Yesterday, July 18th, nearly 20 conservation groups, irrigation districts and agriculture-related groups sent a letter to Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke.
Their concern? The impact to wildlife refuges and waterfowl should the plaintiffs prevail in their litigation that will be heard tomorrow, July 20th, in a San Francisco courtroom. The Klamath Basin is an important stop for migrating birds on the Pacific Flyway, so much so that in 1908, via executive order President Teddy Roosevelt established the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
“Tragically, due to the Upper Basin’s extremely limited surface water supply, combined with the regulatory actions called out by the BiOp, very little Project water is available for wetland habitat management or to grow beneficial food crops for waterfowl on these refuges in even the wettest of water years. Lower Klamath NWR last received water in mid-December 2017 and – due to current drought conditions, BiOp constraints and court ordered requirements – there are currently no water deliveries scheduled for the refuge. ”
The letter also goes into the impact this would cause for tourism as birdwatchers and hunters numbers go elsewhere.
Many of us are aware of the negative impact this litigation will have on our communities, but sometimes forget the impact on everything in this Basin. We’re happy to see others speaking out in support of Klamath Basin wildlife.
To learn more, read the PDF versions of the press release sent out by these groups as well as their letter to Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke.