Lower Klamath refuge to start getting water
KWUA/Klamath Water Users Association 9/5/19
Klamath National Wildlife Refuge began receiving 50 cubic
feet per second (cfs) of Klamath Project Supply through Ady
Canal, operated by Klamath Drainage District, according to a
on top of water already being provided, comes at a critical
time for fall waterfowl migration, and has become available
through extensive coordination and efforts by Klamath
“We have been
very conservative with our supply this year and feel
fortunate that we are able to send some additional water to
the Refuge at this critical time,” said Tulelake Irrigation
District Manager Brad Kirby.
“We will still
have irrigation demand through November, so we will proceed
cautiously and closely monitor diversion of the remaining
supply and meet the needs of Project irrigators while
attempting to maximize benefit of potential available water
for the Refuge.
of responsible water management by irrigators and various
favorable weather conditions have led to the Klamath Project
potentially having anywhere between 6,000-21,000 acre-feet
(estimated) of a calculated “Project Supply” available for
diversion to the Lower Klamath Refuge.
there has been ongoing inter-district coordination and
conservation measures, as well as coordination with refuge
managers and conservation groups.
Project irrigators understand the importance of the refuge
to waterfowl and are pleased to be able to make a water
supply available for the critical early fall period when
waterfowl start migrating through the Basin,” said Klamath
Drainage District Manager Scott White.
The timing of
the water delivery is paramount in determining the benefit
of Lower Klamath Refuge to the waterfowl of the Pacific
that the current diversion is not necessarily all that will
occur. “Our district may also have additional water that we
can pump from Tule Lake sumps to the refuge when the
waterfowl managers say it would do the most good, he said.”
Endangered Species Act (ESA) restrictions, there is a total
“Project Supply” from Upper Klamath Lake calculated for the
March-October irrigation season at the Klamath Project. The
refuge can only use Project Supply that is in excess of
irrigation needs, along with some other sources that exist
outside the Project Supply.
In years past,
there would have been more than adequate water available for
refuge needs, but that has changed due to ESA requirements
to maintain water levels in Upper Klamath and to send water
down the Klamath River.
“Even in a year
with 130 percent of average precipitation, we still did not
have a full allocation to the Project,” said Klamath
Irrigation District Manager Gene Souza. The ESA requirements
for fish are overwhelmingly the biggest risk to the water
needs of the Refuge as well as the Project.”
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