This fall, the number of chinook salmon making their way from the ocean up the Klamath River in the far northwest corner of California is the lowest on record. That’s devastating news for the Yurok tribe, which has lived along and fished the Klamath for centuries.
After the Obama administration helped broker a deal last year to tear down four dams straddling the California-Oregon border, practically everyone involved figured President Donald Trump would undermine it. They assumed Trump would side with conservative activists and Republican congressmen who thwarted an earlier version of the same agreement in 2015.
“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.’”
From the Eureka Times-Standard, in a commentary by Brian Johnson and Mark Hennelly:
“This December has been great for the Klamath Basin.
“First, the Klamath Tribes and ranchers reached an historic agreement in principle to share water in the upper Klamath River basin. Then, the Klamath Task Force wrapped up its work. Convened by Oregon Sens. Wyden and Merkley, Rep. Walden, and Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber earlier this year, the task force was a tremendous success. To cap it off, Sen.
“California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird released the following statement after the announcement of the completion of work by the Klamath Basin Task Force to clearly define the sharing of precious water resources and lay groundwork for future legislation:
“”I applaud the leadership of Oregon Governor John Kitzhauber and the hard work of the Klamath Basin Task Force to get closer to reaching the goals of the Klamath Basin Agreements.