Friday February 17, 2023

Capital Press

More legal battles are brewing in the Klamath Basin as tribes and irrigators jockey for water amid ongoing drought.

The Klamath Tribes filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation on Jan. 30, arguing the agency is failing to meet minimum water requirements in Upper Klamath Lake for C’waam and Koptu — two species of critically endangered sucker fish.

At the same time, the Yurok Tribe in northern California is also challenging Reclamation’s latest water proposal to protect salmon in the lower Klamath River.

The result could be that little to no Project water is available for irrigators this summer, leaving thousands of acres of productive farmland dry.

For water managers, it is a difficult balancing act made all the more painful by four consecutive years of drought in the region.

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