Klamath Tribes approve water-sharing agreement

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Updated: 4/10/2014 4:48 pm

CHILOQUIN, Ore. (AP) — Members of the Klamath Tribes have approved an agreement to share water with cattle ranchers on rivers running through former reservation lands in return for work to improve fish habitat.

The tribes announced Wednesday the vote was 564 in favor and 419 against.

Tribal Chairman Don Gentry said in a statement that the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement is "a monumental step" in restoring tribal fisheries and treaty rights.

The agreement was prompted by irrigation shutoffs to ranchers during a drought last summer after the tribes were awarded senior water rights on the Sprague, Wood and Williamson rivers.

It becomes part of legislation Sen. Ron Wyden is preparing to settle longstanding water issues in the Klamath Basin and remove dams on the Klamath River to help salmon.

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