SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory - High Wind Watch - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Klamath Lake Water Fight Continues as Farmer Reps Strike Back

After the Klamath Tribes sued for higher mandated water levels in the lake, the organization representing area farmers is fighting to have their lawsuit dismissed.

Posted: Jun 8, 2018 12:23 PM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 9:46 AM

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — A lawsuit filed against federal authorities in May by the Klamath Tribes was done in the wrong jurisdiction, according to a statement from the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA).

The KWUA represents a coalition of Klamath County irrigators and farmers who fear that attempts to preserve fish populations in the Klamath Basin will lock them out of receiving any water for their livelihoods. The Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Klamath Tribes have spearheaded those efforts to rehabilitate fish—some of which are already being enforced by courts.

CLICK HERE for background on the ongoing struggle between water users and local tribes over water allocation.

The Klamath Tribes' lawsuit alleges that water levels at Upper Klamath Lake need to maintained at an even higher level in order to revive declining populations of sucker fish. That lawsuit was filed at a federal District Court in San Francisco.

According to the KWUA, San Franciso is "not a proper venue under the law."

“There are laws about where a lawsuit can be filed,” said Ben DuVal, a KWUA board member and President of the Modoc County Farm Bureau. “You can’t just file a lawsuit in New Jersey because that is where you want to go. That’s what our motion says. The Klamath Tribes lawsuit claims that part of the Klamath Project is in the judicial district based in San Francisco, but that’s not correct.”

However, previous rulings on the Klamath Project have come from the District Court in San Francisco. Judge William Orrick sided with the Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribes to enforce "disease management flows"—maintaining water levels in Upper Klamath Lake and then occasionally flushing them into the Klamath River to prevent the spread of disease among fish like the Coho salmon.

The Klamath Tribes have a hearing with the same judge on July 11. According to KWUA President Brad Kirby, an injunction issued by Judge Orrick would shut down water for the Klamath Project until the year 2020.

“They want to require Upper Klamath to be held at unprecedented and artificially high elevations for suckers year-around,” said Kirby. “I wouldn’t expect there to be any water at all available for Klamath Project irrigation and wildlife refuges until there are new biological opinions, which is not expected until 2020.”

Below is a drawing submitted by a KWUA supporter outlining the water districts that make up the Klamath Project.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 353368

Reported Deaths: 4226
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55417699
Washington38425317
Marion36469448
Clackamas29440306
Lane27431300
Jackson22837305
Deschutes19958125
Umatilla14358145
Linn12672126
Douglas11962243
Josephine9307195
Yamhill8621111
Klamath7846116
Polk724881
Malheur555376
Benton541931
Coos495494
Columbia377043
Jefferson367752
Union316548
Lincoln315438
Wasco284840
Crook281846
Clatsop242029
Baker199928
Tillamook195529
Hood River190537
Morrow183423
Curry179425
Harney111926
Grant99512
Lake91012
Wallowa67612
Gilliam1524
Sherman1483
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4830872

Reported Deaths: 70874
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147942126446
Riverside3706085008
San Diego3652534170
San Bernardino3576395606
Orange3235695531
Sacramento1587852294
Fresno1453782063
Kern1452271616
Santa Clara1451271895
Alameda1203661384
San Joaquin1023411721
Ventura1008491165
Contra Costa99712995
Stanislaus857501325
Tulare79627958
San Francisco54266644
San Mateo54023622
Monterey50792583
Solano45934339
Santa Barbara45047522
Merced42089579
Sonoma40865402
Placer39157420
Imperial35832764
Kings32649320
San Luis Obispo29837331
Madera23720285
Butte23673265
Shasta23574349
Santa Cruz20943218
Yolo20266248
Marin17665244
El Dorado17097149
Sutter13861172
Napa12864100
Yuba1001982
Tehama9433107
Humboldt9180107
Nevada911690
Mendocino758487
Lassen753046
San Benito741672
Tuolumne682889
Lake6583104
Amador540764
Siskiyou446442
Glenn434232
Calaveras386580
Del Norte357441
Colusa303018
Inyo205540
Mono16643
Plumas16126
Mariposa132315
Trinity86911
Modoc6755
Unassigned2120
Sierra1820
Alpine1030
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
Brookings
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 45°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 45°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 34°
Strong winds tonight
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events