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Klamath joining suit over timber funds

Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, CORRUPTION, Federal gov & land grabs, Forestry & USFS, Klamath County, Lawsuits, Oregon governments

Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon

A coalition of Western Oregon counties, including Klamath, has declared their intent to sue the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for allegedly violating timber regulations.

In a news release Tuesday from the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC), the coalition said they will challenge BLM in federal court over violations of the O&C Lands Act.

Passed by Congress in 1937, the act set standards for the sustainable management of 2.5 million acres of forestland throughout 17 Oregon counties. Specifically, the act said no less than 500 million board feet of timber will be harvested annually and timber proceeds will be split evenly between counties and the federal government.

BLM’s current proposed management plan would reduce both timber harvests and county revenue, which AOCC said are violations of the act.

“We have no choice but to litigate, and we are on firm legal ground in doing so,” said OACC President Tony Hyde, who is also a Columbia County commissioner.

Hyde said BLM had the option to balance jobs and county revenue with environmental priorities, but “refused” to consider such factors in their plan.

“Once again, the federal government has failed the communities where these lands are located,” said Hyde.

Decreasing revenues

AOCC said counties who depend on such revenue have suffered significant drops in timber dollars and have seen increases in crime, poverty and unemployment rates as a result. The group also accused BLM of wasting “tens of millions of dollars” on developing a management plan they believe will be thrown out.

AOCC said they have retained Portland-based law firm Stoel Rives to file suit on behalf of affected counties.

“The last two decades of ineffective management by the BLM has to stop,” said Hyde.

In a joint statement from Klamath County, commissioners said further reductions in timber revenue will likely result in “cuts to all Klamath County services.”

Commissioners said O&C lands were once a “mainstay” of the local economy and said they could be again “if the BLM would strike a proper balance between environmental protection and economic activity.”

Commissioners plan to meet with department heads Thursday morning to discuss budget proposals and potential cuts.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


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Klamath Basin: Water pact crumbles in Congress after years of work

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, California water, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Oregon governments, Property rights, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, Siskiyou County, State gov, Threats to agriculture, Tribes

PNP comment: Destruction of the four hydro-electric Klamath dams and the resulting affect it would have on water rights in Oregon and California should have never been part of the KBRA. The Counties of Siskiyou and Oregon in a Bi-state Alliance asked that Klamath dam removal be taken out of the KBRA, but the stakeholders would have nothing to do with it. Demolition of Klamath dams will set a precedent that Congress was not willing to do and, more importantly, had nothing to do with irrigation in the Klamath Project as they store their water as part of the “reclamation” project. Please understand that the KBRA could have moved forward, but Klamath dam removal should not have been part of the agreement. It is environmentally ludicrous to take out the Klamath dams. The dams provide needed flood control, summer water flow sustainability for fish; and grow millions of salmon through the Irongate Fish Hatchery. — Editor Liz Bowen

By Jeff Mapes | The Oregonian/OregonLive

on December 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM, updated December 19, 2015 at 10:02 AM

For years, the Klamath Basin water agreement was a feel-good story about racial reconciliation, environmental recovery and the power of working together.

It was an uplifting sequel to the huge protests by farmers during an irrigation shutoff in 2001 and the death of thousands of salmon in the overheated waters of the Klamath River a year later.

After years of negotiation, ranchers, farmers and tribes in the Klamath Basin on the border of Oregon and California reached a water-sharing agreement that included the bold step of removing four aged dams on the Klamath River to restore the health of one of the West’s main salmon-producing waterways.

It became clear this week, however, that there won’t be any storybook ending, at least that anyone can see now.

Congress once again failed to pass legislation implementing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and its associated pacts. The agreement is set to expire Jan. 1, and nobody’s quite sure what’s going to happen next.

“We collectively as a society missed an opportunity here, and I don’t think we’ll have it again,” said Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association, one of the main players in the saga. “What it means for us in a nutshell is more continued uncertainty.”

