Thoughtful ideas for the Klamath Basin

January 29, 2003

By Gaylord Brown

Klamath Falls, Oregon

In the past there was talk of forming a group of (local) people for the purpose of purchasing the Barnes Ranch for the storing of irrigation water. This fell through for several reasons.

Nine million dollars! This is a great deal of money and remember, the water was shut off in 2001. As you must have read, the area was devested.

The people, the Refuge and fine farming and ranching ground were left to blow away in the wind.

Because of this dark cloud, that still hangs over the Klamath Basin, it is good to attempt this new idea.

We all believe in private ownership, but if this is not to be so for the Barnes Ranch, we have encouraged our U.S. Representative, Greg Walden, to negotiate this sale to the Federal Government -- stipulating that the property be turned over to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Warm water stored (50,000 acre feet) on the Barnes ranch, will not help the salmon. However, we think it will solidify the position of the irrigators and keep the Klamath Basin ranchers and farmers producing their crops.

Postscript: In 1990 and 1991 I managed a large ranch, 3,300 acres during one of the worst droughts ever recorded in Klamath. During those years, with the Basin under full production, there were no fish kills.

If memory serves me correctly, in that year the Williamson River had the lowest river flows ever recorded.