Wednesday January 11, 2023

Capital Press

The federal government is proposing to reduce flows in the Klamath River by as much as 40% until April to meet minimum water levels for endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake amid ongoing drought.

Cutbacks are needed due to “extraordinary hydrologic conditions,” according to the Bureau of Reclamation in a draft management plan for the Klamath Project.

While the last several weeks have brought much-needed rain and snow to the Klamath Basin, the region is still mired in severe and extreme drought.

As of Jan. 4, overall precipitation was 112% of normal for the water year dating back to Oct. 1. However, Reclamation expects Upper Klamath Lake will be 15,000 to 30,000 acre-feet below its target elevation of 4,142.2 feet by April 1, unless water managers take action.

Minimum lake elevations are needed to protect critical shoreline spawning habitat for C’waam and Koptu, two species of endemic and endangered sucker fish. 

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