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Notes from the

Upper Klamath Basin Science Workshop

February 3-6, 2004



Tuesday, February 3

Laying the Foundation

  • Main Purpose of the Science Workshop:

Dennis Lynch, USGS

There are many data gaps concerning the Klamath Basin. There are many aquatic, hydrologic, and biological information missing. What science needs to be done is most important, not who’s going to pay for it.

  • Upcoming Federal Investment in the UKB

Jason Peltier, DOI Deputy Ass Secretary, Water & Science

"There are data needs for today’s decisions and data needs for future decisions."

"All science needs peer review at the front end of the scientific process (check the methods used) along with peer review of the results."

  • Geographic Context of Upper Klamath Basin & Data Needs

Dr. John Ritter, OIT

Using GIS (Geographic Information System – maps etc)

"The Klamath River is the second longest river in California and carries almost as much water as the Colorado River."

"70% of the Upper Basin is forested."

"The Williamson and Wood Rivers originate on the east side of Crater Lake."

"Upper Klamath Lake is 8 miles wide and 40 miles long with an average depth of 2.4 meters or 7.9 feet. 15 inches of precipitation falls on the valley floor to 70 inches in the mountains. Snowfall: 41 inches on the valley floor to 521 inches at Crater Lake."

USGS, USF&WS, NOAA, USFS, BOR, Universities, etc – working between different agencies and working from different data sets (many types of data is available), pedigree of data differs. When 2 agencies use 2 different data sources, they come up with different answers to the same question. Scientists need to agree on the data to use for comparison – no seamless data sets – for comparing data.

Data not consistent across agency lines. Different agencies will have different mission objectives.



Agency & Stakeholder Perspectives

  • Overview of the National Research Council (NRC) Report and the Relative Importance of Identified Science Needs

Bill Lewis, University of Colorado and NRC Chair, Committee on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin

"Upper Klamath Lake has seen more study then other areas of the basin habitat for the suckers."

"Before man intervened; in dry years, UKL had changed 6 feet in levels."

"It is apparent that Blue Green Algae was not in UKL 30 – 40 years ago." BGA can fix nitrogen in its cells.

"UKL is fertilizing itself with phosphorus."

We need more studies:

1. Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoir – leave alone except study how Clear Lake (much different habitat then UKL) keeps a viable population of suckers

2. Lake of the Woods – poison the game fish and reintroduce suckers

3. Lower Klamath Lake – now just a sump for the Klamath Project

4. Tulelake – has a large population of adult suckers (how many?) and they seem to want to spawn

What we need to know:

1. Abundance estimates in UKL should continue and be expanded

2. Abundance in other areas

3. Sucker population comparison between UKL, Clear Lake, and Gerber

4. Studies of stress on suckers

5. Spawning sources

6. Hydrologic transport of sucker larvae

7. Non native fish species predators

Actions needed

1. Screening of Link River Dam intakes

2. Oxygenation of UKL

3. Protection of the 13 different spawning areas in UKL and its tributaries

4. New population areas

Sucker larvae production does not drop with lake level and the drop in available emerging vegetation. Clear Lake has no emerging vegetation yet has abundant year types of fish, so vegetation seems unimportant to larvae in UKL.

  • Bureau of Reclamation

Dave Sabo, Area Manager

(Sabo is not a hydrologist – his degree is in biology)

"Restoring the suckers and the coho should not be only on the shoulders of the Klamath Project."

"The Klamath Project needs better certainty now."

Sabo talked about the CIP and the Upper Colorado River program that he was involved with before coming to Klamath. He told the group that he recommended to NOAA to add CIP to the coho BiOp and low and behold, it was added.

Second draft of the CIP coming out soon and Sabo will be holding facilitated public meetings for public comments.

Sabo also has changed his mind about a possible Long Lake reservoir – is now saying that it maybe feasible and not as expensive as he first thought.


  • Fish and Wildlife Service

Curt Mullis, Field Supervisor

What data does the USF&WS need for recovery of the eco-system and the species?

