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Klamath Falls Crisis

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the paper is about the water crisis that is taking place right now in the Klamath Falls are of Oregon. It discusses the many problems that the different groups of interest are dealing with. The main group that I focused on was the view point of the farmers.

The Klamath Lake, along with other various rivers, lakes and canals that surround it, are the basis for almost 500 species of wildlife in southern Oregon and parts of northern California. It also serves as the most important factor in a farmer’s livelihood; their irrigation. The basis for the water crisis that is going to today in this region is that the current water levels and somewhat water quality are diminishing and reeking havoc on the area’s wildlife. The most notable argument from our guest lecturers and Steve Kandra (our somewhat uninvited tour guide), is that the water levels are too shallow for the two species of sucker fish to fully mature and to spawn. This makes it difficult to the many other species that rely on the sucker for a source of food, the most popular being the bald eagle, which is also an endangered species. Aside from the wildlife issues, the other main issue involved in this water crisis is the right to water usage. Some of these water rights date back many years but, they are still having difficulty deciding who gets to use the water and exactly how much they should use. There are also many other parties involved in this crisis, aside from environmentalists and irrigators, which I feel, are left out and many people don’t realize their role in the crisis.

Coming from a finance background myself, I feel that one of the major stake holders in this issue that are being overlooked are the local business owners as well as the businesses that purchase goods from the Klamath area businesses. Since many of the family farmers around this area are unable to irrigate, they have no crop to sell. This in turn means they either have no income to purchase goods or in the worst case scenario, they might have to sell some of the assets to pay for their living expenses. These assets could include anything from faming equipment to the land itself. Having been to the Klamath Falls area personally, I noticed that it is not a very wealthy town, to say the least. You will notice that there are not a lot of corporate firms compared to family run businesses.

Another group of interest that was only touched on very slightly was the Native Americans. It seemed that most of the controversy in the water crisis was either about water rights issues or about the current water levels compared to the fish population, which in turn had effects on the endangered species of this area. Very rarely did anyone speak about the Native American’s wants or needs concerning the Klamath River water crisis. The Natives feel that they should have some say about what decisions are going to be made concerning the area since they have been in the Klamath are longer than any other group.

As little as the Native Americans were discussed, the needs of the commercial fisherman were even less than them. I don’t think more than one person out of all the guest lecturers and people we heard from on our class trip had discussed any of the feelings of the fisherman. I’m not quite certain which guest lecturer talked about their needs, but they did mention that the commercial fisherman felt that they had an economic right to fish the waters of the Klamath. Much like the Natives, fishing these waters is a way of life for these fisherman and they felt as if it was being taken away from them.

One of the groups of interest that we discussed in class one day completely slipped my mind from ever being involved in the water crisis. The political parties, both Democrat and Republican, are also somewhat involved in the issues at the Klamath Basin. The reason I never thought about either of these groups is because we never discussed them more than one time and it was after our trip. It’s difficult to give an emic perspective of these two groups because they are more indirectly involved. They way it was explained to me during a class lecture was that depending on which political party is in office, one of the opposing groups in the water crisis debates felt that because they had support from the government on a federal level, they didn’t have to try as had during negotiations to compromise their position. They felt that since the president saw it from their stand point that they didn’t have to budge on their position. This leads me into the next interest group.

Attorneys and litigators have been brought into this conflict because many of the parties involved feel that they are getting no where in the negotiations and some have decided to let their lawyers battle it out in court. This is especially true for irrigators who hold water rights and feel that they are entitled to

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