Klamath Water Users Association 
Hardy Fact Sheet

The Hardy Phase II DRAFT Report Is Not a Recipe for Preventing Fish Die-Off and it Still Does Not Represent the Best Available Science on Klamath River Flows.

While environmental activists will argue that the Hardy flows represent the "best available science" and that activating those flows could have prevented the 2002 lower Klamath River fish die-off, one must remember:
  • A DRAFT report cannot constitute the "best available science".
  • The draft Hardy Phase II Report does nothing to address prevention of a fish die-off.

Judge Saundra Armstrong in May 2002 ruled that the Hardy Phase II report – which plaintiffs claimed then (and now) is the "best available science" – could not be relied upon as such, since it only existed in draft form. Rather, the Court ruled that the Interim Report prepared by the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin was the best available science.

"The Court finds that the NRC Interim Report is the best science available, particularly in light of the April 30, 2002 clarification letter."

"The Court is unwilling to rely upon the Hardy Phase II draft report as the best science available...at present, the Hardy Phase II report exists only in draft form. As the report states on each page, its conclusions, and most importantly, its recommended flow levels are subject to change."

Reference to Judge Armstrong's 2002 Decision: Federal Defendant's Opposition and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, PCFFA v. USBR.

Since Judge Armstrong’s decision, the Hardy Phase II Report has not been finalized, nor has NRC completed its final report, which is due to be finished in May or June of this year. Judge Armstrong on April 29th will again consider the DRAFT Hardy Phase II Report in a decision that could once again threaten the water supplies of Klamath Project family farms. The Best Available Science argument supported by Judge Armstrong last year still holds. 

The draft Hardy Phase II Report does nothing to address prevention of a fish die-off. Tribal biologists and environmentalist advocates refer to the draft "Hardy Phase II" report to support their arguments that increased Iron Gate Dam releases would have prevented the fish die-off located more than 170 miles downstream. In fact, The draft Hardy Phase II report contains no data, analyses, or discussion applicable to prevention of a fish kill in the lower Klamath River. Instead, the draft Hardy Phase II report was based on a computer modeling exercise and field work to recommend instream flows for physical habitats for salmon (e.g., spawning and rearing).

The Hardy Flow Reports are Fatally Flawed


The "Hardy Phase Flow Reports" – so named for its primary author, Dr. Thomas Hardy of Utah State University – build upon previous instream flow recommendations made for the main stem Klamath River based on analyses of hydrology data. This work was originally commissioned to address instream flows required to support ecological and tribal trust needs in the main stem Klamath River below Iron Gate Dam (IGD).

The Hardy flow studies contain fundamental flaws that taint their use.

  • Insufficient data on Coho salmon in the upper reaches of the Klamath River has led to use of "generalized" habitat suitability criteria for Coho and surrogate criteria derived from Chinook salmon.
  • No analysis of whether mainstem Klamath River habitat is in fact a limiting factor for coho populations.
  • Much of the recently developed site-specific habitat used data was obtained during 1998 and 1999, which were average to above average water years with relatively high springtime river releases.
  • The seasonal analyses of the effects of the proposed action essentially isolate the potential for impacts on Coho salmon to fry that may be rearing in the mainstem immediately downstream of Iron Gate Dam (IGD) in June.
  • While the report professes to focus on site-specific matters, very generalized information is used to develop habitat preferences, particularly for Coho salmon.
  • The report falsely suggests that Coho habitats should somehow be recreated in the large river channel downstream of IGD to serve as a surrogate for the lost or degraded habitats in Klamath basin tributaries.
  • Questionable assumptions are made regarding Klamath River temperature.

KWUA has still not received responses from federal agencies and Dr. Hardy on the association’s formal comments submitted on both phases of Hardy’s work. KWUA determined both reports to be fundamentally flawed and did not provide scientifically defensible information for developing specific flow recommendations for the Klamath River. We are concerned that other technical information previously developed by KWUA and submitted to Interior has not been considered in this process.

The Phase I Hardy Flow Report is Fatally Flawed

In June 2002, Miller Ecological Consultants, Inc. of Ft .Collins, Colorado completed its assessment of the Phase I Hardy Report, which was used as the interim basis for the National Marine Fisheries Service biological opinion for 2001 Klamath Project Operations. That opinion called for higher than normal flow releases at Iron Gate Dam, ultimately contributing to the federal government’ s decision in 2001 to curtail water – with disastrous community impacts – to Klamath Project family farms and ranches. Miller found the Phase I Hardy Report to be "fatally flawed" for the following reasons:

  • A biological basis for the interim flows is currently absent.
  • There are no literature citations for conclusions or for statements of fact regarding fish life history. Attribution is lacking…especially where Hardy lists information regarding species life history, temperature thermal limits, habitat requisites or use of various sections of the river by fish.
  • The report relies heavily upon personal communication and unpublished reports.
  • It is not possible to determine if the five hydrology-based methods used to drive interim flows were applied correctly.
  • No mention of any field effort is listed…so one would assume the methodology was not correctly followed for deriving a minimum instream flow.
  • The hydrologic methods used are not used today for a variety of reasons. Most of the methods used to determine interim flow are no longer applied except in the simplest situations.
  • The hydrologic methods used are generally arbitrary in nature and lack a biological basis for the flow specifications. It appears that no field visits or field documentation of any of the methodologies were conducted.
  • Each of the methodologies applied in the system are hydrology-based and have little or no biological basis for the derived flow.
  • The application of the Phase I instream flows is based solely on hydrology and ignores water quality, which may be a larger issue in limiting in the system.

