Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Long Lake letters of support
August 11, 2003
In working to solve the water issues of the Klamath River system and especially the Upper Klamath Basin, the one thing that most agree on is the need for more water. Over the years there have been many proposals for additional water storage in the Upper Klamath Basin. Many of those proposals were originally dismissed because there was not the compelling need for more water created by the Endangered Species Act.
One proposed storage project would develop an area known as Long Lake. An enclosed long narrow valley just south west of the Upper Klamath Lake, Long Lake valley has an average elevation of 4,260 feet. The US Bureau of Reclamation (USBoR) did a study of the proposal in the late 1980ís but their findings were inconclusive and suggested that more study would be required to determine the projectís feasibility.
It has been suggested that by using pump storage, Long Lake could store 350,000 acre-feet of water annually without the construction of a dam. The water depth would average approximately 200 feet, providing stored water at a significantly cooler temperature and with less evaporative loss than Upper Klamath Lake.
Some of the other suggested benefits of Long Lake project could include:
This project may have the potential to be a significant part of the overall solution for water issues in the Klamath Basin. However, for that to be determined, the project needs to be studied at a sufficient level of detail. We are asking you to join us in requesting that the appropriate Federal Agencies conduct technical studies and analysis of sufficient detail to determine if this project is feasible.
Please return your letter supporting a technical studies and analysis of the Long Lake project to the Klamath County Board of Commissioners by September 15th, 2003. Your letter will then be included with others to be submitted to Federal Legislators and Agencies. Thank you in advance for your positive consideration of this request.
Al Switzer, M. Steven West, John Elliott
Klamath County Commissioners
Letter to Commissioner John Elliott from The Klamath
Tribes Sept 9, 2003Re: Technical studies of
potential reservoir site at Long Lake
Out thanks to you and the other members of your delegation who took the time to present the Long Lake Reservoir concept to the Klamath Tribes. We appreciate everyone's dedication to finding solutions to the water and other resource problems of the Basin.
The Tribes believe off-stream storage such as that potentially offered by Long Lake can be a significant contributor to dealing with the problem of over commitment of limited water resources. We view such storage as a complement to efforts to improve and restore the natural water retention capacity of the Basin with projects similar to those under way or proposed around Upper Klamath Lake. We are aware that some in your delegation spoke against projects like those associated with the Barnes Property. We appreciate the frankness of the discussion, but we must respectfully say that we believe natural water retention has unique advantages and we are not prepared to see such initiatives abandoned.
In any event, we are glad to provide a positive response to your request for this letter supporting technical studies and analysis of the Long Lake project. From our discussions with you, we understand that this first phase of studies would be limited to the water retention capability of the site and a first level review, with the Tribes' participation, of cultural sites and values found there. This leaves open the question of water and storage rights for the reservoir, witch would need to be resolved as part of determining its overall feasibility.
We will continue to give this and other reasonable proposals careful attention and due consideration as we seek workable solutions to the problems we all face in the Klamath Basin. We are also considering other storage proposals elsewhere in the Basin, and we trust you will support those investigations at an appropriate time.
Again, thank you for your consideration and
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