Readers' views for July 29, 2011
Nobody talks about key problem
Nobody, and I mean nobody, addresses the fact that the coldest water in the Klamath watershed, the North Fork Trinity River, feeds the third largest reservoir in California, Trinity Lake. That water is drawn from that reservoir through turbines making electricity, and then captured below the dam in a "bumping" reservoir, and diverted to the Sacramento River via a tunnel through the Coast Range mountains, and down penstocks twice on its way, again making electricity, to the Sacramento, and then flows to the Delta, where the produced electricity is part of the power needed to pump that water upstream, uphill, along the San Joaquin River to the Westlands Irrigation District in the rain shadow of the Central Coast Range. ...
You take 68 percent of the annual flow of a river that once was the cold water influx that allowed Chinook salmon to survive August and September in the lower Klamath before the sun fell further to the south and shadowed the canyons, and fall frosts cooled the headwaters. That missing cold water is never mentioned, but Klamath farmers drawing warm water sure are. ...
The Klamath is a warmer river, and it was always the Trinity that kept the lower reaches cold until fall rains called the fish to the headwaters. The Klamath watershed is incomplete because the coldest tributary is diverted out of the watershed. Fix that, all you environmental experts.
John Thomas Jr.
Klamath deal deserves support
I support the concept of settlement concerning the issues related to the Klamath River and Upper Klamath Basin.
At this point in time, that means working within the agreement called the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, or KBRA. I belong to three groups who are actively working on specific solutions related to 1) water for farmers, 2) a reasonable power rate for ag pumping and 3) regulatory assurances for agriculture that fits within the Endangered Species Act, or ESA.
Funding at the federal level is going to be the biggest obstacle that proponents of the KBRA face in the coming years. Washington, D.C., is out of money and may soon be limited on borrowing powers. Klamath's prospects of receiving the full funding that all the settlement parties request is likely to be challenged in some form or another. That may include an attempt by the Bureau of Reclamation to limit access to willing participants in the power program in order to reduce the cost of the overall agreement.
Just like the coming farm bill discussions, all we hear is cut, cut, cut. To add to the mix, extremists on both sides are doing what they can to derail the process. One such rant and personal attack appeared in the July 15 Capital Press readers' views.
Just as I believe that a good food policy is positive for this country in the form of a farm bill, I also believe that a good policy that deals with regulatory issues such as the ESA is equally important to agriculture and in this case for Klamath, that is the KBRA.
Looking back on my years involved in farm policy, I always wondered how we could tie the public investment in Natural Resources Conservation Service-type programs to regulatory assurances. Our country cannot afford to let agriculture be regulated out of existence. The KBRA is a step in the right direction in receiving credit for the good things we do in rural America for the environment. Earning the trust of the public is a doable goal as opposed to demanding trust.
Klamath Falls, Ore.
Farm Bureau case focuses on change
The California Department of Fish and Game is trying to change the way the Fish and Game Code section has been interpreted for the last 50 years. Our case is a narrow issue of statutory interpretation to determine whether 1602 applies to a water user who exercises his vested water right by extracting his adjudicated water without altering the streambed.
For the last 50 years it has not, but DFG is trying to shift its historical interpretation in contravention of the legislative history. We are pleased that the court agreed with our position that the proposed intervenors do not have a direct interest in the case and therefore cannot intervene.
Now the case can move forward to resolve this issue solely between Siskiyou County Farm Bureau and the DFG.
Siskiyou County Farm Bureau