The inspiring tale that attracted so much attention masked the fact that not everyone was singing Kumbaya. The agreement never sold well either in solidly Republican Klamath County or on the California side of the border, where the idea of removing dams and tilting the scale toward environmental and tribal purposes was regarded suspiciously.

“They try to say the community is for it, and it’s not true at all,” said Klamath County Chairman Tom Mallams, noting that almost all successful candidates in the area run against the agreement.

Legislation implementing the basin agreement has languished in Congress in the years since Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger staged a celebratory signing in Oregon’s Capitol in 2010.

Among western Republicans, the idea of removing the dams has been viewed with great suspicion, even though the aged structures are relatively small hydroelectric producers, aren’t used for irrigation and have major fish-passage problems. PacifiCorp, which owns the dams, has agreed to remove them instead of going through the uncertainty and huge expense of relicensing them.

But congressional critics have long fretted that it could create a precedent for fulfilling environmentalist fantasies for widespread dam removal in the West.

Republican Rep. Greg Walden, who represents the Oregon side of the basin, kept a careful distance from the agreement, particularly when it came to dam removal. In the last year, he softened his rhetoric about removing dams and has been negotiating with Oregon’s two senators, Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, on legislation to move the agreement forward.

But those talks came to an end two weeks ago after Walden unveiled a legislative draft that left out dam removal and called for turning over 100,000 acres of federal land to Klamath County and to California’s Siskiyou County.

Walden, suggesting that the dams could potentially be taken out through the regulatory process, said he was trying to figure out a creative way to build support for the agreement among his fellow Republicans.

In the short run, Walden’s proposal appeared to drive away Wyden and Merkley. They said the idea of turning federal forests over to the counties was a nonstarter in the Senate. The omnibus spending bill — once seen as a potential vehicle for Klamath Basin language – passed Friday, and Congress went home for holidays.

“We’re going to continue to work to find a solution that works for the people in the basin and that can be passed in the House and signed into law,” said Walden spokesman Andrew Malcolm. “We’re looking for a viable resolution.”

The senators released their own statement Friday, saying they hope they can make progress when Congress returns next month – but it’s clear they expect Walden to drop his more controversial ideas if anything is going to happen.

“We are hopeful that a path forward can still be found,” the senators said, “if there is an immediate commitment to put aside unnecessary and unrelated policy disputes and instead work toward legislative action first thing in January on an earnest attempt to implement the locally developed agreements.”

The path is getting rockier. One of the three tribes that signed the agreement – the Yuroks in California – have backed away from it, and Addington said some of the groups on the farm side are starting to peel away as well.

A PacifiCorp official told the Capitol Press, an agricultural newspaper, that the company will now seek to relicense its dams. Conversely, WaterWatch, a Portland-based environmental group that never supported the agreement, argues the dams can’t be brought up to modern standards and that it hopes to force their removal through the federal regulatory process.

Meanwhile, Addington said irrigators will probably have to unleash their lawyers to go into court to fight the Klamath Tribes over water rights in the upper basin. The tribes won a 2013 ruling that they hold the superior water rights, but there are still avenues for appeal.

Don Gentry, the Klamath tribal chairman, agreed that more litigation looms.

“We’re going to be basically back in court with one another,” Gentry said, “and that’s a difficult thing. But we have to represent our interests as best we can.”

Gentry noted that many of his tribal members are feeling restless. While they’ve lived within the terms of the agreement for five years, “we haven’t gotten any closer to all the things we want.”

The various signatories to the agreement are planning a conference call Dec. 28 to talk over what might happen next. Addington and Gentry say they hope the good will the signatories have built up over the years while help them continue to negotiate.

One thing everyone hopes for is a good water year to help smooth over conflicts.

In the meantime, Gentry said, supporters of the Klamath agreement are feeling shell-shocked.

“As one person said today,” he explained in a telephone interview, “we’re still going through the stages of grief.”

