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|Articles - June 2014|
|Thursday, May 29, 2014|
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BY JENNIFER MARGULIS | PHOTOS BY EZRA MARCOS
Don Gentry tried not to breathe. A sudden algae bloom in Agency Lake in 1995 was killing hundreds of fish, and Gentry, who was working for the Klamath Tribes Natural Resource Department, was on the deck of a fiberglass Boston Whaler, tasked with the unpleasant job of collecting dead fish to identify which species had died at what age. When algae grows quickly over the top of a lake on a hot summer day, the drastic change in pH of the water and the lack of available oxygen can be lethal to fish.
Gentry motored through the bright green water, the acrid smell of rotting sewage and decaying fish turning his stomach. The Klamath Tribes Natural Resources Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were tracking Lost River suckers (“c’waam” in Klamath) and shortnose suckers (“qapdo”), both native to Southern Oregon and Northern California, and both historic staples of the Klamath and Modoc tribes. The shortnose sucker was already on the federal government’s list of endangered species. In 2001 the Lost River sucker would be added to that list.
“My dad taught me how to catch these fish,” Gentry, 59 years old now and the chairman of the Klamath Tribe, says matter of factly. He remembers feeling angry as he looked at the dead fish, some of which weighed 20 pounds, bobbing belly up in the water that day. “Sharing the catch with elders is a big part of our lifestyle.”
Gentry, who represents 4,600 registered members of the Klamath Tribes, is a key player in brokering the latest agreement between those with vested interests in the Klamath Basin’s water, which has been under intense negotiation for the past eight months. The Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement defines the means to achieve water savings described in a previous landmark agreement, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), and would be largely funded by the KBRA. These agreements in turn are linked to the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), which specifies means to remove the lower four Klamath dams. The KBRA and KHSA were signed by more than 45 Klamath stakeholders (ranchers, agriculturalists, wildlife protection groups, water conservationists and other businesses on both sides of the state border) four years ago, although legislation required to implement the agreements has yet to be passed.
The history of water rights, as well as the degradation of the Klamath Basin and who is responsible for cleaning it up, is mind-bogglingly complicated and filled with contention. Still, the issue of degraded rivers, fish die-offs, and the need for water for cattle, farming, and wildlife rehabilitation all boils down to one simple truth: Too many people in Southern Oregon and Northern California have too great a need for too little water.
Completed in March, the Upper Klamath agreement describes how to best allocate the water in the Upper Basin to each of the stakeholders. Gentry thinks the arrangement reached provides a balanced use of water for both fisheries and agriculture. The biggest change, he says, is that the actual amount of water in the Basin at any given time, which changes from year to year, will be taken into consideration when water is allocated. The Klamath Tribes are interested in solving the immediate problems but also looking toward the future, hoping to clean up the Klamath enough to get salmon back and undo years of riparian damage. (The Klamath River was once the third most productive salmon river in the United States, but damming and habitat destruction decimated their populations.)
Gentry believes you can’t understand the complexity of the problems with who has what right to how much water in the Klamath Basin without going back to the early 1950s, when the United States government terminated its relationship with the Klamath Tribes — among the wealthiest and best organized in the nation — through an Act of Congress that was overturned some 30 years later. Though treaty agreements initially affirmed the Klamath’s seniority over water rights (since “time immemorial”), tribal termination set the scene for decades of fighting. This new agreement stipulates: 30,000 acre-feet of water must be added each year into the streams that are tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake (which will help protect the tribes’ fishing interests and aquatic wildlife); a riparian restoration project; and a $40 million economic development fund for the Klamath Tribes.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT
We get the education we deserve.
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY DAN COOK
The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University
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Every once in a while we receive a letter in the (fictional) mailbag that is tough to describe and quite compelling. This week, Isabel, the new HR manager at LabCo (and someone who is new to HR), wants to know whether she may fire the owner’s son for having an Oregon medical marijuana card. In passing, Isabel also makes a number of alarming admissions about her motivation. Here is Isabel’s nerve-racking question and our response to it.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.