Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Family Farm Alliance told us we must print their letter to KBC News regarding Family Farm Alliance, Dan Keppen, and our Farm Bill Page, to avoid litigation against us. I, the webmaster, was out of town but posted the correction on our 2012 Farm Bill Page today, as I returned home just last night.
|Unedited Letter and Memorandum from Family Farm Alliance to KBC News||Response from KBC News. We sincerely hope this answers your questions and makes the proper corrections. We made corrections and clarifications on our 2012 Farm Bill Page.|
Dear Ms. Krizo:
The Family Farm Alliance is dismayed to see that you and the Klamath Basin Crisis website continue to misstate facts about our organization. While you and Klamath Basin Crisis are absolutely entitled to your views about the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the 2012 Farm Bill, you are not entitled to issue false statements about the Family Farm Alliance. We must insist that you both correct the record and cease with your misstatements immediately.
|KBC does not believe we made “false statements about the Family Farm Alliance.”|
A lengthier response to recent postings on the Klamath Basin Crisis website is attached, and we urge you and your members to study it. However, we wish to make the following unequivocal points:
• The Family Farm Alliance has never made, and does not intend to make, any statement supporting or opposing the KBRA. Our organization has never taken any position on the KBRA, nor does it anticipate taking any such position. The Family Farm Alliance advocates for Western irrigated agriculture on issues of general application, and does not typically address local or regional issues such as the KBRA.
|KBC has never stated that Family Farm Alliance has made “ any statement supporting or opposing the KBRA.” We have posted unedited articles from your newsletters and website that tell the benefits of the KBRA, but we have not said you officially support it. If we have, please bring it to our attention and we will correct it.|
• It is true that Dan Keppen, the Alliance’s Executive Director, supports many provisions of the KBRA. It is equally true that Bill Kennedy, the Alliance’s Chairman, does not support many aspects of this agreement. Neither takes his respective position on behalf of the Alliance, but rather does so in his individual capacity. Because of the size and scope of the Alliance’s membership, it often encounters situations in which its members or affiliated parties disagree about regional matters. That is one of the reasons the Alliance does not generally involve itself in those matters. However, the Alliance absolutely supports the Constitutional rights of all individuals to express themselves as individuals.
We agree that Dan Keppen supports the KBRA, as he has
signed that he supports it on websites, and has made
such statements public. It is true Bill Kennedy does not support
it. No one we have talked to or heard from in our community has
seen letters by Kennedy opposing the KBRA on your website or in
your newsletters, or any presentation of the downside, however
your organization has included more than one article by Dan Keppen expounding on the positive. We and our editors, to our
knowledge, have never stated that your organization has taken a
formal position or made “any statement supporting or opposing
the KBRA.” And we are happy to know that "the
Alliance absolutely supports the Constitutional rights of all
individuals to express themselves as individuals," as I, the
webmaster, and also KBC News, and the Cal-Or Bi-State Alliance
oppose the KBRA and express ourselves. Many have tried to
silence us. Here are just a couple links, one by a letter to the
editor, and I do not know the writer.
The other is by Mr. Keppen regarding the KBRA some years ago. http://familyfarmalliance.clubwizard.com/IMUpload/
January%202010%20Klamath%20Conference.pdf When Keppen is spoken about, or writes, it is made clear by others or him that he is your executive director. Perhaps that is why some perceive that your organization might have a position on the KBRA.
• The 2012 Farm Bill in no way would help fund the KBRA, and the Family Farm Alliance has never advocated directly or indirectly that funding for the KBRA should be included in the 2012 Farm Bill.
• As described on the attached more detailed response, your most recent postings are riddled with demonstrable factual errors.
KBC did not state that Family Farm Alliance has ever advocated for funding for the KBRA in the 2012 Farm Bill. We said you supported the Farm Bill and we put entire unedited links to your testimonies and newsletters.
