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Wyden Praises Progress of Klamath River Basin Task Force

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, September 20 2013 at 5:50 PM, Updated: Fri, September 20 2013 at 6:01 PM

Senator Ron Wyden says he hopes to have legislation in place by the end of October that will help ease water problems in the Klamath Basin.

Senator Wyden had high praise today for progress made by the Klamath River Basin Task Force...

"(they) Have written the textbook on how to build consensus in terms of natural resources."

Wyden commissioned the task force in June to fine-tune the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, or K.B.R.A., so it would appeal to a wider group at a cheaper cost...improving its chances of Congressional passage.

Klamath Tribal Chairman Don Gentry notes that some ways have been found to help cut those costs...

"So there's been some opportunity identified to bring in some non-federal dollars to reduce the costs."

Senator Wyden notes that, and other efforts could result in a 38% savings...

"Looking to reduce the cost of this perhaps to 250 to 300 million dollars over 10 years, instead of the original 800 million dollars."

While a final plan isn't likely to end all legal battles over water, the Governor's Natural Resource Policy Advisor Richard Whitman says it will go a long way...

"We are looking for in effect a comprehensive resolution of the adjudication."

Chairman Gentry notes the group is still working to hammer out ways to get cheaper power to farmers and ranchers...

"There's progress that's been made on the power issue, but there's - legislation is necessary to move forward with that for the off-project."

Wyden notes that balancing water needs for tribes, fish, and farmers has involved a lot of compromise...

"Nobody gets everything they believe they deserve.  The question is, can all the parties get what they need."

The Klamath River Basin Task Force has been given a little more time to complete their project.

They're scheduled to meet again in Klamath Falls on October tenth.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

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.

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