CORVALLIS - Oregon State University and the University of California at Davis are inviting the public to join forces with them Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the OSU Extension Service's Klamath County office to help with a water-related study in the Klamath Basin.
Farmers, conservationists, commercial fishers, Native Americans and others in the basin, which spans parts of southern Oregon and northern California, are struggling with water-related issues.
Goals of the meeting include sharing what university scientists are learning in a baseline assessment of environmental, economic, institutional and social issues in the basin, and gathering "local knowledge" for the assessment," said Tom Gallagher, an OSU extension specialist. "We're asking local people to look at what we have done to date and help us make this assessment better," said Gallagher. "We're also asking people who live elsewhere around Oregon and have various kinds of knowledge and expertise to help us with this effort."
Research for the assessment began last summer. The schedule for the Dec. 19 meeting calls for university scientists and extension educators to present brief overviews of a first draft of the team's report, then answer questions and listen to comments from interested individuals. The meeting, at the Klamath County Extension Office at 3328 Vandenburg Road, Klamath Falls, will run from 1 to 5:30 p.m.
"It's going to be really important that people who want to participate in the Dec. 19 meeting, and improve our baseline assessment, read the draft, or at least the sections that interest them, before they come to the meeting," said Ron Hathaway, chair of OSU's Klamath County Extension Office.
Copies of the report draft, about 200 pages long, will be available on the World Wide Web starting Dec. 14. Print shops in Klamath Falls will be able to use the web document to print parts, or all, of the report draft for a nominal charge, said Hathaway.
Also, complete copies of the draft will be available for review at several locations in the communities of Klamath Falls, Malin and Merrill beginning on Dec. 14, he said. Call the Klamath County Extension Office at 541-883-7131 to learn the locations.
Individuals who cannot attend the Dec. 19 meeting will be able to submit questions or comments about the report draft via e-mail. The e-mail address will be listed on the web site.
The schedule for the Dec. 19 meeting:
- 1 to 1: 30 p.m.: Introduction and background briefing on Klamath Basin issues and the report draft;
- 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Overview presentation, then public questions and comments about the report's natural resource section (which looks at water, fish and wildlife topics);
- 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Overview presentation, then public questions and comments about the report's people, community and economics section;
- 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Overview presentation, then public questions and comments about the report's policy, institutions and the law section;
- 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Opportunities for informal question and answer sessions with report authors.
According to Gallagher, the team will complete its report in early March.
The OSU assessment team includes economists, wildlife and fish ecologists, and agricultural and social scientists.
Gallagher said specific goals of the assessment include:
- Increasing understanding of what is known, and not known, about natural resources, people, economics and institutions in the Klamath Basin.
- Providing interested parties a set of references on a wide range of subjects related to Klamath water allocation.
- Exploring policy and water allocation alternatives.
- Proposing future actions and research to address particular information needs and reduce remaining uncertainties.
- Assessing potential (and, where possible, documented) consequences of a federal Bureau of Reclamation decision to withhold irrigation water.
The assessment team hopes that identifying potential impacts and subjects that need additional investigation will assist local, state and federal official who may make decisions about the future of the Klamath Basin, Gallagher noted.