–Jeff Mapes




In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Dam Removal In Siskiyou County: ‘Yes’ Or ‘No’

CA & OR, Federal gov & land grabs, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Siskiyou County


By: Capt. William E. Simpson

Today (Nov. 18, 2014) I started receiving emails about an article written by Lacey Jarrell a reporter at a small town newspaper and blog in Klamath Falls, OR titled ‘Commission-Water pact backlash’.

You don’t need to be a geologist or a hydrologist or even a meteorologist to understand what’s going on when you simply understand who benefits from the removal of the Dams, which are by the way, in Siskiyou County, CA, not in Klamath County, OR.

Some farmer up in Klamath who Mr. Jarrell thought was quotable said; ‘We need leaders, and we need to go forward; if you’re not going to lead, get the hell out of the way”

What this farmer, and apparently the reporter seem to overlook is that Lemmings have leaders and this same mentality too…

The logic and wisdom that dictated the cost in time and money to engineer build and continually upgrade the dams in Siskiyou County is still valid today, even if it grinds the gears of some greedy special interests who by the way represent only a tiny minority of the population and who are essentially the sole beneficiaries should the dams be removed.

Contrary to the misinformation being supported by the reporter, the three Siskiyou County dams are producing a significant amount of clean green energy; they also provide:
*Flood control
*Habitat for a host of native and migrating water foul
*Habitat for many species of birds, including rare birds of prey.
*Habitat for many species of mammals
*Recreation for thousands of boaters and fishermen annually
*Value to the private property owners around and nearby the lakes formed by the dams
*Water reserves held back from winter that can be used in summer drought
*About 3,000 jobs in Siskiyou County that are directly or indirectly related to the dams
*Reserve fresh-water storage at a time when Californians need it most

As far as the dams affecting the fishing; yes there is an affect; just this past year, the drought was so severe that there was insufficient flow in the Klamath river to support a steelhead and salmon run to the upper Klamath River and past the I-5 Bridge, which according to the majority of credible fisheries biologists is the upper extreme of their range when spawning (the tributaries on the Klamath River 25-150 miles down-river from the I-5 bridge make up the vast majority of premium spawning grounds for both species).

And let’s keep in mind however that during the summer and drought, the dams pass all of the water flowing into their lakes from the Klamath River and tributaries from above; nothing is being held-back or stored as is done during winter run-off. Even passing all of the water available that was coming down river this summer, the Klamath River had far less water than was needed by the fish trying to head up river. On top of that, due to the shallow condition of the river and tributaries, coupled with the loss of shade trees resulting from ravaging forest fires (bungled forest management), the river water was being heated above normal by the sun.

Even though these adversities in the river’s flow and temperature would have certainly hurt the salmon and steelhead run this year, it did not; but why?

According to local river guides (who know the river better than anyone), the upper Klamath River is now experiencing an excellent run of steelhead and salmon thanks to the cool (deep) water that was timely released by the dam operators at the Iron Gate Dam (see photo above).

Many people fail to realize that a deep-water lake, unlike a shallow river, has the ability due to its depth to form what is known as a ‘thermocline’. A thermocline is a distinct boundary-layer that separates the water heated by the sun which stratifies and stays near the surface and above the cold water below; a phenomenon well-known to SCUBA divers who have experienced this steep change in water temperature. And by releasing the deep cold water below the thermocline into the river when it was needed we now have an impressive number of steelhead and salmon reaching the upper Klamath River. And of course this is what almost everyone wants to see… well maybe not everyone. The proponents of the dam removal would have us all believe that the dams are bad for the steelhead, salmon, people and the economy, when that is clearly not the case.

The reality is that the loss of forests in critical water sheds through the gross mismanagement of those forests is what is adversely affecting the rivers and their tributaries all around. And when forest management is improved, so will the health of the watersheds. Let’s face facts; having a million acres of forest burned to the dirt in the Pacific Northwest is a far bigger problem than must be solved, since these mega-fires are recurring annually. Having millions of tons of mud and silt from the scorched remains of forests running-off into the streams and rivers during the Fall rains and silting-in the spawning gravels of fish is the real culprit for the loss of fish runs!

