Increased flows from lake expected for Klamath
May 14, 2017 by Holly Dillemuth,
Herald and News
More than 7000 acre feet per
second of water flows from Link River Dam in this photo taken
March 2017. Increased flows to flush out a parasite on the
Klamath River are expected in the next few weeks.
of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office is anticipating
the need to release 50,000 of the Klamath Project’s 390,000
acre feet of water for “emergency dilution flows” from Upper
Klamath Lake into the Klamath River within the next couple
reason for the release will be if concentration of “spores”
from a parasite known as C shasta continues to rise in the
action, if taken, could spur short-term impacts to Upper
Klamath Lake elevations and long-term impacts to the Lower
Klamath Refuge later in the year, according to Jason
Cameron, deputy area manager of the Klamath Basin Area
Office of the Bureau of Reclamation.
court order issued March 24 caps emergency dilution flows
from the Upper Klamath Lake into the Klamath River at 50,000
acre feet of water.
flows could begin as early as next Thursday or within the
next few weeks,” said Jared Bottcher, acting water
operations chief for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath
Basin Area Office.
issued) Those flows could remain in effect till June 15.”
Emergency dilution flows are required when C. shasta — a
type of parasite native to the Klamath River Basin that can
infect fish — is found in the amount of more than five per
liter of water sampled, or more than 20 percent of
out-migrating Chinook salmon found to infected with C.
shasta, according to BOR officials.
seen water samples close to that trigger,” said Bottcher.
BOR is trying to minimize the impact to project irrigators
and Upper Klamath Lake levels by pumping water from water
stored on Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, north of
Agency Lake, into Upper Klamath Lake.
the full 50,000 is needed, we would have 340,000 available
(acre feet of water) to deliver to the Klamath Project,”
believe that 340,000 acre feet will be more than adequate to
meet the whole project demand from Upper Klamath Lake. The
impact will most likely be to the (Lower Klamath National
Wildlife) Refuge because the refuge can get a portion of the
remaining project supply at the end of the year,” he said.
that 50,000 acre feet is used for dilution flows, then the
remaining project supply would be 50,000 acre feet smaller,
thereby restricting the ability to get water to the refuge.”
Cameron said water rights regulation is always an option for
the Klamath Project if the district believes there will be a
shortage at the end of the year.
Tribe and Oregon State University researchers take samples
from four different sites along the Klamath River on a
weekly basis to determine the number of parasites per liter,
according to Bottcher.
Bottcher said the occurrence of reaching the parasite
threshold tends to happen each year between April and June.
parasite lives within a worm in the bottom of the river that
acts as an intermediate host, according to Bottcher.
worms are about the size of a grain of rice,” Bottcher said.
worm releases a “spore” about the size of a droplet,
are actually what attach to fish and infect fish,” he said.
“The parasite actually infects their intestinal tract and so
if you see a fish with a distended belly, that’s a clinical
sign that they have been diseased by C. shasta.”
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
section 107, any copyrighted material
herein is distributed without profit or
payment to those who have expressed a
prior interest in receiving this
information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only. For more
information go to: