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State drought assistance earmarked for Klamath Basin

Herald and News by Alex Schwartz December 21, 2021

The Oregon Senate sent more than $22 million specifically to the Klamath Basin last week, part of a larger funding package aimed at helping Oregonians cope with 2021's compounding disasters of drought and COVID-19.

The Klamath Tribes also received state money for various resource-related initiatives.

Klamath Tribal Chairman Don Gentry said the money, along with funding from other sources including the recent federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will help the Tribes implement crucial forest treatments to benefit the health of the entire watershed. He said input from tribal members will help inform exactly how that money will be spent over the coming months.

"We have some real plans on developing our capacity and moving forward with more active forest management in partnership with the Forest Service," Gentry said.

The legislature also created a $40-million pot of loans for Oregon producers impacted by drought to apply to, which will be forgiven if applicant scan prove that their revenue was lower than normal in 2021.

I am thankful that our producers in Klamath County will be eligible for the statewide funding and that we were about to secure direct assistance for irrigation districts and domestic well users," said Jason flowers, president of the Klamath Lake County Farm Bureau.

Klamath Project producers will also receive a total of $35 million from the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Agriculture through the KPDRA.

According to a KPDRA news release, irrigators who applied for the Department of Agriculture fund can expect to receive $116 per approved acre, with checks mailed out starting December 17. Those participating in the non-irrigation Bureau of Reclamation drought relief program can expect to receive $450 per approved acre beginning the first week of January.

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