JANUARY 1960 KLAMATH TRIBUNE Page 3 MODOC POINT WATER USERS DISPUTE IRRIGATION PROJECT CONSTRUCTION COSTS Active in recent months has been the "Modoc Point Water Users Association. The Associa tion was formed approximately two years ago to consider prob lems confronting Modoc Point area land-owners as a result of termination, particularly t h e problem of transfer of adminis tration of the Modoc Point irri gation project to an irrigation district or other entity. Regarding r e c e n t progress made by the Association, Bob Doak and Lyle I lass. President and secretary respectively, re port that a meeting was held at Klamath Agency Dec. 22 be tween the Ass'n and Mr. Paul Henderson of the area office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mr. Henderson provided those pres ent with a brief history of the Modoc 101111 irrigation project and reiterated the importance of area farmers forming a legal ir rigation district to take over ad ministration of the project on termination. President Doak and Secretary Haas report that fanners in the Modoc Point area are now hesit ant to form an irrigation district to take over the project because "they" feel accumulated construc tion costs of the project are un justifiable". They advise that these costs, incurred during the 30-plus years of BIA development of the project, total over $6(X),(XX), averaging $136 per acre for the 5,501 acres in the project. (In accordance with an act of July 1. 1932 47 Stat. 564; 25 U.S.C. 3S6a, assessment and col lection of construction costs of the project was deferred. Sec. 13(b) of the termination law, however, terminates this defer ment effective the first day of the calendar year following Secre tarial proclamation that the Fed eral trust relationship to the af fairs of the tribe and its members has terminated. Under the law, the Secretary shall then "cause the first lien against such lands created by the act of March 7, 1928 . . . ,'to be filed of record in the appropriate county office".) Doak and Haas explain that many area farmers consider that creation of an irrigation district to take over the project will amount to acceptance of these construction costs as a lien against the land. All the farmers in the area, they assert, object to acceptance of the costs, averag ing $136 per acre, on four grounds : 1. that .climatic conditions of the area are severe, frosts being common 10 months of the year; 2. that soil conditions are not top-standard, a comparatively high proportion of the land being in class 6, suitable for pasture only ; 3. that the quality of the pro ject is not commensurate with the assessment ; 4. that an itemization of the construction charges has not been received on any Indian owned land and only on that non-Indian-owned land that is pres ently being irrigated. Klaborating upon these points, President Doak and Secretary Haas point out that the unfav orable climatic and soil conditions combine to limit greatly the area's agricultural uses. The farming qualities of the area do not warrant an irrigation project of such cost, they contend. Furth ermore, they argue that this pro ject, in itself, is "not worth any where near $600,000". They cite a lack of delivery facilities such as ditches, headgates, etc., and capacity of the main canals to carry only about half the water claimed by the BIA. They add that an unbiassed appraisal of the project has been requested several times to establish its true value but that such an appraisal has not been conducted. Regarding soil conditions spe cifically, they calculate that about 1,500 acres of the total of 5,501 is class 6 land, defined as being physically unsuited for cultiva tion. They point out that such land classification does not af fect the assessment, however, acreage being assessed equally regardless of-quality. With the landowners object ing to the construction and not favorably disposed to forming an irrigation district Doak and Haas point out that the issue created must be resolved by the final termination date. In settling the matter they see two alternatives besides the one of area farmers forming a district, taking over the project and assuming the ac cumulated construction costs. They state that the Secretary could sell the machinery now be longing to the project, deduct the amount realized from the total costs, and file a lien for the bal ance on the land, with no irriga tion district being set up. A third course would be turning over the project to another government bureau, with the land still being subject to the construction costs. Offering a possible, partial so lution, they feel, is sec. 13(d) of the termination law. There, the Secretary is given authority to TRIBAL UNIT SALES (Continued from Page 1) The deadline for the submission of plans for the second group of sustained yield units was Jan. 1, lo0. It was reported that plans have been submitted on all three units' for approval by the Forest Service. Decision as to whether these plans are approved or dis approved will be made by March 17, fifteen days before the bids are opened. The date for the opening of the bids on the second group of sustained yield units has been scheduled for April 1. VXH Three units are involved in the second group of units, the largest of which is the Uhiloquiu unit containing 55,316 acres, an estim ated 234.731 M board ft. of saw timber and 149,317 cords of pulp. Its realization value is $4,970, 23().(X). The Black Hills Unit, although smaller in area, has a higher real ization value. It contains 52.368 acres, 307,015 M board ft. of saw timber, 37,953 cords of pulp, and is valued at $5,57(,395.(X) The third unit, Vaiuax, has 50.522 acres, 27M M board feet, of sawtiniber but no pulp. Its real ization value has been established at $3.666)94.(X). Four units are in the final group: Saddle Mountain. Skel lock, South Calimus, and Vamsay. Bids on these units are scheduled to be opened Aug. 1, lnn(), with the deadline for submission of plans being May 1, V.Hi). "adjust, eliminate, or cancel all or any part of reimbursable irri gation construction costs charge able against Indian-owned lands that are subject to the provisions of this Act, and all or any part of assessments heretofore or here after imposed on account of such costs, when he determines that the collection thereof would be inequitable or would result in un due hardship on the Indian owner of the laud, or that the adminis trative costs of collection would probably equal or exceed the amount collected." They empha size that this applies only to Indian - owned - lands, however, and state that an act of Congress would be required to adjust charges against non-Indian own ed lands. Both officers express confi dence that the question will be resolved fairly. They state that recent progress has been made towards possible removal of charges against class 6 land and consider this indicative of pro gress towards solution of the whole problem. Scldon Kirk, Dibbon Cook Named to Advisory Committee Seldon Kirk, chairman of the (leneral Council and Dibbon Cook, secretary, have been officially no tified of their appointment to the (lovernor's Advisory Committee on Indian Affairs which was es tablished by C.ov. Mark (). Hat field on November 1, 1959. The committee, u n d e r the chairmanship of Harvey Wright of the State Department of Fdu eation, includes the major state governmental agencies, the Area Director f the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the county judges in res ervation areas in addition to rep resentatives of the Klamath, Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes. Non-governmental groups represented on the committee in clude the Departments of Anthro pology and Political Science of the University of Oregon, and the Oregon Council of Churches. According to the statement is sued by the governor's office, the committee has been estab lished for the purpose of coordin ating "Indian affairs at the State level as they concern the State of Oregon." Among other points listed, the purpose of the commit tee is "to find ways to extend to Indian people opportunities and .-.ervices that are available to all citizens, to encourage Indians to assume their rightful responsibil ities, and to assist Indian people to become familiar with their state government." This committee, which was set up "to work with Indian people, helping them to help themselves" will "meet periodically, when called by the chairman, to con sider broad programs ami pro posed state action, and to study and evaluate proposed major policy changes in Federal Indian relationships." It is anticipated, according to Chairman A. II. Wright, "that the committee as a whole not be convened unless we are confront ed with a State-wide problem. Individual departments or small groups rather than the entire committee will meet with the chairman to work on specific problems." Ill his letter to Dibbon Cook, Wright explained that Cook had been appointed on the governor's committer by virtue of his being Secretary of the Klamath Tribal Council. "Mr. Seldon Kirk was chosen," he further explained, "as the other appointee because he is the chairman of the Tribal council."