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Long Lake letters of support

For more information call:
Bob Gasser  541 891-9113 --call Bob for information and possible video presentation
or Klamath County Commissioners Office: 541 883-5100

August 11, 2003

Dear Friend:

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:

  • Capability to deliver colder water to the Klamath River on demand
  • Minimal environmental impact.
  • Opportunity to stabilize both Klamath Lake levels and Klamath River flows
  • Sufficient quantity to make an impact by utilizing excess winter flood waters
  • Eight (8) times the storage volume of other proposals.
  • Principal landowners are in support of further investigation of the Long Lake deep water storage proposal. (Letters of interest are included)

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
Dear Commissioner Elliott:

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 attention.
Very truly yours,
Allen Foreman, Chairman

Water Users Support Study of
Long Lake Offstream Storage Project

The Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) Board of Directors last night endorsed the Klamath County Commissionís proposal to further study a proposed offstream storage project at Long Lake. The KWUA Board unanimously supported sending a letter of support to the County Commission, urging that Long Lake and other potentially viable storage projects be screened for feasibility. The Klamath Basin Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2000 provides the authority to conduct such a feasibility study, but funding for the program in recent years has been diverted to address unexpected crises that are becoming the norm in the Klamath watershed.

Long Lake is an enclosed narrow valley located just southwest of Upper Klamath Lake. Reclamation completed a preliminary study of this proposal in the late 1980ís, but the findings were inconclusive and suggested that additional study would be required to determine the projectís feasibility. This project appears to have potential to help meet the water demands of the Klamath River watershed.

"Ultimately, the legitimate water demands of the Klamath Basin can best be satisfied through the development of new water storage facilities," said KWUA Board member Bill Kennedy. "The federal government should move with all possible haste to undertake feasibility studies for Long Lake and other viable storage projects using the authority already provided by Congress."

Preliminary estimates suggest that 350,000 acre-feet of water could be stored in Long Lake without substantially modifying the proposed reservoir site.






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