Feds sue Oregon over Upper Klamath Lake water releases

The Bend Bulletin

The U.S. government is challenging an order from Oregon water regulators that forbids water releases from Upper Klamath Lake to boost flows in the Klamath River.

The legal dispute pits the enforcement of state water rights against the federal government’s obligation to operate the Klamath irrigation project in compliance with the Endangered Species Act.

To improve stream conditions for threatened salmon in the Klamath river, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation releases water through its Link River Dam under an operations plan for the irrigation project.

In April, the Oregon Water Resources Department issued an order prohibiting the bureau from making releases that would drain water from Upper Klamath Lake to which irrigators hold water rights.

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