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Good News!

We will be highlighting some of the promising work being done towards a more sustainable future for all of us. These projects cannot singularly save the Basin, and there are definitely not enough of them--yet. But they are the beginnings of a total, holistic approach that is needed. We can look to the people and ideas behind these efforts for inspiration. Let's build on these ideas and create a future where we work together to solve problems instead of looking for someone to blame. Let's look for more ways to restore water quality and create drought resiliency instead of fighting over who gets the last drops of a diminishing supply. – Loree Johnson

Historic funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law builds on proven projects, expands partnerships, and develops sustainable solutions for the Klamath Basin.  -Aug 23, 2022
Klamath estuary 6-6-05 by J Silveira_0.jfif

Klamath River estuary and mouth at Pacific Ocean. Credit: Jennifer Silveira/USFWS

Over the past 20 years, the Klamath Basin has met unprecedented challenges due to ongoing drought conditions, limited water supply and diverse needs. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden in November 2021, made an historic investment in the Klamath Basin. Over the next five years, a total of $162 million will be allocated for Klamath Basin restoration projects. As drought conditions persist throughout the region, the Klamath Basin’s fragile ecosystem will depend on collaborative partnerships among a wide variety of stakeholders and the development of holistic solutions.  

In March, the Service began soliciting year one project proposals from Tribes, local and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other conservation partners. The Service received over 80 proposals and will continue to work with partners who are committed to finding long-term, collaborative solutions for the basin and its communities as the remaining funds are allocated in coming years.   

In addition to the projects selected for year one Klamath Basin funding, the Service is providing $10 million for the expansion of the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery. The Hatchery works to enhance captive-rearing of Endangered Species Act-listed suckers that hold deep cultural significance for the Klamath Tribes. 

Putnam's Point
River Otters
River Otters

Mary Williams Hyde

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Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron

Mary Williams Hyde

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Stephan Savides sculpture
Stephan Savides sculpture

Mary Williams Hyde

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River Otters
River Otters

Mary Williams Hyde

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By Mary Williams Hyde

Thank goodness for Putnam’s Point, Klamath Fall’s recently redone park at the outlet of Klamath Lake into Link River, less than five minutes from my home.  I go there almost every day, sometimes twice a day.   No longer do I have a wide variety of birds and animals to photograph as there are 100's of birds common to the Klamath Basin that used to make their homes in the refuges. Now, at this time of year, at Putnam's Point there are mostly Western and Clark’s Grebes; pelicans; Night, Green and Great Blue herons; egrets; Mallards; otters; beavers; eagles; ospreys; cormorants; Greater Yellowlegs; Spotted Sandpipers; Kingfishers; gulls; and the minks fishing. In the winter there are the Common Mergansers, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Hooded Mergansers, Mallards, Pied-billed Grebes and a few others. Though some might think this a bounty of riches, it is not to me because compared to what I could see on the refuges, this is a greatly reduced number to enjoy. 

Blue Heron flight shot
Blue Heron flight shot

Mary Williams Hyde

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Blue Heron flight shot
Blue Heron flight shot

Mary Williams Hyde

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Gull feeding frenzy
Gull feeding frenzy

Mary Williams Hyde

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Blue Heron flight shot
Blue Heron flight shot

Mary Williams Hyde

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That said, here come the blessings I didn’t expect to experience. With a limited number of birds and wild animals, and the expanded amount of hours I spend with them, I am becoming immersed in their lives as never before and I am having a depth of learning that fills my heart with happiness. I have learned how to predict flight, know territories and families, follow their hunting and feeding behaviors,  and understand much about their social lives. I have learned that Pelicans are mean and mink catch up to 15 or more big fish at a time. I am enjoying visiting with other photogaphers who also enjoy Putnam’s Point. We share stories and photos of unusual, sometimes remarkable photo opportunities we have had like Howard West’s photo recently of a heron catching a big black snake and Jerry Mathis ’s capture of a mink attacking a pelican that was trying to steal the mink's fish, and my photos of the feeding frenzy that occurred for a couple of weeks in August. Then, finally, there is my gullfriend, a crippled Ring-billed Gull that comes to sit quietly nearby most times I am there. I love knowing this wild bird feels safe in my presence.I celebrate and honor the Klamath Basin Audubon Society, the Wendt Family Foundation, and individual donors who had the vision to fund the wonderful sculpture of rushing grebes  by Stephan Savides. I thank the City of Klamath Falls for how expertly they trimmed the park's trees so photographers would have better viewing opportunities, and for how nicely they redesigned the park’s walking paths and landscaping.  It is such a lovely place now, surely one of the best in the west considering how close visitors can get to our famous rushing Grebes.   

eagle-2
eagle-2

Mary Williams Hyde

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eagle-25
eagle-25

Mary Williams Hyde

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eagle-25
eagle-25

Mary Williams Hyde

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eagle-2

Mary Williams Hyde

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Wetlandstransformation.jpg

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - An amazing transformation is taking place on a 40 acre parcel of fallow land on the shores of Klamath Lake. This land, the ancestral home of the Klamath and Modoc people, is coming back to life thanks to a partnership that includes the Klamath Tribes, the Oregon Department of Transportation and contractors. 