We have sat back silently over the past year while your website and others have carried misleading information and personal attacks on our organization. This time, we have no choice but to engage. This needs to stop now. We must insist that you remove the June 16, 2012 posting from your website immediately, and that you refrain from false, misleading and/or defamatory statements. We also ask that you post this letter, and the attached more detailed response, unedited, on your web site immediately.
Very truly yours,
William Kennedy, Chairman of the
To: Interested parties
From: William D. Kennedy, chairman of the board
Patrick O’Toole, president
Dan Keppen, Executive Director
Subject: Klamath Basin Crisis Website
Date: June 19, 2012
cc: Gary Sawyers, Esq.
On or about June 16, 2012, the Klamath Basin Crisis (KBC) website (www.klamathbasincrisis.org) and its webmaster, Ms. Jacqui Krizo, broadcast information that continues a pattern of misstating information about the Family Farm Alliance and its executive director that started in 2011. We now find it necessary to address this matter and also challenge some puzzling conclusions reached by KBC regarding the current Farm Bill and the Alliance’s involvement with that matter and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). We quickly learned that the “conclusions” and statements reached by KBC fail to materialize when one fully reviews the entirely of the documents that KBC appears to “cherry-pick” from on the website. Simply by providing links to random reports with sentences and phrases pulled out of context, the KBC website appears to hope that the viewer of the site will reach the same conclusion the webmaster has. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to unravel the supporting “evidence” that back the KBC conclusions, as described further below.
“The 2012 Farm Bill would help fund the KBRA.”
This is completely false. The KBRA is not even mentioned in the current Senate version of the Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill is being trimmed by billions of dollars. It would not make sense to try to drop the KBRA funding package into the Farm bill in the current environment, even if the Family Farm Alliance were advocating for such a thing (which we are not, and frankly, are not aware of anyone else doing).
What was on KBC was, "Farm Bill would
help fund the
Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement
We said “HELP fund because, as
stated in the link:
DefenseFund.pdf page 16, they claim Farm Bill funds were used in the previous farm bill, and would be used to meet the 30,000 acre feet demand of water mandated from of off-project irrigators in the KBRA. We did not say it was “the KBRA funding package” as you state. We said, “HELP fund.”
• KBC states that the proposed 2012 Farm Bill is supported by the Family Farm Alliance and “environmental groups”.
Actually, many farm groups join the Alliance in supporting the Farm Bill, depending on which provisions of the massive bill you are talking about. Our involvement has been narrowly focused on retaining those programs that actually help farmers and ranchers achieve water quality and quantity savings, particularly where irrigation districts can coordinate those efforts to achieve better, expanded results. While the information is readily available, the KBC website fails to emphasize support for these provisions by the California Farm Bureau, Public Lands Council, Arizona Public Lands Council, Wyoming Stockgrowers Association, and the Irrigation Association. While KBC notes these groups are part of our Farm Bill coalition, it only provides links to the more visible environmental organizations. Further, hundreds of other Ag groups support these and/or other provisions of the Farm Bill. The KBC statement, unfortunately, implies that it’s just the Alliance and 500 environmental groups that do.
the following correction on our
2012 Farm Bill Page.
"Correction: This page was previously unintentionally mis-titled. Our apologies for any problems from this mistake."
Our 2012 Farm Bill Page also contains links to all the letters we refer to, including 500+ groups supporting the Farm Bill.
|KBC ignores the fact that the Alliance last week also signed on to a letter with numerous organizations in support of a Farm Bill amendment that would eliminate duplicative permitting requirements for pesticide and aquatic herbicide amendments. This particular letter had very few conservation groups signing on to it, which shows that different issues require different allies in the Western water arena.||Congratulations; that is great! It took me hours to find a link to the 1000+ page Farm Bill, I heard there are hundreds of letters and amendments that change daily, and I have no idea where to find them, and probably no time to read daily changes. We farm and have not even kept up minimally on articles sent to us to post. We did not intentionally "ignore the fact" about pesticide requirements.|
• KBC implies that Pat O’Toole’s testimony – because it mentions “regional water supply solutions to some of the complex problems experienced in Klamath” – somehow favors paying larger entities, “rather than paying individual farmers”.
