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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

"Today, a portion of the water on our ranch and all of the water for a neighboring ranch that we rent was shut off, thanks to the government and the Klamath tribes."

newsletter from Brandan Toppin, Flying T Salers Ranch, Sprague River 6/21/13

Hi Friends,

 The water that was shut off is the oldest water used in the whole basin with an 1864 water right. The irrigation that was shut off was constructed for the Klamath tribes and operated by them every year till they sold it. During all of those years not once did the tribes shut off the water for any reason. What has changed that they want to turn it off now?

I understand that the newspaper has not been reporting what has been happening out here very well, if at all. The water master told us today that every one above Klamath lake will have their water shut off as soon as the water master can get to them. This is a big issue that everyone in the county should know about as it is on the same scale as 2001 when the project was shut off.

I am not one for omens but if there are such things one was seen today. Today was a clear, calm day. Just as the water master pulled the first board on the diversion, the wind came up and for almost a minute it blew hard enough that people lost their hats and for a few seconds it actually held the water back as if this was not meant to be and that the board should be put back in. Whatever may have caused the wind to blow learned that it is hard to fight the US government when it has it mind made up. For us, this is our life so we have to fight or go out of business. The next step is to hope the judge in town will grant us a stay at a reasonable value. Without that several hundred acres of our fall pasture stays dry resulting in less feed for the cattle and next year we expect the government to turn off all of our water including the wells. When that happens you may need to start buying sucker fish as we may be forced out of the cattle business.

As a side note this is not just people that they are hurting. On our place the government just dried up several hundred acres of wetlands. The duck that I was intending to talk about in this newsletter who I have enjoyed watching swim up and down the ditches with her young ducklings who can not fly yet, will soon lose her ducklings as the ditch and surrounding ground dries up and the coyotes start killing them. The sandhills that I talked about in my last newsletter will probably live as the young one can fly now. The other smaller birds who can not fly yet and rely on the wet ground to protect them from predators are going to have a hard raising their young. What I am seeing on the ranch is just a small sample. This year there will be tens of thousands of acres of wet lands dried up. Next year there could be close to a hundred thousand acres of land dried up, a good chunk of which could be counted as wetlands.

On July 1st we are planning a unique parade/convoy the like of which I have never heard of before. We are expecting Fox news to be there and with luck maybe some of the other big news groups. If you would like to help, please join us in supporting local agriculture by grouping July 1st at 9:00AM at the fairgounds, where we will get organized then carpool as much as possible to rally in font of the government building July 1st at 10:00 and watch the parade go by. The more people we can have there for the press the better. Look for another Email with more details in the coming week.


Brandan Toppin


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