Wednesday July 3, 2024

Herald and News

KWUA was honored to host U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon for a meeting with irrigation leaders from the Klamath Project. Board members from KWUA and its constituent districts spoke with the Senator about priority issues affecting Klamath Basin agriculture.

“Senator Merkley has always been generous with his personal time with us, and he and his staff are quick to respond when they hear from us,” said KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons.

The meeting focused on infrastructure and opportunities for rehydrating the basin for multiple benefits, the immediate challenge of grasshopper infestations damaging crops, and the current water year.

“Given the changes of climate and drought we are experiencing, if we don’t help the irrigators in the west we are going to lose a massive amount of agriculture,” said Senator Merkley.

KWUA leadership also described ongoing concerns about how the Endangered Species Act is administered in the Klamath Basin, and the need for a fair and open process. These discussions echoed those at a meeting at KWUA in March 2023, when Senator Wyden escorted Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on a tour of the Klamath Basin.

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