Sucker Biology and Recovery

1. Populations, threats, entrainment, and fish health

2. Status/Biology

3. Restoration

4. Planning

Water Quality Issues

1. Ph loading

2. Limnohumics / AFA Dynamics

3. Water column stability / mixing

4. Wetland restoration

Water Quantity

1. Water budget / watershed effects

2. Runoff / forecasting

3. Wetland / riparian effects

Ecosystem Restoration

1. Riparian / wetland habitat

2. Fish populations

3. Water quantity and quality

Sprague River Watershed

1. Floodplain function baseline

2. River geomorphology

3. Assessment / monitoring of suckers

Wildlife Refuges

1. Waterfowl – more info needed

2. Water birds – more info needed

3. Bald Eagles

Bull Trout

1. Population / distribution status

2. Water quality / temp

3. Pathogens

FERC Relicensing

1. Flow baseline / Hydrological Assumptions (Hardy?)

2. Salmonid Reintroduction above Iron Gate

3. Project effects

Ecological Contaminants

1. Baseline monitoring on refuges

2. Pesticides and other pollution from farming


  • Bureau of Land Management

John Raby, Area Manager

The local BLM office controls 215,000 acres in Klamath County.

They are responsible for implementing the NW Forest Plan on their forest land – restore and maintain the watershed. Also involved in restoring the riparian areas around Agency Lake and the Wood River. And involved in TMDL.


  • Hatfield Upper Klamath Basin Working Group

Marshall Staunton & Mark Stern, Co-Chairs

*Staunton explained the conception and makeup of the Hatfield group and stated that he wished there was a comparable group for the lower Basin below Iron Gate.

*Stern talked about the diversity in species (all, not just ESA listed) in the Klamath Basin; the diversity in government agencies, different states and state agencies, plus all the NGO’s that are involved.

"Getting all this diversity to work together is part of the problem." "What are the facts?"

Different groups and stakeholders looking at different data/same data and coming up with different answers. All can’t agree on the science study needs.

All old/new science data needs to be shared with all the diverse groups – need good science that we can all believe and stand behind.


  • Klamath Water Users

Steve Kandra, Board of Directors

Biggest problems:

1. Technical collaborations

Personal knowledge on the ground – people who have lived here forever

2. Processes scientific types use

3. Proprietary science – not very productive

4. Stakeholders need to verify the actual science

5. Public relations

If you receive federal funding and work with a government program, you should get

credit for it

6. Get the job done and move on


  • State of Oregon

Barry Norris, Oregon Water Resources Department

Chip Dale, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife


Data needs:

1. Uncertainty in water forecast

2. Where we need water and how much – flow gauges – have had 40 total over the years but only 22 are still active and 11 of them are short time gauges, soon to be turned off –

there are 527 diversion being monitored for water use

3. Complete adjudication

4. Water right mapping

5. Hydrographic records

6. Pump test data – pump test wells every 10 years

7. Total diversion inventory


Current sucker populations are not an accurate representation of future populations.

Data needs:

1. Total number of fish not necessarily an indicator of sustainability or predictability

2. Need a "Real Time" assessment method

3. Need to know if the population is replacing itself

4. Long term return to fishing

5. Need to know how age classes respond to habitat

6. Adult mortality during die-offs

7. Lake levels versus timing of change

8. Spawning habitat studies

9. Assessment of improvement of habitat

Ecological Aspects - need to look at the status and productivity of other species

1. Redband Trout

2. Bull Trout in Sun Creek

3. Chubs as indicators

4. Understand sucker conservation effects on other species


  • Forest Service

Richard Ford, Program Manager for Water Resources Team

Ford explained the flow gauges the Forest Service maintains in the upper watershed and talked about the Healthy Forest Initiative.

Data needs:

1. Understanding the distribution and viability of aquatic communities, populations, and life histories

2. Increase monitoring evaluations

3. Knowledge of riparian ecology

4. Up to date survey and inventories of all forest resources

5. A data base for easy access to all available data


  • Overview of Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team Report

Stan Gregory, Oregon State University

"No silver bullet that will prevent sucker fish kills."

Gregory explained why the IMST report differed from the NRC report.

"They (NRC) looked for ‘simple’ correlations – IMST looked for more complex links."

NRC looked at other state wide rivers and lakes and compared them to Klamath instead of just looking at the science of Klamath.

