Klamath irrigators to get their fill of water


Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) -- Irrigators in the Klamath River Basin this week started receiving what will likely be a full allotment of water for this summer despite dry conditions that could leave little for the region's protected fish species.
Last year, a die-off killed more than 33,000 salmon in the lower Klamath River -- nearly a quarter of the projected fall run in the river flowing from south central Oregon through northwest California.

Federal water managers have asked a federal judge for permission to send extra water down the Trinity River of Northern California, if necessary, to offset low flows from the Klamath Basin.

Officials of the Bureau of Reclamation said flexibility to release more water into the Trinity would help them head off another fish kill, while a series of other measures would let them fulfill the water needs of Klamath farmers and protected suckers and coho salmon.

But conservation and fishing groups and American Indian tribes will argue at an April 29 court hearing in Oakland, Calif., that the federal approach does not supply enough water for fish in a year when the Klamath Basin's water supply stands at scarcely half its normal amount.


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