klamath Basin

The first Europeans to explore the Klamath Basin on foot and horseback in the early 1820s were amazed at how the Indigenous people near present-day Klamath Falls, Ore., depended more on canoes than
horses.  When the army, gold miners and settlers arrived by mid-century, they too relied on water travel.

Nearly four decades after completion of the transcontinental railroad, the Upper Klamath River Basin remained virtually untouched by modern commerce at the outset of the 20th century.

Meadow Mice Invade Klamath Basin in 1957-58

Jan 23, 2017

It was called everything from irruption and infestation to invasion and overpopulation.  Whatever the word, the Klamath and Tule Lake basins had as many as 3,000 to 4,000 meadow mice per acre in 1957-1958.  The cause of the rodent outbreak remains unknown.

Bobjgalindo/Wikipedia Commons

In December, Congress adjourned without passing legislation to ratify a trio of agreements meant to end the long-standing water wars in the Klamath Basin. This essentially killed the deal, arrived at through years of painstaking negotiations between farmers, ranchers, tribes and other groups.

Now, there’s a move to demolish four dams on the Klamath River through a separate regulatory process, bypassing the need for Congressional approval.

After The Klamath Agreements, What Next?

Jan 4, 2016

New year, no agreement.  The long-awaited and long-debated Klamath Basin Agreements governing the use of Klamath River water died at the end of 2015, because Congress failed to implement the agreements.

Tribal governments originally supported the agreements, but that changed over time. 

Now the tribes and other entities have to figure out where to go next to remove the Klamath dams or otherwise address the myriad of issues facing the river, its sources, and water users. 

Walden's Klamath Water Bill Under Fire

Dec 7, 2015
Kevin Hume / Herald and News

At face value, a draft water bill released Thursday nets the Klamath Basin ag community water security, but does little to honor the bargained-for-benefits the Klamath, Karuk and Yurok tribes fought for during a years-long negotiation process.

Yurok Call For Better Scott River Flows

Dec 1, 2015
John R. McMillan/NOAA Fisheries

Fish can take a beating in drought years in Western rivers. 

But water management can make the effects of drought worse for fish, in the eyes of the Yurok Tribe. 

The tribe runs its own fisheries department, and recently released an analysis of water flows in the Scott River, a major Klamath River tributary. 

The tribe's concerns about the Klamath are well-known; the Yurok pulled out of the Klamath Agreements seeking dam removal a few months ago. 

BOR Takes Comments On Klamath Salmon EIS

Aug 14, 2015

The Klamath River's vital importance to both Oregon and California explains the frequent disagreements over how its water will be used.  The debates rage even in non-drought years, and 2015 is not one of those.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation continues work toward an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Long-Term Plan for the Protection of Adult Salmon in the Lower Klamath River. 

Shorter version: it's a plan that should take some of the annual ups-and-downs out of the late-summer releases of additional water into the Trinity River.

BOR just finished a series of open houses on the project and will take public input until Thursday, August 20. 

Feds Consider Klamath Basin Complaint

Jul 7, 2015
US Fish & Wildlife

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Klamath Water and Power Authority (KWAPA) join forces on a number of water projects.  Now ​the federal agency that evaluates whistleblower complaints says there's cause to investigate how KWAPA spent tens of millions in federal funding.  

  Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility--PEER--announced that a whistleblower says money meant for fish conservation went to irrigators instead, and millions may have been wasted. 

Questioning Klamath Water Allocations

May 8, 2015
Edward J. O'Neill/National Fish and Wildlife Service

The ongoing efforts to distribute water in drought years always cause concern for someone. 

We recently visited with the Klamath Water and Power Authority about its program to pay some landowners to pump groundwater rather than irrigate. 

Some observers are less interested in the details than in the fact that it happens at all. 

Klamath River observer and critic Felice Pace certainly has some questions. 

Legislating The Klamath Basin

Jun 2, 2014
US Fish & Wildlife

The people who use water from the Klamath Basin can come together and reach an agreement; many of them did. 

But it still takes federal legislation to give any agreement the force of law. 

Oregon and California senators recently introduced legislation to codify the recent Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement. 

It gets a hearing in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

USDA Forest Service

Twenty-three years ago, the listing of the northern spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act was one of the factors that led to a sharply reduced Northwest timber harvest. Now, wildlife officials are proposing to list the Oregon spotted frog. If approved, this listing would not have nearly the far-reaching impact the spotted owl listing had. But  officials in Klamath County are pushing back against a proposal they fear will lead to intrusive and economically-damaging regulations.

US Fish & Wildlife

For decades, farmers and ranchers have engaged in a bitter tug-of-war with fishermen and Indian tribes over scarce water supplies in the Klamath Basin. Now, government officials and stakeholders have announced the broad outlines of an agreement they say could finally bring peace to the region.

Klamath Water Deal Made

Dec 3, 2013

Ranchers and the Klamath Tribes have reached a tentative deal for sharing water in the drought-stricken Upper Klamath Basin.

Members of a special task force signed an agreement in principal Monday in Klamath Falls. Thier goal is to reach a final agreement early in 2014 that will guide legislation to be offered by U. S. Senator Ron Wyden.

An Alternative Klamath Water Task Force

Oct 8, 2013

The task force appointed to examine Klamath Basin water issues is nearly finished with its work.

But the nature of the work does not please the elected county leaders in Klamath and Siskiyou Counties, who want a future for the Klamath Basin to at least consider keeping the four dams targeted for removal. 

Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams explains what led to the parallel move, and what happens now.  


Humboldt State University

Subjects ranging from wildfire management to the fate of bats will be on the table at Bio Conf this weekend at Humboldt State University. 

If the nickname doesn't ring a bell, we're talking about Biodiversity Conference 2013, running October 4th through the 6th. 

Two Klamath Basin Counties Plan New Talks

Oct 2, 2013
Amelia Templeton/EarthFix

Leaders in two Klamath Basin counties who oppose taking down dams as part of a regional settlement of water issues say they're planning an alternative to talks aimed at salvaging the agreements.

The Klamath Falls Herald and News reports that commissioners in Oregon's Klamath County and supervisors in California's Siskiyou County met on Monday.

No Refuge For Ducks In Klamath Basin

Sep 6, 2013

The drought in the Klamath Basin this summer only worsened the situation of too many entities seeking use of the same water.  Somebody loses, and this year, the losers include ducks in the federal wildlife refuges in the area.  You'll hear the scope of the problem from the Fish and Wildlife Service.