Alan Mikkelsen likens the Klamath Basin water negotiations to climbing Mount Everest. “We’ve just left Base Camp and have a long way to go,” the veteran water negotiator for the Department of Interior told the Herald and News in a sit-down interview Wednesday morning.
On a warm September Saturday in 2002, Amy Cordalis stood in a Yurok Tribal Fisheries Department boat on the Klamath River, in response to reports from fishermen that something was amiss on the river. On this stretch of the Yurok Reservation, the river was wide and deep, having wound its way from its headwaters at the Upper Klamath Lake, through arid south-central Oregon to the California coast.
The [Klamath] water users association on Wednesday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of San Francisco, asking that the Klamath Tribes’ case be dismissed in San Francisco’s court, and that the case be heard in federal court located closer to Upper Klamath Lake, where the case originates.
“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.’”