Two groups weigh in against accord
By LEE JUILLERAT
Klamath Falls Herald & News
April 19, 2014
Two groups expressed opposition to the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement signed Friday during ceremonies at Collier Memorial State Park.
In a press release, Hoopa Indian Tribe leaders said they oppose the agreement because it is linked to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and “its degradation of tribal water rights.”
The tribe said the agreement “threatens the long-term survival of Klamath-Trinity River salmon fishery the United States holds in trust for our Tribe under federal law.”
The Hoopas believes the KBRA and Klamath Hydro Settlement Agreement, which have not been approved by Congress, will damage tribal water and fishing rights; claim water management policies and drought conditions will result in low water supplies and severely degraded water quality for the third consecutive year; and say Trinity River water has been used to offset chronically low flow conditions on the lower Klamath “caused by water withdrawals in Oregon.”
Additionally, the Hoopas claim the agreement does not include a long-term flow plan and, instead, reallocates 30,000 acre-feet of upper Klamath River Basin water among claimants in Oregon “under terms that virtually assures that none of the water will reach the Klamath River in California,” and claim government officials are pressing legislative agendas in Congress that “have no regard for the laws that support the Klamath River basin’s tribal, sport and commercial salmon fishery in California.”
WaterWatch of Oregon, which has consistently opposed agreements tied to the KBRA, also expressed opposition to Friday’s agreement.
“Although any amount of permanent water demand reduction is a welcome step in the right direction for the Klamath Basin, the claims that the agreement signed today will alone resolve the region’s water wars are simply false,” WaterWatch said in a press release.
“It is clear that this agreement provides only a fraction of the water necessary to address the Klamath’s profound water imbalance. Even if this agreement were in place this year, it would not be anywhere near enough to let the Klamath Project operate at traditional levels, let alone provide any water deliveries to the now regularly parched Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, or leave enough water in reserve to meaningfully reduce the risk of another adult salmon kill this autumn in the lower Klamath River.”