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US Bureau of Reclamation’s dam operations under scrutiny

A US federal judge has ruled that the US Bureau of Recla-mation’s (USBR) dam operations in Southern Oregon’s Klamath basin last year violated the Endan-gered Species Act.

USBR has already started cutting off irrigation water to hundreds of farmers in a basin along the Oregon-California border to help threatened coho salmon and endangered sucker fish. The Bureau expects that almost 90% of the farmers in the basin will be affected.

The Oregon Natural Resources Council and other conservation groups filed action last year, claiming that the USBR was operating the Klamath project without consulting the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which oversees the protection of fish throughout the US.

USBR operates three storage dams, four diversion dams, 28 pumping plants and hundreds of miles of canal that supply irrigation water to over 240,000 acres of agricultural land in Oregon and California.