The Klamath Adjudication is an ongoing adjudication to determine what rights were in
existence prior to 1909 and other federal reserved rights. This adjudication is a
particularly draconian process in that federal and Tribal entities can try to assert
rights that have not been asserted for well over a century. Then suddenly they
demand all the water, or more water than exists.
The adjudication started in 1979 when the federal government filed suit against several
landowners above Kirk Reef. This suit was called US v Adair and only applied to a
relatively small geographic area. Upon completion of this suit, the State of Oregon
elected to conduct an adjudication of the entire Klamath River drainage in the State of Oregon.
US v Adair said that the Tribes had time immemorial water rights. But put
important sideboards on these rights, that these rights could not create a wilderness
servitude, and that they were for only the amount of water needed to support a moderate
standard of living, as it relates to hunting and fishing. Further, the tribes were
limited to what was currently exercised, and not the amount that was exercised in 1864.
In what we saw as an effort to remove these sideboards, on
the last day of the Clinton administration the Tribes and the BIA filed to
reopen US v. Adair, a landmark case setting the rules of the Klamath
adjudication. Reopening the case would have been a large threat to Klamath Basin
Save the Family Farm, and other groups representing water users above Upper Klamath
Lake, after facing a negative decision at the district court level, were successful in
getting the negative decision vacated at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now
incredibly the State Hearings officer is using the vacated decision as a basis for making
his decisions. Therefore we will have to reargue these same issues yet again at the
State Administrative process
The Tribal/BIA Claims as Filed
All claims are in PDF format and you will need to download Acrobat Reader to read them if
you do not have it on your machine
(it is free, click here if you
do not already have it)
The graph below illustrates the absurdity of the Tribal/BIA
claims. It shows the actual flow of the Williamson River
compared to Tribal BIA claim of the Williamson River.
The only time farmers and ranchers could irrigate would be during
Below is a chart showing the Endangered Species
Act/ESA Biological Opinion flows that shut
down the Klamath Project compared
to lake levels that are proposed to be granted in the
Klamath Settlement. You will note the Klamath Settlement Lake levels are far more than
shut down the Klamath Project during 2001.
||Proposed Settlement BIA/Tribal Claim
the claims to actual historical stream flow: Click
To compare historical stream flow data with Tribal claims you will need to select a
given month in a given year to compare with the Tribal claim you wish to compare to.
More historical water data from the Bureau of Reclamation (this is mainly data on Klamath
Lake and below)