Overview of presentation: Gregory and the IMST disagreed with the NRC report and thought their report was better.



Wednesday, February 3

Session B: Physical Hydrology

  • General Surface – Water Hydrology

Jonathan LaMarche, Oregon Water Resources Department

(OWRD has Forest Service flow gauge data online but not up to date)

Instream flows on the east side of the basin react to current year precipitation as runoff.

Instream flows on the west side of the basin do not totally react to current year precipitation but ground water and spring fed flows.

Examples: Williamson River headwaters is a ground water spring.

Lost River – no ground water

Upper Klamath River – ground water

Klamath River below Iron Gate – mostly runoff

Key Unknowns:

1. Measured diversions above UKL

2. Streamflow forecast

3. Water Budget for the Klamath Project (Cal Poly working on this one)

4. Canal leakage data for Klamath Project

5. Daily inflow data into Gerber and Clear Lake


  • Ground-Water Hydrology

Marshall Gannett, USGS

Ground water use in the Klamath Basin has increased and we don’t know what affect that will have on the water levels of springs and streams. Is ground water pumping sustainable? Do we need a reasonable pumping schedule?

Data Needs:

1. What is the spatial and temporal distribution of recharge?

2. Directions of regional ground water flow?

3. Spatial and temporal distribution

4. How do stresses propagate through the region – drought, etc?

USGS has been working on a ground water survey for 5 years. Some early results: Total average precipitation is about 10 million acre/feet/year. 0% to 50% of precipitation could end up as ground water depending on weather, elevation, etc.

USGS is working on a water table map and are starting to get a pretty good idea of ground water flow.

Tulelake collects not only from runoff but ground water also flows toward the lowest point – Tulelake.

About 2,500 ft(3)/s of ground water discharge has been identified (1,800 ft (3)/s is to the lake and it’s tributaries) above the lake.

*Evapotranspiration from wetlands

*Long term water level fluctuations are largely climate driven

*18 months away from having a numerical model to help decision making (some monitoring will be ending this summer because of lack of money)

*Are surface and groundwater watersheds the same?

Just a starting place and comparison points for the models.


  • Hydroclimate of the Western U.S.

Greg McCabe, USGS

*El Nino’s mean dry conditions for the western US and wet in the SW and Central Basin

*La Nina’s mean wet conditions in the PNW

*Summer/fall climate indices maybe useful to forecast winter snowpack and subsequent streamflow

Projected streamflow timings per models from ‘Global Warming’, runoff from upper Basin will come earlier (good reason to have more storage – Long Lake) if air and water temps are going to rise. We need more deep cold water storage – for summer and fall cool water down the river.

(Note: Gannett showed a slide showing all the ground water wells that are monitored in the Basin. Butte Valley showed lots of ground water irrigation wells – what does that do to the water table for the whole basin?)

  • Evapotranspiration

Bill Bidlake, USGS

*Estimate ET Modeling: Any technique that computes ET using equations.

*ET – Wetlands estimated 2.3 to 3.0 feet from May 1 to Oct 31

Data Needs:

1. Better estimates of ET from wetlands, surface water, and forests to understand water balance

about ground recharge

2. Need more ET measurement in the Basin


  • Hydrologic Restoration of Wetlands: Opportunities, Constraints, & Unknowns

Leslie Bach, The Nature Conservancy

Value of wetlands: storage and release, nutrient and sediment retention, habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species and communities.

3 types of wetlands: headwater emergent marshes, lake fringe wetlands, and floodplain wetlands.


1. Contributions of surface versus groundwater

2. Water budget characteristics

3. Recovery potential, where are we headed

4. Onsite versus offsite impacts – changes in watershed

*Sycan is a surface water driven system.

*7,500 acres at the Williamson Delta

Plan to remove dikes along the river and lake and turn the land back into a floodplain

wetlands. Water service level elevation – 4143 feet – river flow at 2,070 cfs during flood

- boundary flow at 725 cfs

No information about decomposition of wetland to water quality – answer may come tomorrow.


  • Water Supply Forecasting

Phil Pasteris, Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Dept of Ag

1937 – historical snow data at some places in the basin.

Go to website: www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov







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

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