Basin and Strange
The Bush administration gave the first indication yesterday of how it would work to resolve the water wars in the Klamath Basin on the Oregon-California border — and enviros immediately warned that the administration was kowtowing to farmers while giving short shrift to endangered fish. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has proposed that area farmers receive nearly a full supply of irrigation water over the next decade, with the option of selling some water back to the government to help fish. The plan must still be reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for its impacts on endangered suckers and threatened coho salmon. Enviros said the proposal would hurt commercial fishers and tribes, as well as the fish. Last year, drought conditions led to significant cutbacks in delivery of irrigation water, prompting protests by farmers that drew national attention.