"Salmongate" Water and Irrigation California style
Most of us out west have heard about the recent fish kills in California on the Klamath river, but today I learned a bit more than I can stomach!
It was speculated that the dead fish were the victims of low water flows brought on by the "Guvmint" taking the side of the Agri Bussiness folks over the fish in the river in an allocation scheme that was slanted towards water extractions far above what the river flows were capable of.
I have heard it said by several of my associates that farmers could be more efficent at irrigation if they were forced to be. Well the report I got this morning shows there maybe a spark of truth in that line of reasoning. According to a report by the Eureka Times Standard, highways were being flooded from irrigation runoff, and Oregon Department of Transportation officials "had such a problem with water on the roads this summer that they submitted a plea to area farmers to control there irrigation".
The article I am quoting from appears in the Fishermans News November edition. The article goes on to detail the pending lawsuits being levied against the Fed by The various Natve Tribes and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermans Associations and a number of local and national politicians (Democrats)
One of the lead biologist for the NMFS a Michael Kelly has filed for "Whistle Blower status" to protect him from the wrath of his superiors for he is siding with the fish and is going to provide details on how the sordid tale came to pass.
Hope (theres that word again) this all works out sounds like they got rain down there since the fish kill and most of the run was yet to come, but still......
Moonlight, you've just about got the 'facts"
100% correct. The area is high desert so the soil is not that deep, nor does it have a huge water holding capacity. Other thing that doesn't get into the mix is there are two other VERY large water impoundments above Klamath Lake.
"Whomever" is in charge of this water, so our local paper says, refused to release water for the river .... even though (again according to the local news) the impoundments had something like 90,000 acre feet of water sitting in them.
But no .......
They have to protect the non-native sucker fish from extinction; therefore, they can't release the water. And besides, those poor farmers didn't get any water last year so they deserved it this year, right.
Me thinks that politicians decided that the farmers needed to have as much water as they wanted because of all the negative publicity about them not getting water last year from various and sundry news outlets. The said part is that before the impoundments and the irrigation cannals were built with tax dollars, there was no way a farmer could have raised anything in that high desert.
Flytyer, you also have nailed it down.
The supplying of water rights some 90 years ago was the carrot that got the farmers to develop this streatch of desert. Without the water, no way could it happen.
Working quite well for the vast majority of those 90 years ... until... until! ... until!!!! "someone" discovered a non-native "endangered" sucker fish. F.. the farmers, this non-native ugly little bugger is far more important that the livlihoods of the people who lived/farmed in the area for up to 5 generations.
Interesting thing, to my knowledge, not a 'white'single person whose brought the water rights suits lives within 100 miles of Klamath Lake. Not a single one of the enviornmental groups stands to loose a penny (Atty fees aside) when the farmers go under. Not a single one of the 'eg's, et. al. have suggested the farmers be compensated for their financial losses.
And I could go on ....
Now you know why I don't contribute to a single environmental group. Most have long since lost their point, purpose, and direction for being. Groups form, group does what it was formed for ... now group has to invent 'something' to justify its continued existence.
Ever strike you as interesting that there are more atty's, per capita, in the US than ANY other country in the world. Each and everyone of them is looking for "billable hours.
Ahhh U.S. attorneys, I have attorneys reviewing other attornies laws and I still cannot get an opinion I can rely on. They love that lead in "It Depends" and always have lots of caveats in the opinions.
Whats my options, I guess go for a third attorney and hope their opinion matches one of the others than I will have 2 out of 3 in agreement.
And a very large legal bill !:devil:
Let us not forget that without those enviromental groups you would have nada fish to fish for throughout the NW. Why should we care if those enviro groups come from the South Pole and why should we care how many lawyers they have. Those enviro groups are still like small patatos when it comes to what the goverment has in resourses. Ever sit across the table from the goverment in a situation like what you have down in S. Oregon? Goverment 30 lawyers, enviros 2 lawyers, goverment 20 million bucks to fight, enviros 200K. Without getting personal you know the political score on why the irrigation water was running across the road this summer. Many farmers down there were sick that the water was running across the road and being wasted but once again I'm sure you know why the water was running across the road.
Whats more important thousands of native salmon or 90 farmers? Yes we should give the farmer all the money they need to buy a nice big farm somewhere not in a dry land situation. I do not blame the farmer for this problem nor does anyone else that I know of, including the enviro groups. The poor farmer is a pawn in a much bigger war. Bush needs to buy them out and fast just as Clinton should have. But it will not happen and salmon with another year of drought will be smelling up the country side once again.
Please don't ever forget all the hard work the enviromental Groups have done over the years and are still doing, look what we are up against now and maybe for the next 6 years. There would not even be an Enviromental Protection Agency without Enviro groups fighting the fight they have fought.
will probably get into trouble but,,,,
my $.02 worth
!. Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutley
2. Re-elect no one! It is only the fear of not being re-elected that keeps the polititions answering to big money contributors. A politition should serve one (and ony one) term and then come back home and answer to the people for what he has done!
