Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

August 2006

HERE for Draft and Final Answers 10/9/07 from Bureau of Reclamation.

Senator Doug Whitsett, Oregon District 28, asked the following questions to the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Fish and Wildlife regarding Barnes Ranch acquisition.
He has received "Draft ONLY" answers and they have told him that the final answers to his questions will be out soon. We will share those with you when available.
   It is KBC's understanding that the Nature Conservancy is buying Barnes Ranch in Upper Klamath Basin. then it will be purchased by Fish and Wildlife. (go HERE for other government land acquisitions of ag land in the Upper Basin. HERE for more on Barnes Ranch acquisition.

Q 1.) Under current storage behind the dikes and early seasonal use plan the Agency/Barnes Complex has some merit in most water years. However, in either management scenario the cost feasibility of repairing the Barnes Ranch dikes to prevent flooding of adjacent lands primarily north of the dikes is critical. The existing structures are primarily peat dikes with little or no surface enhancement to prevent erosion and melting down from water pressure and wave action. What will it cost to enhance the Barnes Ranch dikes to withstand filling of the Barnes/Agency complex to capacity?

Q 2.) The behind the dike storage plan is not feasible due to  UKL (Upper Klamath Lake) TMDL water quality issues (sediment, phosphorous, temperature, algae/nitrogen). The breached dike plan will arguably create worse water quality challenges by eliminating any ability to manage water temperature, suspended nutrients, or the  proliferation of nitrogen fixing  blue green algae. Inclusion of the storage area into UKL simply makes the water degradation legal.

How does BOR plan to mitigate this certain further degradation of UKL water quality?

Q 3.) The current breach of the Geary Dike flooding about 2200 acres has aptly demonstrated that storing the same amount of water in a larger area lowers the lake level. When insufficient water is available to fill UKL won’t this larger area of storage also reduce the amount of water available for irrigation under the current BO management?  

Q 4.) Historically, how many of the last twelve years has sufficient water been available to fill UKL during the water year?

Q. 5) The breached dike plan eliminates any possibility of seasonal management/delivery of the stored water. Won’t the quantity of deliverable water for irrigation be totally controlled by lake level in compliance with  the two BO’s.?

Q 6.) Won’t the breached dike plan eliminate any means of controlling the water loss from evapo-transpiration from the surface of the additional 10,000 aces of lake surface?  

Q .7) Sources of water loss will include filling the soil profile, annual evaporation from open water surface, annual evapo-transpiration from emergent marsh, and soil profile evapo-transpiration from the dewater areas as the lake recedes.

What is the estimated annual increase in ET loss from including these additional 10,000 acres in UKL?

Q.8.) Much of the farm land being “reclaimed’ into UKL has undergone significant subsidence. For instance, Ron McGill told me that a significant portion of the flooded Caledonia and Running Y ranch land is  currently more than ten feet deep. A significant part of this water is now dead storage in that it will not gravity flow back into UKL. What is the computed dead storage space of the combined Barnes and Agency Lake ranches?

Q 9.) The Barnes Ranch owns a high priority 7900 AF water right. When the land is flooded and becomes part of UKL the water right can no longer be beneficially used for agricultural production on the land to which it is appurtenant. Oregon water law requires that abandoned water rights be made available to other appropriators on a priority basis. Will these water rights revert to the State of Oregon to be appropriated for beneficial use by other irrigators?

Q 10.) After quantifying soil profile filling, evapo-transpiration, and dead storage, how many additional, or less, acre feet of water would have been deliverable to the project irrigators using the breached dike plan and under the constraints of the current two Biological Opinions each of the most recent twelve water years?


Home Contact


Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2006, All Rights Reserved