  

In 2019, ODOT’s Highway Region 4 team began acquiring an area on the southeast shore of Klamath Lake. This arid parcel of land would serve as an ideal place for crews to restore, helping offset construction impacts affecting wetlands on the other side of the lake.

 “This is part of a larger wetland restoration that will be an offset for not only Oregon 140 but future projects, too,” said Jamie Speer, project manager with Western Federal Lands, ODOT’s contractor for the construction portion of the restoration project.

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WATER IS FLOWING TO LOWER KLAMATH!
Sep 3, 2021

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Water is flowing to the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge today, thanks to California Waterfowl's acquisition of water rights to irrigate the parched refuge, supported by our incredibly generous donors.

"We are grateful to so many people," said CWA President John Carlson Jr. "The rancher who agreed to transfer this water right, our donors who made this possible, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for supporting this effort, the conservation groups that have lent critical support, the Oregon Water Resources Department for approving the transfer and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for agreeing to let water pass through its headgates to aid a desperately dry Lower Klamath."

The Bureau of Reclamation opened the headgates of the Ady Canal this afternoon and water began flowing into Unit 2, which has been the last unit to dry up.

The transfer was approved last week by OWRD, which permitted the owners of Agency Ranch in the Wood River Valley to transfer a water right of 3,750 acre-feet per year.

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Massive wetland restoration project in the works for Upper Klamath Lake

Dec 18, 2021

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating a major restoration project on the shore of Upper Klamath Lake that could benefit species both above and below the water’s surface. If carried out, it would be the largest wetland restoration effort ever attempted for Upper Klamath Lake.

According to a draft environmental assessment released this summer, the USFWS hopes to breach levees that currently separate the Barnes and Agency Lake units of Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge from the western shore of Agency Lake, the northern arm of Upper Klamath Lake. Doing so would reconnect and restore more than 14,000 acres of historic fringe wetlands back to the lake.

Originally diked and drained by the Bureau of Reclamation beginning in the 1940s, the wetlands that became Barnes and Agency Lake ranches hosted grazing cattle during summer and pumped water to flood-irrigate pasture in winter. Fourmile and Sevenmile creeks, which originally flowed into the lake through the wetlands, were channelized and funneled into canals bordering the current property.

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Beaver Dams Help Wildfire-Ravaged Ecosystems Recover Long after Flames Subside

By Isobel Whitcomb on February 7, 2022

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Oregon endured the third-largest wildfire in its recorded history last summer. The Bootleg Fire tore through the Upper Klamath Basin, an ecologically sensitive area that is home to multiple threatened and endangered species including the northern spotted owl and two fish—the koptu and c’waam (shortnose sucker and Lost River sucker)—that are culturally vital to the area’s Klamath Tribes. The fire left behind a charred landscape more than twice the size of New York City.

After the local fire season ended in autumn, Bill Tinniswood, a fisheries biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, went out to survey the damage. Ash from the fire, which burned for more than a month, had clogged formerly pristine tributaries and turned them into black slurries. Thriving trout populations had disappeared, presumably choked to death by waterborne debris particles that deprived the fish of oxygen. “I was in total shock,” Tinniswood said. “It just looked like devastation.”

Then Tinniswood and his team stumbled upon something even more surprising, and somewhat encouraging: roughly five acres of pristine greenery amid an otherwise burned-out area along Dixon Creek, a tributary in the Sprague River watershed. At the center were roughly eight active beaver dams. But this was more than a refuge from fire, which hundreds of beaver dams are known to have afforded to other riparian areas. Whereas fish seemed to have disappeared upstream of the Dixon Creek dam site, the downstream water was crystal clear—and trout were thriving as though the fire had never happened. The dams and ponds appeared to have altered the hydrology of the landscape around them, Tinniswood says. The beavers had effectively built something like a water treatment plant that staved off fire-related contamination.

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Endangered fish and waterfowl find refuge at the Klamath Basin’s Lakeside Farms
Published May 11, 2022 at 5:23 AM PDT

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Karl Wenner releases a net full of young suckers into the nursery pond at Lakeside Farms.

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