Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Klamath Watershed Conference 2004
Communities, Resources and Restoration – Putting what
We Know to Work
Welcome to the 5th Klamath Watershed Conference!
During this gathering we will celebrate the work being done to improve conditions and stewardship from the headwaters in Oregon to the California Coast. We will also build upon them by encouraging broader awareness, participation, support and coordination. We will span geographic, disciplinary and cultural boundaries to integrate what we know about our unique watershed with what we know about communication, conflict and communities.
February 24, 2004
Klamath Basin Conservation Implementation Program (CIP)
Daniel Fritz, Environmental Specialist/CIP Coordinator
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
(This session will provide participants with knowledge of the Klamath Basin Conservation Implementation Program (CIP), a comprehensive program intended to achieve the long-term goal of sustainable ecosystem management which includes ecosystem restoration, a harvestable fishery and sustainable economies in the Klamath Basin. Participants will learn how and why to become involved in the CIP.)
The Klamath Basin CIP is a work in progress and is a requirement of the NOAA Fisheries SONC ESU Coho Biological Opinion dated May of 2002. Its purpose is not just to avoid jeopardy to the federally listed species,
CIP benefits include a master plan to coordinate science in both the upper and lower basins for the benefit of all species and a sustainable economy.
Delisting and recovery of species while simultaneously allowing for continued use level of water resources.
CIP can help with reasonable and prudent actions for ESA Section 7 and 9 (incidental take). Measurable, tangible habitat and population improvements will be required before those benefits can be realized.
Measuring the CIP Process:
Relationships to other efforts:
CIP is not to replace other existing restoration efforts but to work with them.
CIP Guiding Principles:
Progress So Far:
The CIP is still under the draft form that came out in June of 2003. After public comment, a revised draft should be released by March 15, 2004 for more public comment. (Side note: Even though the original draft CIP was written along the model of the Upper Colorado River CIP, it has become apparent that what works for the Colorado River won’t work for the Klamath River.)
Side note: Under what authority is the CIP to be established? There is no legislation forcing a CIP on the Klamath River – the reason for a Master agreement between all the parties.
Key Revisions to the 2nd Draft:
Klamath Hydroelectric Project FERC Application – It’s in the Mail!
Todd Olson, Licensing Project Manager, PacifiCorp
(PacifiCorp has been preparing the relicensing application for the Klamath Hydroelectric Project for submission to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This presentation will highlight key studies, proposed operations and enhancement measures as submitted and outline the remaining FERC process to encourage participation.)
Every 30 to 50 years, every hydroelectric project has to go through FERC relicensing. The Klamath River hydroelectric projects new license is due March 1, 2006.
Starting at Link River, PacifiCorp is de-licensing the east and west side powerhouses and will back fill the canals, empty the powerhouse buildings but will leave them standing.
PacifiCorp considers Lake Ewauna the Keno Reservoir. Keno dam has no hydroelectric ability so it is not part of the FERC project.
The total megawatts of power produced by hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River total 151 megawatts. J.C. Boyle Dam produces 80 megawatts of power and is considered a peak demand plant and has two peak periods each day. CopCo 1 and 2 are also peak plants.
PacifiCorp has to produce many scientific and technical reports for the FERC relicensing (most can be found on their website: www.pacificorp.com click on "About us" and drop down to "Klamath".) including water quality, fish passage, fish health, screening, fish ladders, etc.
At J. C. Boyle, PacifiCorp is putting in new fish screens, camp ground, and an animal crossing across the canal. Plans call to limit operations to a one unit ramp instead of twice – only 1400 cfs per day which will cause a loss of "big water" downstream for whitewater rafters. New anadromous fish production potential is highest above Keno Dam – but problems of water quality and degraded habitat in the Williamson may cause planted fish to not flourish. PacifiCorp biologists are working with Larry Dunsmoor, Klamath Tribal biologist on fish habitat.
At Shovel, Fall, and Spring Creeks; PacifiCorp is going to put in fish passage and screens.
At Iron Gate, they are going to keep the hatchery open and increase chinook tagging to 25%. PacifiCorp is looking at ways to improve the dissolved oxygen levels in the water being released and review the modified release at the dam for better temperature control. Gravel augmentation downstream of Iron Gate is also being looked at.
