Ranchers in the drainage areas north of Klamath Lake are being forced to ship their livestock earlier than normal after being shut off from water sources.
Properties in the drainages of the Sprague, Williamson, Wood and several other rivers were shut off from irrigating from those waterways a couple weeks ago because the water level in the upper end of the lake had to be maintained to protect fish habitat. The Klamath Tribe called in its water rights to protect traditional fishing grounds.
"There's a total of 105,000 head of cattle involved in this mess," said Duarte, owner of Duarte Livestock. "We're all in the same boat north of the lake. We'll try to manage this deal the best we can, lighten up on our fields as we go along. Get rid of the yearlings and wean some calves early ... in September rather than in October."
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