Fix Whole Ecosystem, Not Bits and Pieces, Klamath Water Report Says

Both environmentalists and farmers were vindicated by a report released yesterday by the National Research Council on the contested waters of Oregon’s Klamath Basin. The report, the final and most comprehensive one in an ongoing battle over the region’s water sources, recommended sweeping repairs to a damaged landscape, including removing dams that inhibit fish migration, restoring wetlands, and returning water to rivers and lakes. “If there’s one central theme, it’s that the failures of the past are the result of not taking an ecosystem approach,” said Jeffrey Mount, a professor at the University of California at Davis who helped write the report. That was welcome news to farmers, whose irrigation practices were not found by the council to be the major cause of declining water levels and dying salmon. Enviros were also largely pleased with the report, although they feared that insufficient water would be reserved for salmon runs until its recommendations were fully implemented.