Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ranchers and their supporters rallied Monday to draw attention to irrigation shut-offs in the Klamath Basin.

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Hundreds of ranchers, farmers and others gathered at the Klamath County fairgrounds. Then they drove in cattle trucks and tractors to the county government building.

Roger Nicholson is a rancher in the Klamath Basin who was at Monday's rally. He says farmers and ranchers are suffering huge losses.

"We've tried to make a model watershed out of this. We've led the charge on fish screening. We've led the charge on riparian fencing, on reducing nutrient load to the streams, and we get rewarded by having our total resource taken over and put out of business."

Last month the Klamath Tribes used their senior water right for the first time. That means irrigators in the area are having their water shut off.

Some ranchers have asked the courts to order a halt to the water shutoffs while they mount a legal challenge to the tribes' water right. A hearing on that is set for Tuesday in Klamath Circuit Court.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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