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.
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.
With my new spey rod with a big fish, I can turn it sideways when they are up close and do a little roll cast with some of my line in and out of my rod towards the fish.
This gives him slack, and most shake the hook out and go away with being touched by me. My son just shakes his head and leaves me. He has to get a picture of every big trout he catches. After the first 50, they all look alike.
The scary part is that the State Dept. of Water Resources are the ones pushing hardest for this.
Control the flows of water in California, and you control the state, the people, the resources, the businesses and the politics.
The fact that Davis had this board handle his power crisis was very scary to me.
So who are these people, where do they come from, and are they all card carrying Rats and enviralists?
The first guy that came up here was from the Red Bluff office. He told a room full of landowners that the preliminary opinion from Sacramento was that if the coho salmon was listed under the State ESA, then the fish would get the water first, and what was left over would go to the water rights holders. Keep in mind, water rights on both the Shasta and Scott rivers are fully adjudicated by the County Superior Court. He explained that the California Department of Fish and Game would set "minumum flow standards" for the fish, and that the DWR would enforce those standards.
The next guy came up a month later and wanted to put a flow gauge in the river...above the ag diversions. Come to find out, there is already a gauge below the ag lands, thus the bureaucrats could do simple math and say, "well, there's more coming into the valley then going out so the farmers and ranchers must be to blame for the river going dry." Many were opposed to this, and I led the resistance. The problem that the State had was that the enire stretch of river thru the valley is in private ownership. Without a willing landowner, they could not put in the gauge. One day I happened to walk into a meeting between the landowner, the DWR and the USGS. I explained to the landowner the simple math concept, and that this would open the valley up to political manipulation of the data. The landowner began resisting the DWR employee's arguements, to which the regulator stated: "It doesn't matter if you give us permission or not, we will use the County highway bridge site right-of-way if you don't give us permission." This bridge was on the landowner's property, and what the regulator didn't know was that the County only had a right-of-way at the bridge...they did not actually own the land under the bridge. I then told the regulator that what he was doing was essentially extortion. At this point, the Fed (USGS) guy walked out and told me privately that "this is not how the USGS operates, we will back out of the project if the State over-rides landowner objections."
In subsequent meetings, I told the public that the State was in essence threatening people with emminent domain if they did not give in to the State's demands. This prompted several heated calls from the Red Bluff office accusing me of spreading mis-information. I held my ground and stated that government employees have no right to threaten people when they don't get their way. The official stated that "You people better get used to the idea of gauges because they are going in whether you like it or not; Sacramento has determined that this will happen."
To date, the gauges have still not been installed, and the DWR has been warned that there is a high likelyhood of vandalism to the gauges if they are installed over the objections of the landowners.
BTW, the young regulator who threatened the landowner was extremely biased against republicans, accusing the "Reagan administration" of removing the old USGS flow gauges. Fortunately, the USGS guy stated that the gauges were blown out by the 1964 and 1973 floods, not removed by the Reagan administration.
I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Odds are I'll be doing the Bataan skunk march back to my rig.
Then a few days later, I have come back to the same stream, stood by the same rock, used the same flies, made the same casts and had a great day. I sometimes wonder if we produce a pherome that attracts fish or one that repells fish.