The final FERC license application should be online next week and ready for the 60 day review and comment period. There is a rumor the FERC will be holding public meetings up and down the river this summer. And FERC will complete the NEPA process.
Klamath and Lost River TMDL’s
Steve Kirk, Klamath Basin TMDL Coordinator, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Bend, Oregon
(Oregon DEQ and California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board are working cooperatively to develop TMDLs for the remaining water quality impaired waterbodies in the Klamath Basin. Included are the Lost River, Klamath Straits Drain and Klamath River from the Link River to the Pacific Ocean. This presentation will provide an update of this effort.)
There will be a more detailed public meeting February 26th from 6:30 to 9:30 PM in the Klamath County Court House basement meeting room.
Schedule for completion (Clean Water Act and a Federal Court decree)
Biggest problem developing TMDL’s for both the Lost River and the Klamath River is the fact that they cross state boundaries (Lost River crosses three times). Both states and regulatory agencies follow different guidelines/standards in developing TMDL’s to cover dissolved oxygen, temperature, nutrient loading, etc.
A TMDL develops a pollution budget that allows just so much point and non-point pollution in a stream or body of water.
For example, Upper Klamath Lake is only allowed 110 ppb level of total phosphorus concentration per year. 30 ppb in Spring (March – May), 66 ppb from inflows, and 4 ppb naturally occurring.
TMDL’s must also be done on the Scott, Shasta, Salmon, and Trinity Rivers and all small tributaries along the lower river.
The final TMDL process is the responsibility of the states, not the federal government to meet the federal Clean Water Act provisions.
Klamath Basin Adjudication Update
Reed Marbut, Intergovernmental Coordinator, Oregon Water Resources Department
(The Klamath Basin Adjudication (KBA) is a major adjudication of water rights in the Klamath Basin, including almost 400 federal and Klamath Tribe claims. The Oregon Water Resources Department is responsible for completing the administrative phase of the KBA. This session will provide background information about the progress of this phase and a brief description of the process for completion of the litigation.)
Most of the northeast area of the state’s adjudication has been done for decades. The KBA is the first that has large federal claims.
Oregon decides the adjudication according to State law; if the federal government doesn’t like the rulings, they must go to federal court to appeal the state ruling and could go all the way to the Supreme Court (example: the Forest Service went all the way to the Supreme Court in the New Mexico adjudication).
Adjudication of western water is not new; New Mexico started in 1948, Utah in 1970, and Oregon started the process in 1975 (2 court cases derailed Oregon’s adjudication process until the late 1980’s – the Adair Case). (Side note: The Klamath Tribes don’t have to pay any fees in the adjudication process.)
Reed Marbut thinks the Basin adjudication will end up in the Supreme Court caused by the Tribes concerning the claim with Upper Klamath Lake level and the water level in the Klamath Marsh.
Concerning the Klamath Irrigation Project, most irrigation in the basin started pre 1905 to full development of the project which too years. Right now the project contains 202,000 acres with an additional 15,000 of proposed further use for a total of 217,000 acres.
After the adjudication is completed, landowners with senior water rights will get water and junior water right holders water use will be regulated depending on water year type.
Oregon state law allows water leases from low value crop land to high value crop land and from juniors to seniors.
What’s next? This April, the state has scheduled 3 weeks for hearings in Salem on the claims by the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Klamath Irrigation Project. One decision that will come out of these hearings is who will hold the water rights for the Klamath Project? Will it be the Bureau or the individual irrigation districts in the Project.
Marbut thinks that it will take two to five more years before all the hearings will be completed and regulation of water rights in the Klamath Basin will start.
Marbut handed out a 10 page paper on the Oregon Adjudication Process, which included the following:
Status of Adjudication Contests
Klamath Indian Reservation. The Klamath Indians have hunted, fished and foraged in the Upper Klamath River Basin for many generations. In 1864, the Klamath and Modoc Tribes entered into a treaty with the United States whereby they relinquished aboriginal claim to some 12 million acres in exchange for a reservation of approximately 800,000 acres in the Upper Basin. The Tribes held the land in communal ownership until Congress passed the General Allotment Act of 1887. Pursuant to the Allotment Act parcels of tribal land were granted to individual Indians in fee. Approximately 25% of the original Reservation passed from tribal ownership to individual Indians. Over time, many of these allotments passed into non-Indian ownership.
