Ranchers and Indians sign agreement to share water
Cattle ranchers and Indian tribes who long fought over scarce water in Oregon's Upper Klamath Basin have signed an agreement to share access to rivers and cooperate on restoring habitat for endangered fish the tribes hold sacred.
The signing ceremony was held Friday along the Williams River outside Chiloquin, Ore.
Joining representatives of the Klamath Tribes and the ranchers were Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Gov. John Kitzhaber, and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.
Speakers talked emotionally about the agreement healing longstanding divisions within the basin over water.
Last summer, ranchers in the upper basin saw irrigation shut off as the tribes invoked newly won senior water rights to protect fish.
Wyden says he will introduce legislation in the Senate next month based on the agreement.