Yesterday was a big day for TU - a seriously big day. After years of concerted effort and leadership by our very own Brian Johnson, as well as his predecessor Chuck Bonham, with many setbacks along the way, and bedeviled by drought, total water cut-offs, massive salmon kills, and Siskiyou County's unique view of the world, we finally reached a long-dreamed-of milestone on the Klamath River.
Yesterday afternoon, four members of the U.S. Senate introduced legislation that will authorize and pay for key elements of the three formal agreements now in place between Klamath Basin water users, Tribes, farmers and ranchers, a major utility, conservation groups, local and state governments, and resource management agencies. These agreements collectively resolve virtually all of the issues (including water sharing, listed species recovery, commercial and sport fishing, hydropower operations and infrastructure, river management, Tribal rights, wildlife refuge needs, and irrigation requirements) that have undermined a comprehensive solution for the Klamath for decades.
As you know, restoring the Klamath River and bolstering its fabled runs of salmon and steelhead has been one of TU's highest priority conservation campaigns for a long time. The Klamath agreements, and this new legislation, provide for removal of four dams in the lower river and re-opening of more than 350 miles of historic habitat for salmon and steelhead. So please join me in giving Brian and Chuck a hearty salute for their role in getting us to this point on the Klamath, the source of some of the most bitter water wars in the West over the last 50 years.
Here is TU's blog on the news, with a link to our press release: http://www.tu.org/blog-posts/tu-applauds-senate-action-on-klamath-river. And here is a link to the article in the Eureka Times-Standard on the news, which includes verbatim the press release we co-signed with most of our major partners for this historic occasion: http://www.times-standard.com/breakingnews/ci_25809154/wyden-merkley-feinstein-boxer-introduce-klamath-basin-legislation.