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Let the water flow - Klamath Falls
Herald and News ^ | 3/29/02 | LEE JUILLERAT

Posted on 03/29/2002 7:51:58 PM PST by nunya bidness

‘Let the water flow’

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Opening the A Canal headgates this morning are, from left, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Sen. Gordon Smith and Dave Cacka, a Klamath Basin farmer.
Headgates opened to emotional chant by crowd

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 Bush’s 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 morning’s 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 president’s 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 year’s 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. “I’m 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 “there’s 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 today’s 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.

Today’s water release was done after consultations with the two fisheries services indicated the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s 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

TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events; US: Oregon
KEYWORDS: klamathbasincrisis; klamathlist; otcbb
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
Tonk - was that you at the gates yesterday - beating on the drums and holding up sign of protest???
41 posted on 03/30/2002 6:18:06 AM PST by Archie Bunker on steroids
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To: Archie Bunker on steroids
AB posted:

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.

42 posted on 03/30/2002 7:51:35 AM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: Grampa Dave
Good idea GD. I've got Monday pegged to go see if I can get any of those trophy trout before they head up the Wood & Williamson.
43 posted on 03/30/2002 8:20:50 AM PST by Archie Bunker on steroids
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To: Carry_Okie
The ones to watch are the tribes. I met with the watershed council and the Yuroks do have some people with their heads screwed on correctly (their lead biologist is not among them). Some of them are smart enough to know that if the farmers go, they are next.

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)

44 posted on 03/30/2002 8:25:31 AM PST by forester
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To: nunya bidness
You have done yeomans work on this post Sean. How's life in Floriduh?
45 posted on 03/30/2002 8:27:10 AM PST by forester
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To: hubel458
The media played the race card

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.

46 posted on 03/30/2002 8:34:33 AM PST by forester
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To: MadameAxe
Thanks for the ping, even more important now that they changed the format of the's gonna take awhile for me to figure this out. How have you been?
47 posted on 03/30/2002 8:36:41 AM PST by forester
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To: forester
Unfortunately, the system has every reason to open and perpetuate the wounds between tribes and farmers. I therefore think that we must do what we can to find a few representatives from both sides and get them to break ranks by advocating a new way of dealing with the government.

At least they have a common enemy.

48 posted on 03/30/2002 8:37:15 AM PST by Carry_Okie
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To: Carry_Okie
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.

49 posted on 03/30/2002 8:54:09 AM PST by forester
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To: forester
I think we are better off taking the job from them. Really. The agencies are too corrupt and self-interested to oversee that kind of work. I'm still looking for an attorney with balls and creativity. Zumbrun was too shortsighted to fill that bill. BTW, Norton has a copy of my book.
50 posted on 03/30/2002 9:09:51 AM PST by Carry_Okie
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To: Carry_Okie
Bummer about the attorney. What it boiled down to in regards to the ag folks gathering their own data was the nagging doubt that this data could not be protected from discovery by the agencies or enviros. The possibilty that this data could be used against them effectively prevents the implimentation of your ideas. This is a loose end that needs to be tied the extent that it can be easily explained to regular folks to the point that they feel comfortable with the concept. In our local situation, my explanations did not pass this test.
51 posted on 03/30/2002 9:19:33 AM PST by forester
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To: Carry_Okie
"These bureaucracies have NO INTENTION of letting go of
control of the water.
Let nobody forget that the
reason those headgates are open is because of adequate snow.

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.

52 posted on 03/30/2002 9:22:10 AM PST by Spunky
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To: MadameAxe
A win for the good guys !!
53 posted on 03/30/2002 9:35:28 AM PST by blackie
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To: forester
If they don't work together it going to be a hard row to hoe. The greens do their tricks like the outside protesters yesterday and it gets the farmers mad all over again.They got to help each other,tribes and farmers and get more storage built for the surpluses that go down river in the winter.Get the Indians reservation back with their own businesses set up to make a living from forestry and ag. And both tell the greens to shove it.Ed Hubel.
54 posted on 03/30/2002 9:42:35 AM PST by hubel458
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To: forester
What it boiled down to in regards to the ag folks gathering their own data was the nagging doubt that this data could not be protected from discovery by the agencies or enviros.

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.

55 posted on 03/30/2002 10:22:48 AM PST by Carry_Okie
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To: Archie Bunker on steroids
"Tonk - was that you at the gates yesterday - beating on the drums and holding up sign of protest???"

I would have loved to been there. But I was in Bandon.
56 posted on 03/30/2002 10:52:46 AM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
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To: hubel458
My thoughts exactly.
57 posted on 03/30/2002 5:16:38 PM PST by forester
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To: forester
How have you been?

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...

58 posted on 03/30/2002 7:37:53 PM PST by MadameAxe
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To: blackie
A win for the good guys !!

I am cautiously optimistic.

59 posted on 03/30/2002 7:40:12 PM PST by MadameAxe
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To: MadameAxe; Aunt B
Have you heard from Minuteman lately? He seems to be among the vanished.

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.

60 posted on 03/30/2002 7:56:46 PM PST by forester
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