This is a prime example of selectively choosing small bits of information from a large document and tailoring it to meet a predetermined conclusion. The discussion about Klamath in Mr. O’Toole’s testimony related to the 2002 Farm Bill, NOT the current bill.
O’Toole’s letter below containing the
following entire quote
It was written in April 2012 so I assumed it was referring to this upcoming Farm Bill and not the 2002 Farm Bill.
The entire link was, and is, on KBC News for our readers to read the whole thing.
The 2002 bill
contained $50 million of EQIP funding to implement water
conservation measures in the Klamath Basin. As Ms. Krizo should
well remember, Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen was
working for the Klamath Water Users Association at the time this
occurred. The Farm Bill Klamath EQIP provisions were secured
with the help of Rep. Walden and others – including KWUA – who
were opposed to the other Congressional option on the table at
that time: the inclusion of $175 million that, in part, would be
used to buy out “willing sellers” in the Klamath Project. While
the EQIP Klamath funding was well-intended, many of us observed
that the program would have yielded even better water savings if
irrigation districts and other, larger conservation entities,
were ALSO eligible to compete for these funds. In that way, the
districts AND landowners could make the necessary improvements
to the delivery system to effectively capture this conserved
water to meet unmet demands. We continue to believe this was an
opportunity lost, one that could have provided regional water
supply solutions to some of the complex problems experienced in
Klamath in the years of 2002 Farm Bill implementation.
• The Family Farm Alliance had nothing to do with the November 2011 (NOT 2012, as the KBC website inaccurately reports) report prepared by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Just because the Alliance is part of a narrowly focused Farm Bill conservation coalition with EDF does not mean we are intimately involved with all of their business, nor does it mean that we agree with everything that organization does. The EDF report that the KBC site references does not recommend funding for Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust or KBRA. The title of the report is “Farm Bill Conservation Programs – Use and Potential in the Colorado River Basin”. Last time we checked, the Klamath Basin is not located in the Colorado River Basin. Further, the KBRT discussion is included in the background section of the EDF report, where it and four other case studies from around the West are used as possible examples for new programs…again…in the Colorado River Basin.
We put a link
to EDF report and we did Not say Family Farm Alliance had
anything to do with it. This is what we had on KBC:
Farm Bill Water Conservation Programs, Environmental Defense
Our sincere apologies for getting the date wrong. We corrected it on our Farm Bill Page. Thanks for bringing that to our attention.
For conserving space, we don't usually print out all the links on our front page or even our pages like Farm Bill page, but we will print this entire section for you and our readers so you can more easily read it for yourself. It just looked to us like it was about Klamath and it does mention the KBRA.
Upper Klamath Basin21 http://www.klamathbasincrisis.org/agriculture/farmbill/FarmBill
The last decade brought deep conflict over water use to the Klamath Basin, which spans over ten million acres in Oregon and California (Figure 7).22 Much of the basin water use is in the Upper Klamath, dedicated to irrigation of pasture and row crops. Heavy water use in the Upper Basin has placed pressure on water needs, including downstream flows required for endangered Coho salmon and maintenance of sufficient water levels for two endangered sucker species in Upper Klamath Lake. In
21The authors appreciate the assistance of Shannon Peterson, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, in preparing this section. 22 http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/klamath/klambasin.html .
2001, with a deep drought, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation stopped irrigation deliveries from Upper Klamath Lake in an effort to protect downstream flows. In 2002, tens of thousands of salmon and steelhead perished in the Lower Klamath. Controversy predictably ensued, leading to litigation and the not uncommon battle of experts that characterize so many western water disputes.
