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Dams, adjudication on agenda at local water conference

Published Feb. 25, 2004


The topics were scientific, but the mood was social at talks and workshops about the Klamath Basin watershed Tuesday at Oregon Institute of Technology.

The series of talks and workshops were a warm-up for the Klamath Watershed Conference, which will run today and Thursday, said Denise Buck, conference coordinator.

"These were the sessions we couldn't fit into the two-day conference," she said.

Buck said there were about 100 people at the preconference events Tuesday, and she expected almost 200 for the rest of the conference.

Topics for Tuesday included PacifiCorp's relicensing of the Klamath River hydroelectric project, the State of Oregon's continuing Basin water adjudication and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's work on a Basin-wide conservation plan.

Buck said most of the events were set up to bring people up to date on the big processes going on that do have, or will have, an impact on the Basin. She said there will also be events that clue people in as to what is going on in their own backyard.

Today and Thursday, people who live in different parts of the Basin, including county officials from all of the counties that the Klamath River runs through on its way to the Pacific Ocean, will speak.

Unlike other conferences, the watershed conference is not completely technical, said Mike Connelly, executive director of the Klamath Basin Ecosystem Foundation.

He said the conference could help people understand how the technical processes will affect their communities and the resources they depend on.

"A lot of us have come to see that it is not just science that we need to get to where we need to go," Connelly said.

And, he said, the conference will give people from different sides of the water issues a chance to get to know each other.

Dave Bitts, a commercial fisherman from Eureka and vice president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, said he came to tell people from the Basin about what it is like to be a fisherman.

He said he was going to talk about the series of meetings government officials have before they figure out where, for what and when fishermen can fish. The conference is an opportunity for the different sides to get together and talk about what they have in common, Bitts said.

"We don't want to put farmers out of business and farmers don't want to put fishermen out of business," Bitts said.

For more information, call the Oregon State University Extension office at 883-7131.

On the Net

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/kla math


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