Maybe we should rally the good people here in Siskiyou County and send our own letter to the activists and over-reaching legislators in Oregon who seem to believe they also run our County as well as their own. Maybe they should deal instead with their own forest and water resource and management issues, instead of inventing reasons why they should be able to intervene into the business of another State and County?

Cheers! Bill

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Support Klamath County Commissioners on 11-21-14 at 3 p.m.

KBRA or KHSA, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams

November 19, 2014



Contact: Jim Bellet, Commissioner 541-883-5100.

The Klamath County Board of Commissioners will have a Special Meeting on Friday,
November 21st, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at the Government Center 305 Main Street, Klamath Falls,
OR – 2nd floor, hearing room 219.

Objectives for this meeting will include discussion on their opposition to SB 2379, the
Klamath Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act.

If you have questions regarding this meeting, you may contact Jim Bellet, County
Commissioner at 541-883-5100 or 541-205-1009.

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Vote for Klamath Bucket from 2001 water shut-off

CORRUPTION, Klamath Basin Crisis.org, Klamath Bucket Brigade.org, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams

PNP comment: The giant bucket was placed at the Klamath County Courthouse to remind everyone of the travesty, when the Greenies and federal government shut-off water to the Klamath Falls to Tulelake area using fraudulent science for sucker fish in the Upper Klamath Lake. I traveled to Klamath Falls and covered the May 2001 Bucket Brigade of over 15,000 folks dumping water illegally into the A Canal. I took photos of California Congressman Wally Herger, Siskiyou County Supervisors and other elected officials dumping buckets of water into the A Canal.  It was quite the Protest.

I voted the Klamath Bucket, which represents the Klamath Bucket Brigade Protest, should be at the county courthouse. It is time that our voice outnumbers the liberal Greenies and corrupt government agency bureaucrats. — Editor Liz Bowen

KBC News


Because of an upcoming movie being filmed in Klamath Falls, the Klamath County Commissioners agreed that the big Bucket Brigade Bucket could be moved temporarily for the movie. In wee hours of the morning, one commissioner moved the bucket. The receptionist at the gov’t building said it was moved until they found a new home, which was not exactly truthful.

Now the Herald and News is doing an online vote to muster votes to get rid of the bucket from the courthouse. Environmental activists and Indians don’t want it at the courthouse. They are voting.

Please vote and have your friends vote.

We who are voting for resource users: farmers, ranchers, loggers, miners…we are voting to return the bucket to the courthouse.


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Dam distraction delays real water solutions

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, CA & OR, Federal gov & land grabs, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Siskiyou County, Threats to agriculture


Dam distraction delays real water solutions; Klamath County has rescinded its 2010 approval

Herald and News 8/17/14


Siskiyou County Supervisors Michael Kobseff and Brandon Criss recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Members of Congress and their staffs to reinforce Siskiyou County’s opposition to the proposals to remove the lower four dams on the Klamath River. We are optimistic in reporting that there is strong Congressional opposition to these proposals for a wide range of reasons.

   In late 2011, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced legislation to authorize the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. These are intertwined agreements that would have state and federal taxpayers and PacifiCorp’s California and Oregon ratepayers foot the bill to let PacifiCorp walk away from the Klamath River.

  The bill met its deserved fate when it died at the end of the 112th Congress in December 2012, with no action being taken.

   Earlier this year, Oregon’s other senator, Ron Wyden, reintroduced a version of the Merkley bill with the addition   of a new agreement on water and land management in the Upper Basin. California Senators Feinstein and Boxer agreed to support this new bill as cosponsors.

  One large problem with moving this legislation any further is that it is not scientifically justified. The Secretary of Interior’s own expert panels have concluded that the benefits for salmon would be “minimal” and “unlikely.”

