Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
September 5, 2003
Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust
Response to comments provided by the USGS
KBRT responses are embedded within the original document. The responses are indicated by green italicized font.
United States Department of the Interior
10615 SE Cherry Blossom Drive
Portland, Oregon 97216-3159
To: John Rasmussen, US Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Falls, OR
From: John C. Risley, USGS, Portland, OR
Subject: Review of the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust reports:
- 2002 Preliminary Restoration Plan
- 2002 Pilot Project Monitoring Report
- 2003 Pilot Project Monitoring Plan
Thank you for opportunity to review these reports. My review was limited to the surface-water elements in these reports. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about any of my comments. I can be reached at: (503) 251-3279 or email@example.com.
2002 Preliminary Restoration Plan
This document provides a good overview of the project background and goals. I had no significant comments on it since its purpose was not to present monitoring data and results.
2002 Pilot Project Monitoring Report
Overall, the surface-water data collection methods and analyses presented in the report appear technically sound and appropriate. Some errors and specific comments are discussed below.
Page vii. The second paragraph states that cattle herds were reduced to 15%. However, in the 2002 Preliminary Restoration Plan and the 2003 Pilot Project Monitoring Plan documents, it says they were reduced by 20%.
The inconsistency is noted. In 2002 no formal documentation of stocking rates occurred since cattle were rotated throughout the participating properties differentlythan under historic management conditions. The best estimate of 2002 stocking rates is 15-20% below historic averages. These rates should have been presented as a range in both documents rather than as absolute values.
For the 2003 Pilot Project, all KBRT contracts mandate that stocking rates must not exceed 20% of historic averages. Each landowner has provided KBRT with estimates of historic rates and documentation of the stocking rate for 2003. These more accurate values will be presented in the 2003 Monitoring Report.
Page vii. In the first bullet item near the bottom of the page, it is stated: "Although WY2002 was drier than….flows were only in the 50 cfs range during irrigation periods." This sentence is misleading because it implies that flows during the irrigation periods (pre 2002) were on average around 50 cfs. However, according to information in section 3, the 50 cfs was a typical minimum flow during the irrigation season in those years and not the average flow.
GMA will look into the inconsistencies between the Executive summary and the data supplied in Section 3 of the 2002 Pilot Project Monitoring Report.
Pages vii-viii. Numbers (or results) presented in the Executive Summary were not always the same numbers presented in section 3 and appendix A. They seem to be an average or approximation. As an example, in the top of page vii it states: "Preliminary estimates suggest that Crooked Creek flows in 2002 were 10-15 cfs higher." However, (in section 3) a wider range of numbers are presented and "10-15 cfs" is not specifically stated. As a suggestion, an author should present results in both the main report body and the executive summary as consistently as possible. Also, a summary section should never contain any new results that were not already presented in the body.
The 2002 Pilot Project Monitoring report (Page 9, last section) describes the 3 methods used to derive the average 10-15 cfs increase in discharge on Crooked Creek due to the cessation of irrigation in the pilot project area. While each method of analysis produced a different value for the estimated increase in streamflow on Crooked Creek, the 10-15 cfs estimate seems to be a reasonable value based on the results of the 3 methods. This overall estimate should have been presented in the text of the report as well as in the Executive Summary to improve clarity for the reader.
Table 3-3 does not show Sevenmile Creek system gage information as stated in the text on page 8.
We have checked the 2002 Pilot Project Monitoring Report and Table 3-3 is referenced correctly (at least on the copy supplied to GMA). Let us know if you need a corrected version.
Figure 3-1 states that the Wood River gage near the Annie Creek confluence is above the confluence. However, Figure 3-3 shows this gage below the confluence.
This was an oversight on our part. No sites were operated above or below Annie Creek on the Wood River. We apologize for the confusion.
Figure 3-7. Does "MDQ" stand for mean daily discharge? This should be spelled out for the reader.
MDQ is an abbreviation for mean daily discharge. In the future this will be spelled out so that it is clear to the reader.
Figure 3-8. The header should be changed to "Crooked Creek at Root Ranch". In the 1960s, the USGS had a gage on Crooked Creek near the current gage at Root Branch. Officially it was called "Crooked Creek near Fort Klamath, Oregon". However, using that location description would be too general for this report. Information about the USGS gage should still be included in the figure, such as the USGS site number (in this case: 11504200) so the reader can always find out exactly where the data came from. The USGS location description "Crooked Creek near Fort Klamath, Oregon" could also be included in a figure footnote.
Comment noted. We will make the changes you have suggested.
Page 9. Fourth paragraph. Text says: "…flows never drop below 64 cfs." This statement is not true according to figure 3-7. Flows were below 60 cfs in May 2002.
GMA has noted this inconsistency and will make a correction once the data is verified.
Figure 3-9 needs to include information on what the "mean" (horizontal black line) is based on. Assuming that it is the mean of water years 1965, 1966, and 1967, then that should be stated on the figure.
