Larry Nicholson is a fourth-generation rancher in Ft. Klamath and board member of Fort Klamath Critical Habitat Landowners, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the protection of sustainable agriculture and water use in the Wood River valley. He’s also a member of the Klamath Tribes.
With the irrigation season quickly approaching, people may assume this year’s historic snowpack will provide the Klamath Basin reprieve from the droughts of the last several years and, with it, a reprieve from contentious water issues that have dominated our region.
Unfortunately, what many folks may not realize is private landowners who rely on the Wood, Sprague and Williamson rivers for irrigation continue to face uncertainty due to the potential termination of the water settlement reached with the Klamath Tribes in 2014.
Three years ago, in a ceremony on the banks of the Williamson River, I stood with my friends and neighbors as the Upper Basin irrigators and the Klamath Tribes signed a historic agreement — the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA or Upper Basin Agreement). It was a remarkable coalition, with private, public and tribal stakeholders all coming to the table to ensure regional stability.