FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2018
Reclamation Project begins charging the system
Klamath Falls, OR – Yesterday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Basin Area Office announced that water is available to begin charging the Klamath Project canal system. PacifiCorp, has committed 10,500 acre-feet from its hydroelectric project to help get the Project started. This water will not impact river flows required under the 2013 Biological Opinion for coho salmon.
From: Bill Heiney
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2018 9:26 AM
To: Scott White
Subject: Letter of Concern
March 16, 2018
Dear KWUA Board of Directors,
Please distribute among your membership and the general public.
2018 feels like a repeat of 2001. Our current watershed conditions are similar to 2015, but we have no allocation, no start date, and no tools to develop a water bank. I read in today's Herald and News that the Bureau is once again not going to release a start date at their next public meeting. This is unprecedented and unacceptable.
In 2015 we were extremely busy collecting bids and developing programs with water users to augment lake levels and river flows for endangered species. The Programs were a huge success. This allowed the Project irrigators to use water that historically flowed unquantified to their land. We have spent millions of dollars on projects and programs to allow all species to survive, i.e. farmers, fish, waterfowl, businesses and tribes. Now to abandon those projects & programs and circle back around to what looks like a 2001 water shut off, makes me sick.
2001 was a year when I saw many homesteader veterans lose faith in our system. A year when I saw many of my friends and neighbors go broke. A year when I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars myself, and a year when I told my kids (potential 4th generation farmers) that they would never farm. I am extremely sick of the repeat that I see coming.
Farmers and Ranchers of the Klamath Project
Klamath Tribes Actions Will Hurt Basin, Fish Benefits Unlikely- May 24, 2018
Farmers & Ranchers
News Release . . .
United States Congress
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2018
Contact: Sara Hottman (Merkley) – 503-326-3386
Hank Stern (Wyden) – 503-326-7539
Justin Discigil (Walden) – 202-226-7338
Merkley, Wyden, Walden Deliver Resources to Address Klamath Water Crisis
The funding will help with persistent water resource challenges in the region
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, with Representative Greg Walden (R-OR 2), today announced that resources for Klamath-area irrigators and tribes are included in the 2018 spending bill, providing some resources to help communities cope with imminent drought and ongoing water challenges.
“As we look ahead to a difficult summer of drought, I know that the Klamath community is doing the hard work on the ground to build a better future,” Merkley said. “The resources in this bill will help Klamath families through the summer, as well as support long-term planning and habitat restoration . I greatly appreciate the tremendous work Congressman Walden did on the House side to achieve this result. I will continue to do everything I can to assist the Klamath community through these challenging times.”
“I heard a clear commitment at my recent Klamath County town hall and in conversations throughout the Klamath Basin from the tribes, ranchers, farmers, small businesses, fishing families and conservationists to developing water solutions that help everybody,” Wyden said. “A big part of building on that urgent need for common ground in the face of a dire drought forecast is ensuring these short-term and long-term resources are available. This is an important continuation of an ongoing effort to bring certainty to the Basin.”
“This plan will provide immediate drought relief for irrigators in the Klamath Basin, helping our farmers survive this challenging water year,” Walden said. “I have been working with my Oregon colleagues in the Senate, as well as the Trump Administration, to secure this vital funding and ensure it will be available to help with groundwater pumping and other priorities for water users in the Basin. This addition to funding will ensure the Bureau of Reclamation has the ability to implement these measures as they navigate the current water year. While this short-term help is important and needed, we still need a long term solution that provides certainty for farmers, ranchers, tribes and fish in the Basin. I look forward to continue working with the local community, my Oregon colleagues in Congress, and the Administration to accomplish that.”
The 2018 spending bill released yesterday includes a reauthorization of the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act, which is expected to give the Bureau of Reclamation the flexibility this summer to help water users within the Klamath Reclamation Project.
Oregon’s delegation has been working behind the scenes in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to lobby Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Ryan to secure additional funding in the omnibus bill to help the Klamath Basin this summer. In addition, Merkley and Walden have weighed in directly with Bureau of Reclamation leadership and with Speaker Ryan and Leader Schumer to ensure funding reaches the Klamath Basin to cope with drought this summer.
The delegation also successfully preserved $3 million to continue advancing habitat restoration in the Upper Basin. The funding supports U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s fisheries restoration efforts and the Klamath Tribes’ technical capacity for planning for conservation and habitat restoration.
Judge Orrick requested a Supplemental Briefing due as soon as possible, no later than week from when the Request for Supplemental Briefing was made.
From the order: "In evaluating this issue in reference to the 2013 Biological Opinion, it is not clear to me whether the 81 and 91 percent figures were measured consistently with the incidental take triggers (54 percent via histology or 49 percent via QPCR). I request supplemental briefing from the parties on this issue."
While we still have no decision, Judge Orrick is thoughtfully looking at the evidence. Hopefully our irrigators will be able to turn on this season - and soon. You can read both pages of the order below.
