It is just as stupid as Montana granting more water rights to ranchers than is in the river or stream during normal years, let alone low water years. When I lived in Boulder, MT my father came out from Pennsylvania to fish with me for 2 weeks, the last week of July and the 1st week of August. The North Boulder River, which flows through the town of Boulder gets dewatered every year 4 mile below town. It makes no difference if it is a high water year or a low water year because there is more water allocated to the ranchers that all the river. The river bed stays dry from June 1st until after mid September when the irrigation canal is shut off for the year.
However, about 10 miles belolw town there is a rather large spring that empties into the river and the lower 6 miles of the river are simply excellent. This river is a tributary to the Jefferson River and enters the Jefferson at Cardwell, MT.
Anyway, just 2 days before dad got there, I fished the Jefferson near Silver City and had a great day. Well over 3 dozen browns and rainbows caught in 4 hours in the late afternnon until dark. Naturally, I took dad to this area of the Jefferson because it has very little angler pressure and you usually have it to yourself.
Before getting there the road parallels the river for a few miles and what do we see? An absolutely dry riverbed! No water at all! There are two large irrigation diversions 4 miles upstream of this area, one on each side of the river. And all of the water was taken from the river and sent down the irrigation ditches so the ranchers could raise hay. DEad trout were everywhere. Fish of 5 to 8 pounds along with fry and everything in between was distroyed by the lack of water.
Just like protecting the suckers in the lake at Klamath. Not an once of common sense involved. The bureacrats seem to be afraid of ranchers in Montana, and the radical environmentalist all over the west.
What a waste just to protect the suckers that were not native to the area. Now we can look forward to another salmon and steelhead fishery crashing. But we can console ourselves with the thought that EPA and NMFS protected the suckers.
What happened to thinking and the use of gray matter? Seems like it is becoming numbed by the need to excercise power by those in charge. Afterall, the fish in the river below the dams will return again and "reseed" the river, and the suckers won't die off.