Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

KBC collection regarding Ty Beaver's article >

First, the "tribal official" is Craig Tucker, spokesman for the Karuk Tribe, formerly trained by Green Corp, and member of International Dam Removal groups, and a founder of Klamath Riverkeeper. Tucker's group, along with Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen/PCFFA, both at the KBRA/Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement table, and other NGO's, SUED the California State water boards to curtail irrigation in the Klamath Basin. This lawsuit was revived in Jan 2009 by our supposed "friends" in the KBRA family.

In Beaver's article Tucker states, " 'I don’t think suing (irrigators) helps improve water quality,' he said."

But our our KBRA friend Mr Tucker already SUED the State Water Boards to force irrigators to comply with regulations that are unachievable since the water was undrinkable and naturally high in phosphorus and nitrogen before irrigation began here more than 100 years ago.

In 2005, the State Water Resources Control Board was the LEAD AGENCY on a team with the Karuks (now Tucker), Yuroks, Klamaths and Hoopas and gov't agencies to create a strategy to increase river flows, downsize agriculture, and ideally possibly "restore the river to the pre-European settlement condition." That is removing our infrastructure, Klamath Dams.

In 2010, Tucker urges his comrades to comment to the water board to enforce the Klamath TMDL's.

"Tucker said he hopes to work with irrigation districts to find ways to reduce pollution going into the river, be it through creating new wetlands or putting in settling ponds to capture pollutants."

That, of course, would cost millions of dollars and take hundreds or thousands of acres of farmland out of production to convert it to more wetlands, to add to the thousands of acres of wetlands already in the Klamath Basin.

Finally, here are comments from Senator Doug Whitsett on the geology of the Klamath Basin regarding unattainable goals and unreasonable mandates.

HERE for KBC's Water Quality page



Water regulations may affect irrigation 
Districts among those responsible for reductions 
by Ty Beaver, Herald and News 1/5/11


EPA approves water quality plan for Klamath River

Photos courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency 
 A fisherman on a spit across the Klamath River estuary.
     A California tribal official said pollution limits approved by federal environmental officials could be problematic for irrigators in the Klamath Basin.
   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved California’s water quality improvement plan to reduce certain pollutants in the Klamath River Tuesday. The plan is meant to improve water quality for endangered fish species that live throughout the watershed.  
   Craig Tucker, Klamath campaign coordinator for the Karuk Tribe, said meeting the standards may not be easy, but he and other supporters of the new standards want to work with the people they will impact.
   “We don’t expect anybody to comply with these standards by themselves,” he said.
   The California plan calls for reductions in the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen in the river’s water, along with improved dissolved oxygen content and cooler water temperatures. The EPA is also reviewing a plan to address water quality in the Oregon portion of the river with action expected this month.
   Removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, called for in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, would help with water quality, particularly when it comes to water temperature, Tucker said.
   Part of the Klamath Reclamation Project is in California and would be subject to the approved pollution limits. Those regarding nitrogen content could be the largest hurdle for irrigation districts to meet, Tucker said.
   Kevin Moore, spokesman for the Klamath Falls office of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,   said the federal agency is in the process of evaluating the California water quality plan and determining how to implement it.
   “The new approved TMDL for California doesn’t prescribe specific actions to meet the requirements,” Moore said in an e-mail. “The full impact of the California TMDL on the Project won’t be known until the work on the implementation plan is completed in the next 18 months.”
   Tucker said while the Klamath River needs strict pollution standards to help fish, he and other supporters of the standards don’t plan on exacting punitive measures to enforce them.
   “I don’t think suing (irrigators) helps improve water quality,” he said.
   Rather, Tucker said he hopes to work with irrigation districts to find ways to reduce pollution going into the river, be it through creating new wetlands or putting in settling ponds to capture pollutants.


EPA approves water quality plan for Klamath River


GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The Klamath River — which has seen its salmon runs gradually decline for a century — now has a formal plan for restoring the purity of its waters.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it has approved California's water quality improvement plan for the Klamath, which runs 255 miles from the city of Klamath Falls in Southern Oregon to the Pacific Ocean on the north coast of California.

Oregon's plan setting total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs, for various water quality factors, is expected to be approved next month.

"There have been years and years of fighting water wars around the Klamath," Jared Blumenfeld, southwest regional administrator for EPA, said from San Francisco. "Hopefully, for the first time I think, many parties around the table have reached agreement on what needs to be done on how we get to a place where a healthy river ecosystem is prioritized.

"This will be looked back on as an important milestone in getting both agreement and a degree of accountability about the clear path forward."

The challenge now is implementing that plan, which requires state funding and many different players, said Glen Spain of Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations.

The Klamath's waters have long been impaired by warm temperatures, low oxygen levels, toxic algae and erosion that are exacerbated by dams, logging, roads, and agricultural runoff.

Spain's organization and other conservation groups sued the EPA to force California to develop water quality standards for 17 salmon rivers from Mendocino, Calif., to the Oregon border, and a consent decree was signed in 1997. The Klamath plan was the last of them.

Water quality problems came to a head in 2002, when tens of thousands of adult salmon died in the lower Klamath from diseases spread by low and warm water conditions during a drought. In recent years, the state has posted summer health warnings along the river due to toxic algae.

The bulk of water quality problems come from Oregon, where the biggest concentration of people and most intensive farming occur, scientists said. California benefits from having most of the tributaries that pump cleaner and colder water into the Klamath. Water quality improvement plans for those tributaries have already been approved.

EPA scientists said fixing the problems will take years and hinge on municipal water treatment plants serving Klamath Falls, Ore., and Tulelake, Calif.; hydroelectric dams straddling the Oregon-California border; logging; farming; and cattle grazing.

The Klamath water quality plan comes on top of landmark agreements to remove four hydroelectric dams that block salmon from hundreds of miles of habitat, restore Klamath Basin ecosystems, and assure water for farmers on a federal irrigation project.

The U.S. Interior secretary is due to decide by March 2012 on whether to go ahead with the plans.

Federal approval of dam removal and environmental restoration will make crucial funding available to meet the water quality plan, said EPA environmental scientist Sue Keydel.


Home Contact


              Page Updated: Thursday January 06, 2011 04:04 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2010, All Rights Reserved