Report says Klamath panel erred

Grow Some Brains grow_brains at
Sat Nov 16 13:42:16 EST 2002

Before the fishkill...


Judge affirms Klamath Tribes' water right of time immemorial 

March 2002

U.S. Water News Online

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A federal judge has reaffirmed that the water rights
of the Klamath Tribes stretch back to time immemorial, and backed
their right to claim water to support food gathering.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner in Portland did not
appear to have an immediate effect on the ongoing battle over water
for fish and farms in the Klamath Basin, said tribal attorney Carl

However, it reaffirms that the tribes have the oldest water right in
the basin at a time when that was being challenged under a formal
adjudication process to sort out competing claims for water, Ullman

And it confirms that the tribes have the right to water to support
gathering, such as seeds from the wocus plant in basin marshes, as
well as hunting and fishing, he said.

Last summer, the federal government was forced to shut off irrigation
water to most of the Klamath Reclamation Project to maintain reserves
for fish, including endangered Lost River suckers and shortnosed
suckers which are sacred to the Klamath Tribes.

``This is an important decision for the tribes,'' said tribal chairman
Allen Foreman. ``It is vital to protecting the tribes' treaty
resources,'' such as hunting, fishing and gathering.

The tribes have maintained that the federal government has a
responsibility to leave enough water in marshes and lakes to support
fishing, hunting and gathering guaranteed by treaty.

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