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Editorial by Kehn Gibson, Tri-County Courier August 11 issue

The things I still don't get

Writer, editor and stumped
We had a very busy fortnight in the Klamath Basin, when five Congressmen, a Senator, and the Governor visited within days of each other. I don’t think I was alone when I noted the similarity in our guest list to that of the Spring of 2001.

Within days the rhetoric in response began. The testimony heard at the Congressional field hearing was called “one-sided,” Rep. Greg Walden was scolded for seeking to “gut” the Endangered Species Act, and editorials bellowed that changing the ESA will do naught towards resolving the Basin’s water issues.

This I can understand. I have reported on the Oregon Natural Resources Council, Waterwatch, and others since 2001, and I quickly realized these organizations are not bound by the truth. The organizations are crisis-driven, and a lack of crisis, be it here or in the forest, threatens their funding streams.

So I am no longer terribly surprised by their rhetoric.

I am surprised when government agencies work hand-in-hand with fanning the flames of conflict.

A case in point is the recent report on the death of 33,000 salmon in the lower Klamath River.

The report is based on the infamous Hardy Phase II flow study. Officials at the California Department of Fish and Game, the report’s authors, label the inclusion of Hardy in their report as using “the best information available.” That is hogwash.

The history of the Hardy study is something I don’t get either.

Commissioned by the federal Department of Justice, Dr. Thomas Hardy worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to develop a historical study of Klamath flows to aid the Yurok Tribe in water adjudication efforts.

Hardy was invited to sit in on a series of meetings to consult on the NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion.

A representative of the Klamath Water Users Association was denied access to these meetings.

Somehow the Hardy flow study, without peer review, walked its way into NOAA’s 2001 BO virtually untouched, and without comment.

Okay, past transgressions, once corrected, must be let go.

Except agriculturalists are still operating under the ghost of Hardy. After being discredited by the National Academy of Sciences, the current flow regime is now a rough compromise between Hardy’s unrealistic flows and historical flows. To have Hardy cited by a DFG report is, well — I don’t get it.

And, according to Christine Karas of the Bureau’s Klamath office, Hardy has been rehired to help him “regain his credibility.”

I really don’t get that. Not at all.





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