   Elected representatives from other states are now seeing the Klamath agreements for what they are: Supposed “stakeholders” wanting to spend vast amounts of other peoples’ money. These selfselected “stakeholders” also would form their own regional government under the Klamath Basin Restoration Act composed of unelected leaders.

  These stakeholders are authorized under Sen. Wyden’s legislation to amend the Klamath agreements without Congressional approval.

   Also, although a handful of senators are trying to advance the Klamath agreements, the proposed legislation would be dead on arrival if it reaches the House of Representatives.

  California Congressman Tom McClintock is the chair of the Water and Power Subcommittee. His district includes the long-stalled Auburn Dam and he is an ardent supporter of that project. He also is adamantly opposed to the Klamath agreements, as is Washington’s Doc Hastings, the chairman of the committee with jurisdiction over any bill.

   We are witnessing the agonizingly slow death of the Klamath agreements. Klamath County has rescinded its 2010 approval. A number of parties to the new Upper Basin Agreement are already questioning it. The recent referendum in the Klamath Tribes demonstrated a surprising internal divide.

  The questions are getting louder about how long the Public Utilities Commission will continue a surcharge to fund a proposed project with one unmet milestone after another, a timetable that is now years behind, and no forward progress on its central element of dam removal.

   At some point, we believe a critical mass of real stakeholders will acknowledge they need another approach.

  Siskiyou County has offered repeatedly to return to the negotiating table to work toward all of the things that could be done to benefit water supplies and enhance fish populations without getting sidetracked by the controversy of dam removal and the enormous costs associated with it.

   In light of the ongoing wildfire disasters in southern Oregon and California’s Copco region, water storage has proven to be a major asset to the residents of our drought-stricken region.   Building additional offstream water storage could provide increased firefighting resources and water irrigation resources for both on-project and off-project water users.

  Klamath County has joined us in a joint letter opposing the Wyden legislation. Both counties have invited Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to visit our region. Our open invitation to Secretary Jewell stands. We await a reply to our correspondence and a visit by her to become informed of the concerns of Siskiyou County and our constituents.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Klamath Basin cattle industry hit by drought

Agriculture, Air, Climate & Weather, cattle, Federal gov & land grabs, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath County, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Chinook Observer

Beatty, Ore. – The Klamath Basin’s cattle industry is drying up as the result of continued drought conditions.

The water to Eric Duarte’s ranch has been shut off.

“The 1864 water rights were cut off 10 days ago.” Explains Duarte. “So all irrigation, surface water has been shut of for everybody in the upper basin.”

Duarte can still water his livestock, but he can’t water his pasture…

“You can have all the water in the world to drink, but if you don’t have anything to eat, it’s going to be pretty tough sledding.”

As a result, Duarte’s selling off much of his cattle early…

“If you have to sell half of those down, it takes a long time to build them back.”

Duarte says that profit loss will have a ‘trickle-down’ effect…

“Because of the drought, the water shutoff, that’s a lot less money that we can spend in town.”

Duarte helped to organize an Ag Rally last year to raise awareness to the problems that ranchers are facing.

And while the K.B.R.A. (Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement) is still opposed by many of those ranchers, Duarte believes the agreement could provide some water certainty in dry years.

“I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world.” Cautions Duarte. “For either side, probably – but it is some certainty.”

But for now, Duarte is only 100% certain of a long, dry summer.

Duarte also works as a livestock auctioneer, and will be working a sale in Winnemucca this weekend.

Duarte notes that while there are normally 250 thousand cattle for the sale, this year there will be less than half that number.

Copyright KOBI-TV. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Klamath Water: Some ranchers backing out of agreement

Agriculture, Klamath County, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Published in Western Ag. Reporter

July 3, 2014

By Erika Bentsen

Posted to PNP by permission of Erika Bentsen

Several upper basin irrigators, who signed an intent to proceed with the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement, are having second thoughts. The validity of promises made to these upper basin ranchers in order to get their signatures on the bottom line of the Agreement is open to uncertainty.

Landowner Entity…..

