Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, January 26 2012 at 4:12 PM, Updated: Thu, January 26 2012 at 4:41 PM
A healthy watershed in the Upper Klamath Basin could also help to create a healthy economy, thanks to a 400 thousand dollar grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
Shannon Peterson of the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust says "The funds that are coming in are going to be focused on the Upper Klamath Watershed, so the area where all the water flows into Upper Klamath Lake."
That 400 thousand dollars provides for an additional 400 thousand dollars from US Fish and Wildlife for restoration projects. Sue Mattenberger of US Fish and Wildlife commented on the variety of those projects: "We do fencing, we do river restoration, we've been working in the woodlands doing thinning."
Dr. Karl Wenner believes that the latest grant marks the start of a long term commitment by the state, noting that the number of jobs is "Quite significant." Wenner adds that the financial investment could be significant, too.
"An example would be the Deschutes, where 10 million dollars roughly, have been spent over the past four to six years doing restoration efforts there."
Dr. Wenner says that most of the projects will take place on private land, and the public will benefit.
"It's primarily to address the water quality, quantity, and fish and wildlife habitat issues here in the Klamath Basin."
Shannon Peterson believes that's good business.
"I hesitate to use the phrase 'restoration economy', because i think that phrase is overused - but that really is a growing sector of the basin here."
Thirteen restoration projects have already been identified for the next year.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.