In 1954, Congress enacted the Klamath Termination Act, under which tribal members could give up their interest in tribal property for cash. A large majority of the tribal members chose to sell. In 1958, the federal Government purchased 15,000 acres of the Klamath Marsh to create the Klamath Forest Wildlife Refuge. In 1961, and again in 1975, the United States purchased large forested portions of the former Reservation to become part of the Winema National Forest. In 1973, the United States condemned most of the rest of the tribal land and essentially extinguished the original Klamath Reservation. The United States now hold title to approximately 70% of the former Reservation land.
Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force
John Engbring, Klamath Fish and Wildlife Office Supervisor, U. S. Fish and Wildlife, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, CA
(The Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force is a Federal Advisory Committee that was established by the Klamath Act of 1986 to guide a 20-year program to restore anadromous fisheries of the Klamath River. The history and accomplishments of the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force will de described briefly.)
The KRBFTF has been in existence for 17 years and has spent $17,267,297 for administration, education, restoration, and other projects. They receive $1 million a year in federal tax dollars.
Their long range plans at the beginning were:
What the task force has not done well:
Upper Klamath Basin Watershed Assessment of the Williamson River From the Headwaters to Kirk Reef
Jennifer Miller, Dan Haggerty, Joss Sara – David Evans and Associates, Inc., Portland, Oregon
(The Upper Klamath Basin Watershed Assessment is a team effort involving local organizations and the people that care about their watersheds within the Klamath Basin. In this workshop we will discuss the technical elements of watershed assessments and how this information is joined with the thoughts and knowledge of the people that live within the watershed to develop and prioritize restoration efforts.)
Primary issues in watershed assessment:
Restoration means restoring functions of an ecosystem – not return it to a pre-Columbian condition.
The Upper Williamson River from the headwaters to the Kirk Reef is 850,000 acres of which 65% is in Federal ownership by the USFS.
There are no threatened or endangered species in this reach of the river but it is suspected that at one time Bull Trout inhabited the upper river. Native fish species are the Klamath large scale sucker, lampreys, chub, red-band and rainbow trout. The only non-native introduced fish is the Brown trout (or Brownies as Gerta Hyde calls them).
The six components of a watershed assessment:
Technical advice – what are we missing and what should be our focus?
Point us at technical data that we might not know about – pictures, life stories, etc
The workshop was opened for general discussion:
Gerta Hyde suggested a 7th component – What about the Uplands condition in the watershed?
Gerta Hyde also said that fish from the headwaters can’t get through the Klamath Marsh (no channel, shallow water) so the river above the Marsh is different then below the Marsh. Even the Klamath large scale suckers are genetically different on each side of the Marsh – per Larry Dunsmoor, Klamath Tribes biologist.
Historically, the Klamath Marsh had 10,000 acres of wocus – per Larry Dunsmoor, Klamath Tribes biologist.
Gerta Hyde on sediment – US Timberlands are a big part of the uplands, logging practices worry her – she’s waiting for disturbed pummy to flow down into the river. Several years ago, fire retardant slurry washed downstream and into Hyde Lake and killed all the fish.
Gerta Hyde on habitat – Beaver had totally disappeared along the river and the other small tributaries below Yamsi Ranch within two years of the bad 1962 Columbus Day storm. Gerta still has a few beaver on the Ranch.
Concerning elk in the watershed - improving upland habitat would take pressure off the riparian areas where the elk like to feed. Yamsi Ranch has incased all the willows along the river to keep the elk from eating them.
A scientist working in Yellowstone National Park has observed that wolves kill more elk around riparian areas because the elk have fewer places to run along streams then in upland hardwoods.
50 to 75 years ago, there were no elk in the Upper Williamson River area, 15 to 25 years ago a large herd developed in the area and locals have noticed that they are starting to decline. Decrease in forage for big game?
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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