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Reclamation pulls back on water releases

by Gerry O'Brien 2/11/17 Herald and News

Klamath Dams

The Bureau of Reclamation has pulled back on the amount of water it is releasing to the Klamath River as towns downstream are seeing flooding due to the recent rains.

Laura Williams, public affairs specialist for the BOR, told the Herald and News late Friday that releases of water from the Link River dam will not go higher than 6,030 cubic feet per second.

"We had planned to go up to 6,500 cfs but in consideration for the folks downstream, we're pulling back."

Northern California has been deluged with rain and the town of Happy Camp along the Klamath River has some roads under water.

The release from the dams on the Klamath has not contributed to the flooding, but could if the flows are increased.

Thursday, the BOR announced it planned to increase flows below Iron Gate Dam to reduce the risk of disease for coho salmon in the Klamath River. The flows below Iron Gate Dam had planned to be elevated, increasing from approximately 4,000 cubic feet per second to as much as 9,600 cfs.

"We're going to wait on increasing flows until some of the area dries out," Williams said.

The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high during this period.

The reason for the increased flows was due to a recent U.S. District Court ruling. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick ordered Reclamation to implement “winter-spring flushing flows designed to dislodge and flush out polychaete worms that host C. shasta.”

The increased flow event is consistent with Judge Orrick’s Order and was planned in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa Valley and Klamath Tribes, Klamath Project water users, state and other fisheries experts, and PacifiCorp.




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