Upper Klamath Lake (photo: Bureau of Reclamation)

Court says Bureau of Reclamation broke law with Klamath water distribution

Upper Klamath Lake (photo: Bureau of Reclamation)

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – A recent court ruling in favor of the Klamath Tribes says the Bureau of Reclamation broke the law when it came to giving water to agriculture.

On Monday, the judge said the Bureau of Reclamation’s obligations to the Endangered Species Act take precedence over agricultural needs.

This comes after the Klamath Tribes sued the Bureau for not doing enough to protect endangered fish in the lakes in the Klamath Project.

Tribal officials say the finding doesn’t come without recognizing the impact it will have on agriculture.

“We are not uncaring,” said tribal Chairman Clayton Dumont Jr.  “We understand that folks need to make a living but we have long since insisted that the only way forward for all of us, for endangered species, for tribal peoples, and for the ag community is to repair the ecosystem so that it’s sustainable”

Chairman Dumont says this was a necessary step to make sure waterways have enough water for endangered fish to spawn.

A judge still has to issue a final decision.

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Taylar Ansures is a producer and reporter for NBC5 News. Taylar is from Redding, California and went to California State University, Chico. After graduating, she joined KRCR News Channel 7 in Redding as a morning producer. She moved to Southern Oregon in 2022 to be closer to family and became KTVL News 10’s digital producer. Taylar is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Professional Creative Writing through the University of Denver. In her free time, Taylar frequents independent bookstores and explores hiking trails across Southern Oregon and Northern California.
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