SEVERE WX : Freeze Watch View Alerts

Farmers organize convoy to call attention to water issues in Klamath Basin

Local farmers in the Klamath Basin organized a convoy to protest for the shutdown of the Klamath Irrigation Project.

Posted: May 29, 2020 5:45 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 9:36 AM

MERRILL, Ore. – Local farmers in the Klamath Basin organized a convoy to protest for the shutdown of the Klamath Irrigation Project.

“The biggest single problem in the basin is that the water system is over-appropriated, it’s a broken system,” said Glen Spain, Northwest Regional Director of Pacific Coast of Fisherman Associations.

Over-appropriation impacts the Yurok Tribe, the west coast fishing industry and the farming community. Today’s convoy was organized by local farmers who say they need more water. They aren’t alone in that need. The Klamath Irrigation Program was initially put into place about 20 years ago with the goal of boosting fish populations, specifically sucker fish in the Upper Klamath Lake. Famers that spoke to NewsWatch 12 say there hasn’t been enough progress within fish populations to justify hurting farmers.

“Why are we keeping the lake full of water to kill fish? 20 years, they haven’t gotten one more sucker fish in that lake, so what’s going on?” said Bob Gasser, one of the organizers of the convoy.

Farmers are hoping today’s convoy will catch national attention and spark change.

“A success from today would be the eyes of the nation upon us and that’s from the West Coast to the East Coast; from Sacramento and Salem to Washington D.C. and if we can get those kind of eyes on us and they can understand how the policy decisions are killing ag economies across the west, that’s the best we can hope for,” said Scott Seus, a farmer that participated in the convoy.

The convoy came just a week after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled against an emergency motion filed by the Yurok Tribe, asking for more water to be released into the Klamath Project. When speaking to NewsWatch 12, the Vice Chair for the Yurok Tribe emphasized that the Klamath River is literally the lifeline of the Yurok People.

“The median income on the reservation is $11,000 and so when you break it down to the numbers, cost per protein, salmon is really a vital part of our tribe, just to survive,” said Frankie Meyers, the Vice Chair for the Yurok Tribe.

“We are in favor of the farmers working through this, we are in favor of a solution that keeps all of our communities whole, we’re all working together, we’re all tied together by this umbilical cord called the Klamath River,” said Spain.

Farmers tell NewsWatch 12, they do want to see the fish population flourish in their area but they continue to sacrifice their farms in order to do it.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320990

Reported Deaths: 3682
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah52083644
Washington35615280
Marion33366399
Clackamas27185275
Lane24597256
Jackson21336267
Deschutes17215104
Umatilla13006129
Douglas10969202
Linn1083488
Josephine8772173
Yamhill7704101
Klamath666493
Polk642172
Malheur494667
Benton474228
Coos436272
Columbia333539
Jefferson325747
Lincoln283430
Union280938
Wasco248139
Crook220639
Clatsop217526
Tillamook185123
Baker180524
Morrow170721
Curry168617
Hood River165835
Harney88318
Grant8678
Lake7418
Wallowa54012
Gilliam1404
Sherman1333
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4680552

Reported Deaths: 68599
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles145417226013
Riverside3600584843
San Diego3543914051
San Bernardino3490475540
Orange3162215384
Sacramento1516592138
Santa Clara1411661844
Fresno1373871927
Kern1369321532
Alameda1168001333
San Joaquin983511628
Ventura982921134
Contra Costa96331924
Stanislaus814771256
Tulare74142898
San Mateo52540612
San Francisco52328615
Monterey49733567
Solano44452312
Santa Barbara43353505
Merced39734546
Sonoma39609384
Placer37033367
Imperial34462755
Kings30419293
San Luis Obispo28582318
Madera22042263
Butte21781236
Shasta21374290
Santa Cruz20255214
Yolo19359239
Marin17200242
El Dorado16194130
Sutter13228154
Napa1235295
Yuba937161
Nevada856885
Tehama843786
Humboldt843093
San Benito711470
Mendocino698476
Lassen653027
Tuolumne623393
Lake613592
Amador498859
Glenn407530
Siskiyou406241
Calaveras351170
Del Norte342035
Colusa293918
Inyo168539
Mono15145
Plumas12676
Mariposa102713
Trinity74310
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1370
Alpine1010
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 62°
Brookings
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 62°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 66°
Cloudy, cool, and damp Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events