers) currently in power, I do believe that it is possible to impliment by the next generation (us generation X'rs)
See my post above to Carry_Okie. Do you think that this type of political alliance is possible? The bottom line is that ag and the tribes both live and work on the land; the enviros are nothing more then exploitative fear mongers who are practicing divide and conquor politics to advance their agenda and keep the donations rolling in. Without the ability to use the emotional (racial) arguement, the enviros would lose public support for their anti-human agenda.
At least they have a common enemy.
Exactly. At this point, I think ag is waiting to see whether or not California lists the coho salmon. The preliminary biological opinion by Bureau of Reclamation is heavy to command and control (ie flow gauges) of the water. The State Department of Water Resources has bought into this, and the California Department of Fish and Game is eager to set "minumum flow standards". Absent is any real discussion of the effects that increased upland vegetation densities have had on stream flows. Pilot projects developed by the watershed council to study increased water yields after treating the vegetation are not being funded because the agencies don't want to cut any trees. They also do not want to dredge out accumulated debris from the river channels in order to create summer cold water refugia (aka deep swimming holes in the river)
To me, these are things that will work, but are not being implimented due to the 'let nature take it's course' bias that infects the morons running the agencies. If Norton can get some pilot projects like these going ON THE GROUND, then we will see positive change.
After watching that Greenie in the last report I saw William LaJuenesse
do on Fox News, you can bet your biffy they are never going to give up.
I agree with you in one respect: If the RCD or the State funded the work, then ABSOLUTELY it will be used against the farmers. If it is done under the aegis of a private business, funded by private dollars, the situation is different. Remember, you need only to do enough to kick them off the turf. Then go after their cash flow. The rest of this should be discussed in private.
Remember: A lot of these folks have a hidden interest in the existing system. They don't think that they can survive without it. What I am suggesting is akin to a bunch of welfare cases creating a private welfare distribution business and suing the State to dispense the services albeit with independent verification. Another factor against us is that they may think that Simon will bail them out and they therefore prefer to wait and see. Simon will have the same problems with the agencies that Bush does, especially considering the relationships the Greenies have with judges in Federill Court, as we see in Klamath Falls.
I am well, thank you. Hope you are too. Re the new forum software -- I was surprised when I brought up my "notify" screen this morning and it told me I had 1500 new posts since last time I checked.
Have you heard from Minuteman lately? He seems to be among the vanished...
I am cautiously optimistic.
Last time I spoke to him was at the headgates last summer. I was pretty much off-line last August thru February. I am also cautiously optimistic on the recent events. The preliminary biological opinion by the BOR targeted our area for mitigation of the effects of the Klamath Project...not good. It appears that the Feds and the State want to stick streamflow gauges into every stream worth monitoring, so I've been following this pretty close.
Glad to hear your doing well. I was in the thick of things for the last six months, and have recently departed the local watershed council and started my forestry business back up. Lots less stress, and I am back in the woods where I belong.