In response, in 2002 USBR sought to lease water that was being used to flood irrigate cattle pasture and leave the water resulting from this compensated “forbearance” in the stream, letting it flow into Upper Klamath Lake. The continuing problem also resulted in the involvement of NRCS and a specific earmark of $ 50 million in EQIP funds for water and other resource concerns in Klamath in the 2002 Farm Bill.
Figure 7. KBRT AWEP project area TheKlamath Basin Rangeland Trust helped organize ranchers in the Wood River Valley sub-basin who were interested in the USBR program, which was operated on a “bid” basis and was initially based on conversion of irrigated pasture to dryland. KBRT also helped direct some of the Klamath EQIP funding to focus on conversion to dryland production in the Wood River Valley. Intensive monitoring in the Wood River Valley determined that real “wet” water savings, based on evapotranspiration, is around 1AF/ac,
which was actually lower than initial estimates of 2-3 AF/ac. However, this provided a solid number on which to base payments and flow targets.
However, in 2007 funding for the USBR “Water Bank” was decreased and directed only at On-Project acreages, and the 2002 Farm Bill and Klamath EQIP expired.
After the enactment of the AWEP program via of the 2008 Farm Bill, KBRT worked closely with the NRCS and Upper Klamath ranchers to develop an AWEP application that drew on lessons learned from the previous conservation efforts. The AWEP for the Upper Klamath is available to off-project irrigators and is scheduled to provide $ 9 million over 5 years. The overall goal is the conservation of 15,000 acrefeet/ year to flow into Upper Klamath Lake.23 By carefully working with ranchers to explore the economics of fallowing a certain amount of pasture (or applying one early season irrigation and forgoing later season irrigation), the AWEP program has to date resulted in about one-third of the acreage in the Wood River Basin being managed to increase stream flow, with an estimated 12,000 acre-foot/year contribution to Upper Klamath Lake. Under the AWEP program, producers can enter into 3-year contracts, with an optional extension to 5 years if there is a reasonable expectation that they will pursue permanent sale of at least a portion of the rights to the conserved water. 24
Ranchers who have participated in the AWEP and prior programs for a few years have adapted grazing and pasture management practices to minimize loss of productivity. The AWEP program provides the opportunity (and funding support) for landowners to experiment with running their operations with less or no irrigation. This then creates potential opportunities for permanent purchases (which are not funded by the current AWEP) or even longer-term leases of the rights to the conserved water, and conversion of those rights to instream flow.
Use of the AWEP program in the adjoining Sprague River basin, which is more arid, has been somewhat
more complicated and KBRT is just now working with “early adapters” to work through economics, monitoring and other issues.
Lessons learned from the AWEP program in the Upper Klamath basin include:
Having an organization like KBRT that has good relationships with both local ranchers and NRCS helped lead to a successful AWEP proposal and strong project implementation;
KBRT worked closely with area irrigators to understand their assessment of the economics, program structure and other issues;
While potential effects of the compensated irrigation forbearance on third parties and the local economy were a concern early in the development of the EQIP and AWEP programs, those
23The recent Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement calls for restoring 30,000 acre-feet/year of flow to Upper
24The AWEP program also pays partial costs for other management measures related to less irrigation, including fencing for cattle rotation, stock water supplies and dryland seeding where necessary.
concerns have been reduced as cattle operation productivity has been largely maintained even with the programs in place;
Careful measurement and monitoring of water savings has been important to effective program design and implementation, and having a third party, such as KBRT, to carry out those activities is helpful; and
An active and informed local NRCS office can help the state office understand payment structure and other issues that are critical to program success.
• The Family Farm Alliance isn’t the only non-conservation group engaging in support of Farm Bill conservation programs.