Among numerous misgivings is a growing concern about the Landowner Entity’s absolute control over private property. In the Agreement, a Landowner Entity — made up of member elected officials — will be established to directly oversee irrigation and riparian improvements on individual properties. The corporate laws of this Landowner Entity are defined in Section 554 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).

Ranchers believe the language in the laws and the power granted to this new establishment are overreaching and detrimental to their personal property and freedoms. It removes their ability to make their own management decisions, and by the attachment of liens for corporate debt to their property, it may devalue their property values permanently. Many are concerned that — if the corporation is mismanaged or if it proves unable to sustain itself for any reason, such as if government funding isn’t approved for completed projects — the onus falls on landowners, which can lead to bankruptcy and undue hardship.

The devil is definitely in the details. As the new Landowner Entity is being established, some ranchers are digging deeper into the new regulations that are about to affect their land. Furthering their growing doubts, it is now being discovered that some of the ranchers’ own representatives at the settlement talks, some of whom are now in pivotal positions in the burgeoning Landowner Entity, are being paid to promote the Agreement. This is leaving many to question how much truth was told to the public in the informational meetings held prior to the signing deadline and others to wonder whose best interest is actually being represented today.

Eminent Domain….

Repeatedly during the push to get upper basin ranchers’ signatures, proponents were adamant that eminent domain would NOT be used to acquire lands in the Agreement. However, ORS 554.040(4) clearly gives the Landowner Entity the power “To purchase, condemn by the power of eminent domain, possess and dispose of real and personal property as necessary and convenient to carry out the purposes of the corporation.”


Many ranchers voiced concerns that they would be forced to grant easements, especially tribal easements, to their riparian lands. Proponents assured them that would not happen. That it would only involved a small strop of land along the water, around 100 feet or so, but sometimes more. That intrusion onto their land would be minimal, maybe a few visits initially and then probably once every few years. That it’s all voluntary, it’s not a big deal.

Proponents also downplayed the fact that the Landowner Entity is required to have tribal representation on the board. Furthermore, ORS 554.350(b) states that the corporation may “jointly acquire, control and manage any works, improvements, easement, or right of way necessary to fulfill its contractual obligations.” …This does not leave much room for “voluntary,” “maybe” or “probably.”

Property Values….

By settling the water problems for the area, this Agreement was supposed to stabilize the plummeting land values and not continue to hurt landowners financially. Ranchers were assured they would not be financially responsible for any fencing or riparian habitat improvement work done on their land as a result of the new requirements spawned by the Agreement.

In the finer print, however, it can be found that property titles and deeds MUST BE altered as easements and liens will be attached to properties. The statute ORS 554.190(1) states: “The notice shall be recorded in the office where deeds and other instruments affecting the title to real property are recorded …. Such notice hall be a covenant to and with the corporation and its members and creditors, attaching to and running with the described land and every part thereof, granting the rights privileges and liens [to the corporation}.”

The statute ORS 554.190(2) goes on to say: “Land described in the articles of incorporation shall be subject o any indebtedness incurred by the corporation, all debts and obligations of the corporation thereto and thereafter created shall be a lien upon the land described in the notice prior to every other lien attached to the land.”

Once in, you’re in!

Landowners were told to sign on to the Agreement and give it a few years. Then, if they decide they aren’t happy with the way it’s working, they can back out later. ORS 554.300 makes this reversal of decision extremely difficult at best: “No land can be excluded until its proportionate share of all existing debts of the corporation has been paid.” Also, it requires the vote of two-thirds majority of members present or by proxy at a regular or specially scheduled meeting to include or exclude land. Some landowners question whether or not they would be notified of these special meetings, thus allowing the Landowner Entity to “save itself” by loading the meeting with one-sided, pro-corporation voters.

Endless Questions….

With so many issues being discussed among ranchers, the questions are endless. Few have answers, and even fewer know where to go for the honest truth. As more awareness of these facts are being circulated throughout the community, time will tell how much momentum will be created by the movement to withdraw from the agreement.

