CWA has been allowed to join in the case of The Klamath Tribes v. the United States Bureau of Reclamation in the federal District Court in Portland, Oregon. The tribes are suing to secure more water from the Klamath Project for the protection of the endangered shortnose sucker and Lost River sucker. CWA will submit an informational brief describing the importance of the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, its water needs, and the impact on the refuge of additional withdrawals of water for the benefit of endangered fish species. Jeff Volberg, CWA’s Director of Water Law & Policy is working with Ellen Wehr, General Counsel to the Grassland Water District, to produce the informational brief.
The Klamath Basin is one of the most important stops on the Pacific Flyway, annually hosting millions of migrating waterfowl. Unfortunately, the refuge has a low priority for water among water users in the Klamath Basin. In recent years, the Lower Klamath NWR has been reduced to a desert much of the year, with water being delivered late and withdrawn early. CWA’s participation in the lawsuit is intended to bring attention to the water needs of what was once the crown jewel of the nation’s refuge system.