Recent Findings on DRAFT Hardy Phase II Report

Made by Dave Vogel, Fisheries Biologist:

Source: Declaration of David A. Vogel, on behalf of Defendant/Intervenors Klamath Water Users Association, in PCFFA et al. v. USBR et al. Civ. No. C02-2006 SBA.

"I examined some of the field sites used for the draft Hardy Phase II report and found that those areas were notably non-representative of the majority of fish habitats in the Klamath River; it appears that those sites I examined may have been chosen more for ease of access. Many of the most-representative fish habitats in the Klamath River are more difficult to access than the Hardy Phase II study sites I examined. This is one reason, among many, why I believe the ultimate computer modeling outputs in the draft Hardy Phase II report are artificially skewed to erroneously conclude that very high Iron Gate Dam releases are needed for salmon in the main stem Klamath River."

"The draft Hardy Phase II Report greatly under-represented ideal habitats found in the main stem channel. The assumptions on salmon rearing habitat presented in that report are nearly opposite of those derived from numerous studies in other river systems. The best empirical evidence to date indicates that the draft Hardy Phase II Report’s assumptions on main stem Klamath River rearing habitat do not accurately reflect a correct modeling of fish habitat conditions known elsewhere to be suitable."

"I also found that the draft Hardy Phase II Report was severely constrained by biological data collection during high flow conditions that created unintentional, but severe, bias in the results. This problem was further compounded by inappropriate sampling techniques that resulted in misinterpretation of fish utilization of habitats in the Klamath River. The consequence was that a large disproportionate sampling of selective habitats combined with high flow conditions occurred during the Phase II study."

"One of the major errors occurred in the draft Hardy Phase II report when the authors assumed, without supporting data, that habitat usage of Chinook fry in the main stem Klamath River should be used as a surrogate for coho fry, despite well-known differences in habitat criteria between the species. This erroneous, unsubstantiated assumption alone brings into serious question the validity of conclusions in the draft Hardy Phase II Report."

Note: The National Research Council (NRC) Klamath Committee also recognized the deficiency of such an assumption in their April 30, 2002 letter report to the National Marine Fisheries Service: "In evaluating modeling results for other life stages, the committee was skeptical of analogies that were drawn between habitat requirements of coho and chinook salmon, because their life histories differ in important ways."

The process leading to the draft Hardy Phase II report was severely constrained and flawed by exclusion of other expertise, stakeholders, and knowledgeable individuals.

"I arrived at the Klamath In Stream Flow Study Work Group meeting, to which the Klamath Water Users Association had been extended an invitation by Mr. Mike Rode of California Department of Fish and Game, only to be turned away by Mr. Doug Tedrick of the Bureau of Indian Affairs….Prior to being asked to leave the meeting, I noticed that the National Marine Fisheries Service…California Department of Fish and Game…Karuk Tribe….U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service….and the Bureau of Indian Affairs…each had representatives in the meeting room (with Dr. Hardy) "

Keith Marine, Natural Resources Scientists, Inc.

11/6/00 Letter to Klamath Water Users Association

"We cannot regard (Hardy Phase II) as the best available science for in-stream flows. There is no independent peer review or presentation and discussion of such peer review for this specific report and its recommendations. The Technical Team is not an adequate peer review source since they have played a role in development of the recommendations."

Richard D. Barnum, Siskiyou County Planning Director

2/28/02 Letter to Doug Tedrick, Bureau of Indian Affairs

"I recommend that we not get into detailed criticism of this report and methods. Doing so only helps BOR and the water buffaloes….simply accept his flows with a little modification and move ahead…
….the methods and modifications generally are not approved for use in California."

Comments by California Department of Fish and Game Reviewer of the Draft Hardy Phase I Report

Clearly, much more work needs to be accomplished to rectify the mistakes made in the Phase II process.

For more on Hardy flaws go to SCIENCE PAGE  reports C-A, VIII, and IX, and Hardy Page

Go HERE for Vogel biography

Klamath Water Users Association
2455 Patterson Street, Suite 3
Klamath Falls, Oregon 97603
(541)-883-6100 FAX (541)-883-8893 kwua@cdsnet.net

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