For Immediate Release
June 7, 2018
For more information: Scott White
Water Users Say Klamath Tribes Suit is in Wrong Court
Klamath Falls, OR - Klamath Water Users Association has told the federal District Court in San Francisco that the lawsuit filed by the Klamath Tribes seeking higher Upper Klamath Lake levels must be dismissed. In a motion filed on June 6, KWUA and Sunnyside Irrigation District and Ben DuVal, who have intervened, say that the San Francisco Court is not a proper venue under the law. There is a hearing scheduled on the Tribes’ motion for preliminary injunction on July 11, before Judge William Orrick, who was the assigned judge for the cases brought by the Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribe for disease management flows in the Klamath River. KWUA President and Operations Committee Chairman Brad Kirby said that if the preliminary injunction is granted, the Klamath Project will most likely be shut off completely on from this July until the year 2020.
“They want to require Upper Klamath to be held at unprecedented and artificially high elevations for suckers year-around,” said Mr. Kirby. “I wouldn’t expect there to be any water at all available for Klamath Project irrigation and wildlife refuges until there are new biological opinions, which is not expected until 2020.”
The water users’ motion to dismiss will have to be decided before the Court can rule on the preliminary injunction. DuVal, who is also a KWUA board member and Modoc County Farm Bureau President, said the motion to dismiss would not mean the lawsuit has to go away, but that it couldn’t be pursued in the San Francisco Court.
Executive Director Scott White said that a party claiming injury is required to sue in a court in the district where the parties are or where they claim an injury happened, which is primarily Oregon.
“There are laws about where a lawsuit can be filed,” said DuVal. “You can’t just file a lawsuit in New Jersey because that is where you want to go. That’s what our motion says. The Klamath Tribes lawsuit claims that part of the Klamath Project is in the judicial district based in San Francisco, but that’s not correct” according to DuVal.
The water users motion says that a federal court in Oregon or Sacramento would be allowable, but not San Francisco.
May 22, 2018
Operational Decisions Don’t Hold Water
Klamath Falls, OR – Yesterday, the Klamath Irrigation District (KID) was forced to shut down the A Canal following the Bureau of Reclamation’s notice that water was no longer available from Upper Klamath Lake for the month of May. The notice came while Reclamation’s projections as of yesterday show UKL levels will be approximately 3,000 acre-feet above Biological Opinion thresholds. And in fact, with some small changes to Project operations, up to 5,500 acre-feet could be available to water starved irrigators.
“We’re disappointed in Reclamation’s operational decision,” said Tyler Martin, KID Watermaster and Board Member for Klamath Water Users Association. “We’ve been working closely with the Bureau and the month-to-date precipitation suggests we will have sufficient inflows to track with NRCS forecasts currently utilized in the 2013 BiOp.”
The shutoff comes while Reclamation is ramping down the court ordered dilution flows that resulted in 3,000 cubic feet per second in the Klamath River for 13 days, or roughly 50,000 acre-feet.
Dilution flows were triggered by Prevalence of Infection (POI) in the river and implementation of the flows began on May 8th.
“Ironically, POI and spore concentrations dropped prior to implementing the flows,” said Scott White, KWUA Executive Director. “Then POI increased when the dilution flows began. Family farms and ranches have suffered this month for another failed experiment and continued mismanagement of the water.”
KWUA and its member districts plan to continue crunching numbers in an effort to convince the Bureau of Reclamation they must look at all opportunities to manage water for contractors as they have done since 1905 in this Basin.
“I just don’t get it. Since the inception of the Project, the Bureau has worked to deliver water to Project irrigators and refuges. They strived to meet the deeded promise of water in perpetuity. KWUA has been part of conversations and Project plans since 1956. Now more than ever, Klamath Water Users perspective is relevant.” Said Scott Seus, a family farmer from Tulelake.
“Now, new management and a lack of historical perspective have created a change of direction from within the Bureau’s walls and left their patrons and our community high and dry.”
It is uncertain whether any water will be available for the remainder of the month. Day one of the ramp down at Iron Gate Dam was mis-operated resulting in a loss of roughly 500 acre-feet and the Bureau of Reclamation has yet to commit to ramping down Link River to Biological Opinion minimums.
May 1, 2018
COURT DECISION DENIES RELIEF TO COMMUNITY
Klamath Falls, OR – Yesterday, a United States District Court judge for the Northern District of California denied a motion brought by Defendant-Intervenors Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) and member districts for relief from an injunction issued last year. The injunction, a group of pulse and dilution flow requirements ordered in the spring of 2017, can require over 100,000 acre-feet of water to be released to augment flows in the Klamath River that are aimed to help with C. shasta, a disease that impacts listed species. Presently, the injunction is also resulting in delay in the ability to divert any water. These flows were ordered until consultation on a new biological opinion is complete. The current schedule for completion of a new biological opinion is 2020.