On Thursday, for the first time since President Biden took office, the Interior Department gathered a diverse group of irrigators, tribes and conservation groups scrambling over the Klamath Basin’s dwindling water supply — all under one (virtual) roof.
Though the feds couldn’t make it rain, they’re about to release a river of cash to help fix the watershed in the long term.
With $162 million headed to the Klamath Basin in the next five years for ecosystem restoration projects, money may no longer be the limiting factor in the push to make life easier for endangered species in the watershed.
“This is as exciting of a time to be involved in restoration in this basin as there has been definitely since 2013,” said Adam Johnson, acting field supervisor for the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office. “We are really in a hopeful and great place as far as ecosystem restoration goes.”
Federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, would “make great strides” in addressing the drought crisis in the Klamath Basin. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest $162 million in federal funds to restore the Klamath Basin ecosystem and support water resilience and infrastructure.
A drought-stricken 2021 and a January that hasn’t brought much rain has many officials throughout the Klamath Basin concerned for operations in 2022. Gene Souza, Klamath Irrigation District Manager, says they’re anticipating an April water delivery to its users at the latest. He says with how low the reservoirs are right now, he’d need to pull water from the lake starting in February and that request has already been denied by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).
Few rivers have faced such a protracted battle about their future as the Klamath, which flows through Oregon and Northern California. After decades of negotiations, the decommissioning of four dams on the river is finally in sight, but hurdles remain. We spoke with Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, to learn how he’s working to get the dam removal across the finish line—and what the transformation will mean for the many communities that depend on the river.
In records dating back to 800 AD, the only multi-decade drought that came close to today's was in the 1500's. Researchers say climate change is a factor, and the U.S. must plan for less water.
Removing four dams in the Pacific Northwest will help salmon recovery, clean energy, agriculture and Indigenous rights.
We follow up with hereditary Chief Caleen Sisk about the expansive watershed of the Sacramento River from the headwaters of the Winnemem Waywayket all the way to the Bay-Delta and the Pacific Ocean. We learn about the history of this once epic fishery and what it will take to bring the Salmon back home over the Shasta rim dam, and how New Zealand can help.
The Department of the Interior concluded a series of engagement sessions this week focused on addressing the drought crisis in the Klamath Basin.
Snowpack levels are lower than expected according to the Klamath National Forest. Here's what that could mean, especially for the coming fire season.
Dams mop up debris that would otherwise kill fish and other downstream wildlife, new observations suggest