‘Nobody’s winning’: Drought upends life in US West basin

National News

A small stream runs through the dried, cracked earth of a former wetland near Tulelake, Calif., Wednesday June 9, 2021. The area was drained in an effort to prevent an outbreak of avian botulism, which occurs when water levels become too low. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

TULE LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Extreme drought is tearing apart communities in a massive river basin that spans the Oregon-California border.

The U.S. government stopped irrigation to hundreds of farmers for the first time in history, and Native American tribes along the 257-mile Klamath River are watching fish species hover closer to extinction.

Dried-up wildlife refuges are also symptoms of an unraveling ecosystem.

The situation is attracting anti-government activists trying to politicize a water crisis generations in the making. But irrigators in need of federal assistance fear any ties to far-right activism could taint their image.

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