Klamath Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act
Seeking to replace long-running conflicts over scarce water resources in the Klamath River Basin with a predictable foundation for economic growth and conservation, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have introduced the Klamath Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act.
Klamath Basin Agreement Signing on April 18, 2014/Photo Credit: Dept. of Interior
Back row (L-R): Interior Secretary Jewell, Senator Wyden, California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, Senator Merkley, Undersecretary of the Dept of Commerce Dr. Kathryn Sullivan; Front (L-R): Garrett Roseberry (Sprague River Water Resources Group), Roger Nicholson (Fort Klamath Critical Habitat Landowners), Gov. Kitzhaber, Klamath Tribal Chair Don Gentry, Becky Hyde (Upper Klamath Water Users Association)
This bill puts into law landmark agreements that were hammered out by Klamath Basin stakeholders, including the recently signed Upper Basin Agreement, which will allow the Department of the Interior to carry out overdue restoration work. The legislation sets out a cooperative water management plan designed to protect fish and wildlife and provide more predictable water supplies for farmers and ranchers. It also permanently protects and enhances riparian areas, restoring hundreds of miles of fish habitat and getting additional water to the National Wildlife Refuges. As a result of the bill and restoration efforts, more than 4,000 jobs are anticipated to be created or preserved including those in farming, ranching, commercial and recreational fishing, and construction in and near the basin.
The Upper Basin agreement grew out of a task force convened by Sen. Wyden, Sen. Merkley, Rep. Greg Walden and Gov. John Kitzhaber, following a roundtable Wyden chaired on Klamath Basin issues in June 2013.
Map of the Klamath River Basin from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation:
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