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                                   Tribes and Klamath Water Users
                    Solving the Klamath Crisis; Keeping Farms and Fish Alive

Film by Craig Tucker and the Karuk Tribe
Klamath Water Users and Tribes negotiate Klamath Dam Removal
Film review by KBC News. The film premiered at the Holiday Inn in Redding during  Klamath Watershed Conference November 8, 2006

Photo: Capital Press writer Tam Moore, left, discusses film with Craig Tucker after the showing. Tucker, past employee of Friends of the River, participated in the film 'Salmon on the back of buffalo'

11/11/06

Redding Ca - The Klamath River Tribes and Klamath Water Users Executive Director Greg Addington and KWUA Power Committee chairman Scott Seus star in the new film by Craig Tucker and the Karuk Tribe, Solving the Klamath Crisis; Keeping Farms and Fish Alive. Klamath Media Collaborative made the film.

After years of being enemies enduring lawsuits and water adjudication wars, KWUA and tribes are negotiating the removal of Iron Gate, Copco 1 and 2, and JC Boyle Dams. The Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa and Klamath Tribes want the four dams out: they say the fish need passage and better water quality which they believe would be fixed by dam removal, and they want higher flows. Tribes say that dams warm the water which causes fish diseases, and without the dams salmon and endangered lamprey and seven other fish species might swim into the Williamson and Wood Rivers.

Addington explains that Klamath irrigators have to run water-efficient sprinklers to conserve water for fish, and an affordable power rate is necessary to run the wheel lines. So the deal is, if the Water Users support dam removal, the tribes will support water storage, ESA exemptions, and lower power rates for irrigators since PacifiCorp rates for farmers and ranchers are scheduled to rise 1400%.

The scenery is stunning, with river rapids, swimming salmon, Indians fishing, and beautiful farms.

Then comes images of dead salmon and disgusting green algae the tribes believe are caused by low flows and poor water quality.

Tulelake farmer Scott Seus says Klamath Water Users are exploring sources of power other than hydroelectric, and said those four dams are not necessary for farming in the Klamath Basin.

Pacificorp has proposed hauling the fish around the dams, however the tribes do not want the fish hauled, and they say fish ladders could cost more than the power is worth. These four dams currently accommodate over 70,000 customers annually.

Previously, the tribes and PCFFA contested Klamath irrigators' pleas for water and an affordable power rate. Last year Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen director and attorney Glen Spain stated in a letter to the Oregon trollers , "...the leadership of the Klamath Water User's Association (KWUA) do not care about fish -- they care about making sure they have all the irrigation water they want, and the fish be damned. " In an interview, Spain said regarding the irrigators' power rate, "The Klamath Basin is so water-starved that every effort should be made to conserve rather than provide economic incentives to waste.

But now their tune has changed.

Zeke Grader of  PCFFA compliments this great alliance with the tribes and Klamath Water Users in the film, stating that the farmers are concerned about the river. Now that dam removal is on the table, the power rate has become a bargaining chip for removing the four dams.

In the film tribal members and biologists tell how removing the dams will provide jobs for construction workers, tourism and good water quality.

Addington says he wants ag to become whole again, kids to come back and not worry about water, and wants tribes to catch fish. He said now there is a genuine trust with water users and the tribes.

The film ends with a cute tune by Klamath Forest Alliance co-founder Petey Brucker and the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir: "...how are we going to take down the iron gate..."

After the showing, a question was asked Tucker: if the Tribes are demanding higher flows and dam removal in exchange for a better power rate, what good is the rate if the farmers don't get adequate water supplies. Tucker said that in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions' negotiations they will agree upon a process to later decide how much water the farmers will get for irrigation.

The Karuks plan showings in Ashland and Arcada, along with instructions in commenting to the Federal Energy Commission, FERC, regarding relicensing the four Klamath Dams. 

 

 

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Page Updated: Monday November 07, 2011 02:39 AM  Pacific


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