U.S. Water News Online
GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Klamath Basin farmers are going ahead
with their appeal of a federal court ruling that gave more water to
salmon, raising doubts among salmon advocates that farmers are really
interested in solving the region's environmental problems.
Attorneys for the Klamath Water Users Association, which
represents about 1,000 farms irrigated by the Klamath Reclamation
Project, filed a brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
San Francisco in their appeal of an injunction speeding up the
timetable for the government to increase Klamath River flows for
threatened coho salmon.
The appeal came after the Bush administration withdrew its own
appeal and four weeks before a summit organized by the governors of
Oregon and California to find solutions to the Klamath Basin's
long-standing environmental problems, particularly four hydroelectric
dams widely blamed for hurting struggling salmon runs.
"While we're getting close to turning the corner and getting along
a lot better, we're not quite there yet. Until we get there, we have
to keep our options open," said Greg Addington, executive director of
In 2001, irrigation water was shut off to most of the Klamath
Reclamation Project to provide water for threatened coho salmon in
the Klamath River during a drought.
After irrigation was restored the next year, tens of thousands of
adult chinook died of gill rot while stuck in low warm pools in the
Last summer, commercial salmon fishing was practically shut off
along 700 miles of Oregon and California coastline to protect
struggling Klamath River chinook.
The Klamath summit is tentatively set for the middle of December
in Klamath Falls with representatives of state and federal agencies,
farmers, tribes, conservation groups and fishermen.
The appeal seeks to lift an injunction imposed last May by U.S.
District Judge Saundra B. Armstrong, which says that irrigators will
have to do without water in years when there is not enough for both
farms and fish.
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