- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2002

From combined dispatches
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. The Bureau of Reclamation yesterday proposed making full water deliveries to Klamath Basin farmers this year after a summer of conflict over government efforts to protect wild fish.
The plan must be reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its effect on endangered suckers and by the National Marine Fisheries Service for its effect on threatened coho salmon.
The announcement signals good news for farmers, but is "not a done deal," Rob Gordon, director of the National Wildlife Institute, told The Washington Times last night.
"In the short run, an increase in water may be a reprieve for farmers and others whose existence is precarious, but their fate is still dependent on the whim of regulators," Mr. Gordon said.
The proposal drew immediate objections from commercial fishing and environmental groups who said they would sue if necessary to ensure enough water was allocated for the fish.
Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations said the plan tries to assert that "all the water belongs to irrigators."
The Klamath project was begun in 1907 to irrigate the arid Klamath Basin on the Oregon-California line. The project last year became the center of a bitter water fight among farmers, the federal government, Indian tribes, commercial fishermen and environmentalists.
In the summer, environmental groups won a lawsuit that forced the government to shut off irrigation water to about 220,000 acres so there was enough water for the fish.

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