Thursday, June 17, 2010

Critical Planning Process For Klamath Refuges Gets Underway

Below is an alert from Waterwatch of Oregon concerning the planning process for Klamath River Basin Wildlife Refuges. That process is just getting underway.

The refuges are a big part of the Klamath River water supply, provides critical habitat for 80% of Pacific Flyway birds and host the largest wintering population of Bald Eagles in the USA outside Alaska. Their are few environmental issues in the Klamath River Basin more important to our water and wildlife future.

Below the alert is background information on refuge issues also from Waterwatch. Please add your voice to those advocating that Klamath Refuges be managed for wildlife and not held hostage to commercial agriculture. Restoring Lower Klamath Lake is also the best option for cleaning up the Klamath while providing improved flows. This is ONE river basin!

The alert provides contact information - including the e-mail address - for submitting a comment or letter. The deadline is June 28th. Please do it!

Take Action to Support Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges

The Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) process has just begun for the Klamth Basin National Wildlife refuge Complex, including two of the nation’s most important national wildlife refuges, Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge (LKNWR) and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge (TLNWR).  The CCP that is developed will guide refuge management on each refuge for the next 15 years. See the following links for more information:  .

In developing the CCP, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to review all refuge activities to ensure they are compatible with refuge purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  This gives the public a tremendous opportunity to participate in the future management of these refuges, to explore the best opportunities for securing the water that the refuges need, and to push for phasing out the extensive and harmful commercial farming that occurs on these refuges.

The United States Fish & Wildlife Service is gathering ideas and suggestions concerning long-term management of the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and is accepting scoping comments until June 28, 2010.

Please send or e-mail comments to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service by June 28, 2010 to:
          Michelle Barry, Refuge Planner
          U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
          Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex
         4009 Hill Road
         Tulelake, CA 96134

Let the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) know you support:

   * Managing these important refuges for conserving and restoring migrating birds, fish, wildlife, and their habitats first above all other uses.

    * Restoring the historic lake beds of Lower Klamath Lake and Tule Lake within the boundaries of the refuge.

    * Phasing out commercial farming on the refuges and using those refuge lands to store winter water and manage for refuge purposes.

    * Curtailing commercial farming on the refuges in any year that the refuges are not receiving their full water supply and requiring the water rights associated with the refuge lands farmed for commercial agriculture be delivered to refuge wetlands rather than for irrigating 22,000 acres of refuge land for commercial farming.

Request USFWS to:

    * Identify the affects that commercial farming has on the populations and habitats of fish, wildlife, and plants in the refuges and the actions necessary to correct such problems.

    * Assess whether this commercial farming program is consistent with refuge purposes under the Kuchel Act and compatible with refuge purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System under the National Wildlife System Improvement Act of 1997.

    * Develop a plan to secure the water needed for maintaining refuge wetlands that considers water right acquisitions with willing sellers, storage of winter water for refuge use, and curtailing water use for irrigating commercial farms.

    * Consider managing the refuges consistent with a more natural hydrological regime.

    * Consider routing commercial traffic off of Stateline Road, a lower speed limit, and more pull over areas for the public.