Local tribes’ say critically important dam water releases meant to protect threatened salmon on the Klamath River from deadly parasitic disease outbreaks are being contested by irrigators and water districts in the Klamath Basin as they face drought conditions.
At a meeting in Klamath Falls this afternoon [March 9], the Bureau of Reclamation provided a preliminary hydrology outlook to irrigators in the Klamath Basin. While the late start to the rainy season this year has delayed Reclamation’s ability to get a clear picture for the irrigation season, officials pledged to continue to provide as much information as possible as soon as possible heading into spring.
A group of Klamath Basin water users Wednesday filed a motion in federal court in San Francisco pushing for at least a delay in the court-ordered injunction to keep 50,000 acre feet held in reserve in Upper Klamath Lake. The water is to be used to flush out the Klamath River in the spring to mitigate the impact of disease on coho salmon.
Anglers hoping to catch Chinook salmon this year along the San Francisco Bay and in the Central Valley’s rivers are likely to see curtailed fishing seasons, due to poor fish numbers linked to California’s historic five-year drought.
“State water masters on Thursday were evaluating demands from farmers in a federal irrigation project and from the Klamath Tribes to enforce their senior water rights in drought-stricken Klamath County, the Oregon Water Resources Department said.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation announced today [June 12] that public scoping meetings are scheduled to be held jointly with the Klamath Water and Power Agency to begin preparation of a combined environmental document.
“The Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region announces the selection of Sheryl Franklin as the Area Manager for the Klamath Basin Area Office located in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Franklin is scheduled to begin her new job in mid-May.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation announced today [April 8] the release of the 2014 Operations Plan for the Klamath Project. The plan is based upon expected drier-than-normal hydrologic conditions from the April 1 Natural Resource Conservation Service inflow forecast as well as current reservoir elevations. …
“During the 2014 water year, the Klamath Basin has received 75 percent of average precipitation since October 2013.
“The Klamath Tribes, ranchers, irrigators and the state announced a comprehensive water management agreement Wednesday that will help move forward legislation to resolve water disputes in the Klamath Basin.
“The ‘Proposed Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement’ settlement was announced by Klamath Tribes leaders, irrigators and officials who have been working for more than eight months to develop a pact to balance the needs of upper Basin stakeholders and curtail years of disagreements ov
“A deal to share scarce water between ranchers and the Klamath Tribes has cleared another hurdle on its way toward becoming part of a bill in Congress to overcome a century of fighting over water in the Klamath Basin.
“Parties announced Wednesday they have finished negotiations to overcome last summer’s irrigation shut-off to cattle ranches in the upper Klamath Basin after the Klamath Tribes exercised newly awarded senior water rights to protect fish.”
“The Klamath Tribes, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, and Upper Klamath Basin irrigators announced today [March 5] that they have completed negotiations on the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement.
“A fish species given top protections by the Endangered Species Act for more than 20 years has been proposed for delisting. The Modoc sucker, Catostomus microps, was classified endangered under the ESA in California in 1985. …
“The Oregon chub, found only in the Willamette River Basin, was proposed for delisting earlier this month.
“Commissioners officially declared a state of emergency due to drought in Klamath County on Tuesday. The declaration asks Gov. John Kitzhaber to do the same, saying the ‘appropriate response is beyond the capability of Klamath County.’”