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.