3. At one time, lawyers were so despised that they were not allowed to practice in this country.
Great comments JJ and OC!
But my comment(s) were in the context that far too often the 'envir. groups' loose their focus on what/where they started from/where they end up going.
Too often they get to extream positions that no one takes them for more than a 'voice in the wilderness.' Too bad that they end up tilting windmills. So you don't miss my point(?) I have the greatest respect for many, never, ever, never ever, under estimate 'a little old lady in tennis shoes with a placard in hand.'
My point is, financially, too many take on "other issues" as a way of raising money. You look at some of the "issues" (sorry guys, a couple of double singles tonight. You have to be in mortgage banking right now to understand that. Cleared my phone messages before a conference call at 8am, by 10:30 I had 32 unanswered calls on my voice mail) being "championed" by these folks and your not sure if you should laugh .. or cry.
How may times can you call "wolf" before no one takes you ....
You are so right about the various "fund raising" tactics of nearly all if not all enviro groups. Most seem to have gotten off on some rather extreme positions and do not want to find out if there is evidence to support these positions. Yes, they have done some fine and noble things in years past; however, when some of them start talking about catch and release fishing being a cruel activity, they have gone too far.
I also do not support them monetarily anymore either. Some are now raising money so that they can spend it on promoting birth control in third world countries. this has nothing to do with conserving our resources.
I best stop before I get off too far in a rant, which is not what I am tryng to convey. I simply think that we should carefully look at where an enviro group is spending its money and what its positions are on matters realted to fishing, hunting, and camping before we give them our hard, earned dollars.
Fred & Flytyer,
Fully understand your frustration as I had also abandend the big enviro organizations for the longest time for many of the same reasons you have. But over the last year or so have started to come back in their direction realizing the fights out there are not the same as they used to be.
No longer is it black and white, no longer is it about smoke stacks beltching out black smoke in some old mill town or toilet paper and turds floating down the rivers and bays we love. Those battles have been won on the most part and I'm sure we all did our part in cleaning up America.
Today the real war is over who is going to control the resourses we have left, be it trees, minerals or water. Will the public continue to have a say in our resourses or will the private sector control the resourses. The fight on the Kalamath River is not so much about that river but about all rivers, about all water in this country. It is sad that a non native sucker fish and the farmers who are good people get hurt and are the pawns in this fight. In the next few years the control of water will be an 800 BILLION DOLLAR business a year world wide. That's second only to oil and by 2010 some economists say it will a greater business than oil.
The major enviro groups who are the only groups who have the resourses for the fight on the public behalf want our water resourses held in the hands of the public or our elected goverment, anyway that's who the goverment is suposed to represent if I can remember my US history. The private sector wants the water resourses in their own hands as a commodity to be sold at fair market value. No regulation on price just as has been done with deregulation of electic power.
Often we hear the cry of "look at how much money the enviro's are using for lobbying in Washington". Those who yell don't ever say how much they spend on lobbying in DC it's in the 100's of times more, than the enviro's. This is why the elected goverment sides with the private sector and not the enviro's, money!
If the multi national corporations and I'll name 2 that I'm involved with, Vivindi/US Filter and Severn Trent and the three or four others succeed in there objectives of owning our water resourses what then will happen to our family farms what will happen to the publics demand that our salmon and steelhead be brought back to healthy numbers. The water is going to go to the highest bidder and the last time I looked salmon weren't carrying a wallet in their back pocket. Nor does the family farm as we all know does not have much money. But not to fear because the companies I work with are buying up as many family farms and cheaply as posible and turning them into corporation farms. Let's sell the water back to ourselves.
I could go on and on but not worth it, all I ask that you think about the critisisims of the enviro movement today and try and realize they have to fight the battle at a different level than we were used too in the 60's and 70's, they now have to try an fight it on the level of big money or there is no chance. Don't be affraid to be called an enviromentalist because that's what big money spends so much money on is to make enviros look like the evil ones.
A plug for "The Osprey" newsletter...
Sitting in camp one evening last week I came across the May 2002 issue of The Osprey, I don't remember reading it when it arrived but I did read it while waiting for that illusive (sic) treat of sleep to overcome me.
There is in the May issue a rather complete and well written article about the Klamath water rights issue. This newsletter has been a good source of information regarding habitat issues and other Op Ed type musings of west coast steelheader intrest for a number of years.
Here is the address I suggest if you have not heard about it drop them a note and a few bucks donation and get on the mailing list.
Federation of Flyfishers
PO Box 1595
Bozeman, Mt. 59771 1595
The Osprey is a newsletter published by the Steelhead Committee Federation of Fly Fishers. It is a serious publication and has articles by many enlightened observers and "Scientist". I would call it required reading by any and all who care!
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