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KWAPA board OKs fund plan for Langell Valley
by SARA HOTTMAN, Herald and News 7/1/10
The Klamath Water and Power Agency board of directors last week settled on a procedure to distribute federal money to landowners in Langell Valley Irrigation District who are being forced into land idling and groundwater pumping programs.
Many irrigators had agreed to idle land after the Bureau of Reclamation announced there would be no irrigation deliveries from Clear Lake Reservoir.
Following an application and acreage verification, the agency will draw up a contract with each landowner, and then directly pay owners their portion of the $315,315 from the Department of the Interior, said Hollie Cannon, KWAPA director.
The amount of money each farmer and rancher receives is yet to be determined, Cannon said.
Nearly 9,174 acres may participate in the program, and the money will be divided equally among the landowners who request to participate. If all eligible owners participate, they could be paid as little as $34.37 per acre.
At the public meeting Friday afternoon, the board fielded questions about whether more money would be directed to Langell Valley landowners.
The irrigation district hopes $10 million of drought relief attached to a federal appropriations bill, which has been working its way through in the Senate for months, comes through since its landowners received considerably less compensation than others in the area. Malin and Shasta View irrigation districts were paid $220 per acre to idle their land.
“They’re just hoping,” Cannon said. “The amount of money landowners are receiving out there is virtually nothing compared to what they need to stay in business. So obviously the landowners out there are hoping there’s going to be something in addition to this.”
The bill would allocate money for drought mitigation in Western states, Cannon said, so KWAPA doesn’t know how many states will receive money, how the money will be distributed, or if the Bureau of Reclamation will tap KWAPA to distribute it.
Cannon doesn’t know how long it will take for the federal government’s current offerings
to reach Langell Valley farmers and ranchers, but he said K WA PA is geared up for quick turnaround.
Page Updated: Friday July 02, 2010 02:42 AM Pacific
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