KBC is correct in noting that the Alliance joined a letter to Congressional leadership for continued conservation funding in the Farm Bill. However, the letter wasn’t just signed on by the Family Farm Alliance and environmental groups. The letter also included other national, state and local organizations, businesses and landowners, including the American Farmland Trust, American Forest & Paper Association, Association of Floodplain Managers, National Association of Conservation Districts, and the California Rice Commission. The letter was also signed off by many constructive conservation groups, including the California Waterfowl Association and Ducks Unlimited, two organizations whose pro-Klamath Project comments KBC has highlighted on its website in the past.
As explained above, we put the
following correction on our
2012 Farm Bill Page.
"Correction: This page was previously unintentionally mis-titled. Our apologies for any problems from this mistake."
Our 2012 Farm Bill Page also contained and contains links to all the letters we refer to, including 500+ groups supporting the Farm Bill.
• KBC’s characterization of the Alliance’s executive director is incomplete and misleading.
KBC is correct to say that Dan Keppen is presently the executive director of Family Farm Alliance. He works for the Alliance under contract through his own company, Dan Keppen and Associates, Inc. Mr. Keppen also work for other clients, as well, including KWAPA. However, he is not the engineer for KWAPA, as the KBC falsely reports. As noted by KBC, he was employed by the Bureau of Reclamation prior to coming to Klamath Falls. However, that stint was just for one year, under a special agreement between the Bureau and the Northern California Water Association, one of three Western agricultural water advocacy organizations he has worked for since 1997. In 2001, he was hired to work as executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association.
What we wrote was, "Dan Keppen is presently is executive director of Family Farm Alliance, and engineer and media consultant for KWAPA, Klamath Water and Power Agency, a group included in the KBRA / Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Keppen was employed by the Bureau of Reclamation before coming to Klamath Falls in 2001 to work as executive director of Klamath Water Users Association."
Do we need to put how many years he served at each job?
We derived our information from the link below regarding his engineering firm being hired by KWAPA. Also, we did not realize we needed to give his complete biography, but we will do our best in the future to include links and more complete information.
"ON-PROJECT WATER PLAN (OPP)
Cooperative Agreement between Dept. of Interior (Bureau of Reclamation) and the Klamath Water and Power Agency.
The purpose of the Agreement is to address issues facing the irrigators of the Klamath Project relating to the terms of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). Section 15.2.1 of the KBRA states “the purpose of the On Project Plan for the Klamath Reclamation Project is to align water supply and demand…” see document at: http://kwua.org/sites/kwua.org/files/k.pdf.
KWAPA recently solicited for Statement of Qualifications from qualified engineering firms. The KWAPA OPP Review Committee interviewed the top 3 qualified firms who submitted a proposal and the Board of Directors approved the top scoring firm.
KWAPA awarded a consultant contract in July 2011 to MBK Engineers and partnering firms (Houston Engineering, CH2MHILL and Dan Keppen & Associates) to take lead on the development of the On Project Plan."
|The Family Farm Alliance has NEVER taken a formal position in support or in opposition to the KBRA and we likely never will.||Again, we have not stated that you have taken a “formal position” to the KBRA.|
• The Family Farm Alliance, working independently, or in tandem with, other interests, has not spent one penny or one second advocating that the KBRA should be funded in the Farm Bill.
|We did not say you did.|
We have sat back
silently over the past year while the KBC website has carried
misleading information and personal attacks on our organization
and its executive director. This time, we have no choice but to
engage. Again – we do not take issue with the KBC positions
regarding the Farm Bill or the KBRA. We only need to correct the
record where the Family Farm Alliance is involved.
This memo will be used to support our request that Ms. Krizo remove the June 16, 2012 posting from the KBC website immediately.
Thank you for your consideration.
Mr Keppen, Mr O'Toole, Mr Kennedy, and Mr Sawyers. Here are your letters that you said I must post on KBC News to avoid a lawsuit by you. We again apologize for mis-titling the Farm Bill page and that it caused you so much trouble. We put the correction and clarifications on the Farm Bill page to help our readers better understand the contents. I hope the above links and clarifications have helped.
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