The comment is noted and this will be clarified. For figure 3-9 mean refers to the following: Departure from the mean is computed by taking the mean daily discharge for the entire irrigation season (1967) and subtracting each daily flow from that mean.
Page 10. First paragraph. To check the analysis presented, I downloaded the 3 years of USGS daily flow from Crooked Creek and put them into Excel. However, I computed departure sums (2, 9, and 3 cfs for the 3 years) that were different from the departure sums shown in the text. I contacted the report author, Graham Matthews, by phone. After rechecking, he acknowledged that the values in the text were in error. Not having the 2002 flow data, I could not check values for the two other methods (presented in the second and third paragraphs).
Comment noted. GMA checked the analysis for the other two methods and these were correct. 2002 flow data can be provided on request.
Section 5, Evapotranspiration Estimates. The methods presented in this chapter appear technically sound. I checked values in tables 5-2 and 5-3 with the tables in Cuenca and others (1992). I also checked the math in tables 5-4 and 5-5, and it appeared correct. However, for both tables 5-4 and 5-5, in the header--under "Net ET", instead of "(Volume/Depth)" it should be "(Volume/Surface Area)".
Estimates of water used for irrigation in the KBRT land presented in both sections 3 and 5 are consistent (roughly 10-15 cfs over the irrigation season). However, the report did not present estimates of return (tailwater) flows. If tailwater is significant then the estimated added inflow to Upper Klamath Lake in WY2002 (due to the cessation of irrigation) would actually be less than 10-15 cfs. While talking to the author, Graham Matthews, he told me that most of the Crooked Creek tailwater is returned to the creek at locations downstream of the Crooked Creek at Root Ranch gage. That piece of information should be included in the report since most of the analyses (which estimated "10-15 cfs") are based on flow data from that gage site (above the tailwater inflows).
We agree and the 2002 report should be amended. Tailwater is being monitored in 2003, although changes at the terminus of the Thomas Pump Ditch make it possible for tailwater to go into either the Wood or lower Crooked Creek (downstream of the pump the tailwater diffuses through a wide riparian/wetland complex).
Appendix A: Surface-water monitoring report. Methods described in this section are used in the USGS and appear sound. USGS recommended measuring equipment were used. Streamflow computations were made using "Western Hydro" software, which is comparable to USGS software.
Table A-4. The header does not identify the location on Crooked Creek. I assume it is Crooked Creek at Root Ranch?
Comment noted. It should be labeled Crooked Creek at Root Ranch.
Page A-14. The number of discharge measurements by within the Wood River system in 2002 are listed on table A-5, not table A-4 as stated in the text.
Comment noted. We will strive to avoid these errors in the future.
WY2003 Pilot Project Monitoring Plan
Section 2--Surface Water
The goals and objectives for surface-water quantity monitoring, outlined on pages 4 and 5, seem appropriate. These include: "1) to determine if reduced irrigation demand results in higher instream flows, (2) to quantify the amount of return (tailwater) flows reaching the main channel network, and (3) to develop streamflow accounting units." However, the document contains no specific information on how these objectives will be achieved. It basically is saying, a lot surface water flow data will be collected at various locations all over the Wood Valley. But, there is no way to determine if collecting data at these designated locations will be sufficient to answer the objectives. It is also possible that proposed data collection could be data collection "overkill". The current data collection network for the Crooked Creek seems appropriate since it is within most of the KBRT lands. Flow gages seem to be located at the most important upstream and downstream boundaries of the system. All systems (Crooked, Wood, and Sevenmile/Fourmile) have gages at their downstream locations, which is also appropriate. However, I sense that the Sevenmile/Fourmile system may have more gages then necessary.
The monitoring report will be changed in order to better define how the objectives will be achieved. Any suggestions that you have would be greatly appreciated as the Sevenmile and Fourmile systems are extremely complicated. GMA has attempted to set up streamflow accounting units similar to the sites set up on Crooked Creek. In order to do this, many gaging stations are necessary. The original number of stations within the Sevenmile system has been reduced, however, due to access issues. We would be very interested in discussing your opinion on how the gaging network in this basin could be better set up.
Most of the remaining information in section 2 (pages 5 through 9) was already stated in the 2002 Pilot Project Monitoring Report
Section 4--Evapotranspiration Monitoring
The objective of the evapotranspiration monitoring is to quantify the difference in water use between irrigated and non-irrigated pasture. The proposed evapotranspiration monitoring (using the Bowen ratio method) appears technically sound, and should provide more accurate and robust estimates of crop consumptive use than the shorter analysis presented in the 2002 Pilot Project Monitoring Report (Section 5). Monitoring will be done at two stations—in irrigated and non-irrigated environments. Success in this monitoring effort will be dependent on finding locations that adequately represent these two environments.
We concur that proper site selection is essential to the success of this monitoring, and careful attention has been given to the selections.
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