# # #

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State eyes demands for water in Klamath County

Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Klamath Tribe, Threats to agriculture, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality, Watermaster Service



June 12, 2014

Washington Times



GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — State water masters on Thursday were evaluating demands from farmers in a federal irrigation project and from the Klamath Tribes to enforce their senior water rights in drought-stricken Klamath County, the Oregon Water Resources Department said.

The city of Klamath Falls was told to shut down some municipal drinking water wells to satisfy the calls from the Klamath Reclamation Project, which serves 1,200 farms straddling the Oregon-California border, water resources spokeswoman Racquel Rancier said.

However, the city intends to contest the order to shut down two wells, saying state law prioritizes human consumption, City Manager Nathan Cherpeski said.

One of the wells is high in manganese and only used as an auxiliary. The other serves the northern end of the city, including a hospital and the Oregon Institute of Technology.

Cherpeski said the city is hiring an expert to evaluate how much impact drawing water from that well has on Upper Klamath Lake, the primary reservoir for the Klamath Project. He said the well is only 180 feet inside a one-mile zone around the lake where wells can be shut down to satisfy water rights.

The city has never had to impose water rationing, and the City Council is likely to discuss the issue, he added. Future demands by water users could affect other city wells.

Klamath Water Users Association represents the irrigation districts serving farms on the Klamath Project. Director Greg Addington said that even with the water demand and groundwater pumping, some farmers would not get water this year. The drought has left reservoirs with no more than 60 percent of the water needed to serve the project.

Rancier said water masters are evaluating the situation on rivers flowing through the Klamath Tribes’ former reservation, where last year the demand for water forced ranchers to stop irrigating pastures. The tribes invoked their water rights to maintain stream flows for fish. This year’s call covers sections of the Sprague, Wood and Sycan rivers and several creeks.

Representatives of the tribes and ranchers irrigating from those rivers did not immediately return telephone calls for comment.

The tribes’ right dates to time immemorial, and the project’s right dates to 1905.

This is the second straight year of drought in Klamath County. Last year’s drought prompted ranchers to sign an agreement with the tribes on sharing during times of scarcity and improving fish habitat. Legislation to fund aspects of the agreement is pending in the U.S. Senate.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published


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Klamath drought settles in; calls for water begin

Agriculture, Air, Climate & Weather, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) – With another year of drought taking hold in the Klamath Basin and the irrigation season underway, water rights holders are putting in their claims.

It’s the second year for allocating surface water on the basis of a new state-level determination of who has priority, based on seniority: The older the claim date, the more senior the water right.

The Klamath Tribes hold the most senior water right but have not yet made a formal call for water this year, the Herald and News reported (http://bit.ly/1n9pB4L ).

Irrigation districts and the national wildlife refuges have made calls.

The tribes exercised their right last year in the interest of fish they hold sacred, keeping water in streams running through their former reservation lands.

“I don’t know if we are going to be regulating or not. It’s too early to tell,” said Scott White, watermaster at the Klamath Falls office of the Oregon Water Resources Department office.

Flows into Upper Klamath Lake and the snow pack at Crater Lake are well below averages – 6 percent of normal at one observation point in the national park.

Irrigators in a district along the Oregon-California border have enough water now because of mid-May rain, but the heaviest demand comes as the crops emerge in June and face the heat of July.

“Everybody is pretty worried about what’s going to happen later,” said Ron Fenster, watermaster of the Tulelake Irrigation District.

Wildlife such as birds using wetlands on the Pacific Flyway are likely to suffer. Acting Manager Greg Austin said the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge hasn’t had water deliveries since November, and it is expected to be dry by the end of July.

The forecast through August is expected to be warmer and drier than normal, said Ryan Sandler, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“We’re not going to get any real relief,” he said.


Information from: Herald and News, http://www.heraldandnews.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/3/klamath-drought-settles-in-calls-for-water-begin/#ixzz34OQ0UwtD
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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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