By Associated Press - Friday, May 2, 2014

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - A landmark water-sharing agreement between the Klamath Tribes and cattle ranchers is getting startup money as continuing drought promises more irrigation restrictions this summer.

Full implementation of the agreement still requires approval from Congress, but the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Friday that it is providing $4.5 million this year and $11 over five years to get things started.

Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden say the money will go for water conservation, water quality improvements and fish habitat restoration in the Sprague, Wood and Williamson river basins.

Richard Whitman, natural resources adviser to the governor, says state and federal agencies have put together another $4 million to start paying ranchers to refrain from irrigating pastures to assure water for fish and downstream irrigators.

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