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Reclamation's guiding water document, Biological Assessment, released

  • , Herald and News 12/23/18

The Bureau of Reclamation released its new biological assessment regarding water flows into the Klamath River from Upper Klamath Lake Friday evening.

The document is a precursor to a Biological Opinion that guides how much water is released and when to protect endangered fish downstream and meet On Project irrigator demands.

The document is nearly 450 pages, plus 250 pages of appendices.

It is titled, “Final Biological Assessment: The effects of the proposed action to operate the Klamath Project from April 1, 2019, through March 31, 2029, on federally listed threatened and endangered species.”

The full set of documents is posted on the Herald and News website (www.heraldandnews.com) to allow the public to review it. Since it is so extensive — and many officials are unavailable due to the holiday weekend — analysis of the document will be written at a later date.

The Project is located in south-central Oregon and northeastern California and contains approximately 230,000 acres of irrigable land.

Reclamation stores, diverts and conveys waters of the Klamath and Lost Rivers to meet authorized Project purposes — including the wildlife refuges — and contractual obligations in compliance with state and federal laws and carries out the activities necessary to maintain the Project and ensure its proper long-term functioning and operation.

The federally listed endangered and threatened species include the Lost River sucker, shortnose sucker, coho salmon, and, to a lesser degree, the North American green sturgeon.

The last Biological Opinion which Reclamation was operating under was released in 2013.

This document said that its “proposed action…is likely to adversely affect Lost River and shortnose suckers and coho salmon.”

Details of how Reclamation will use the operating document will be written as time allows and as news sources become available.



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