Feb 192015
 

Statement by Hollie Cannon, executive director of the Klamath Water and Power Agency, in response to the whistleblower complaint filed by PEER (received and posted Feb. 19)

This is nothing more than a petty and spiteful attack on the Klamath Basin's family farms and ranches from a disgruntled former BOR employee and an organization that is prone to hyperbole.

KWAPA was formed to assist the federal government and the irrigation community in preparation for implementation of a landmark water sharing agreement, which was negotiated amongst farmers, ranchers, conservation organizations, refuge interests, tribes and governments.

This action won't help the environment or any individual; it will only hurt struggling farms and ranches reeling from a third consecutive year of drought. Unfortunately, it is these sorts of malicious union attacks that give good public employees a bad name.

The specific allegations concerning authority of Reclamation to engage with KWAPA in the WUMP will have to be addressed by Reclamation. However, the allegations that the Water User Mitigation Program (WUMP) did not attain the task of “benefit of fish and wildlife habitat” is absolutely false.  The Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge (LKLNWR) gets all the attention because it has suffered greatly since the impacts of ESA-caused water shortages beginning in 2001. PEER and others should also keep in mind what the situation [would be] without the WUMP.  Without question, the WUMP has provided water that allowed the LKLNWR to receive water it would not have in 2010, 2012 and 2013.  The Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge has been 100% watered (this refuge also provides habitat for endangered suckers).  Crops grown on private land provide tremendous benefit to wildlife for shelter and food.  Without the WUMP there would have been thousands of acres of farmland that would not have produced crops and the associated wildlife benefit.

As far as the administration of the WUMP by KWAPA, we are very careful to adhere to the requirements of the Office of Management and Budget.  An independent audit of the KWAPA financials is conducted each year and is available for public review.  Reclamation conducted a Procedures Review of the WUMP in 2013 as well.

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