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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Letters from Humboldt professor R.A. Gearheart, PhD., P.E. to about 50 environmental groups, federal and state government agencies, ecosystem groups and tribes. It is followed by interaction with Dan Keppen, Executive Director of Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA), and a letter by Rich McIntyre, Waterwatch past board member and American Land Conservancy 'counselor'.

8/16/04

Immediate Action Required

Conditions in the Lower Klamath River have reached lethal conditions and need immediate relief. I have attached a spread sheet of water quality. I have been collecting data this summer and the summer of
2002 attempting to identify predictive factors that relate to loss of adult fish species in the Lower Klamath. This data has not been fully QA , which is occurring right now, but does give the picture and suggests relief is possible in the form a release of water by the Bureau.We are presently working up last weeks data and will sample again tommorrow. It is important that all decision makers, state, federal, districts, Tribes, and NGO's work collectively to forgo any massive loss of fish.

R,A, Gearheart, Ph.D., P.E. Professor of Environmental Resources Engineering Engineering Department
1 Harpst Street Arcata, California, 95518
707-826-3135 (P)
707-826-3616 (F)

Go HERE for attached data.

___________________________________________________________________

Dr. Gearhart - thank you for providing this information. Could you please provide additional justification and explanation as to how you have concluded that "relief is possible in the form a release of water by the Bureau"? Specifically, from where would the water be released, and in what quantities? As a fellow professional engineer, I anxiously await your assessment.

Thanks for your consideration - Dan Keppen
______________________________________________________________

Dan

You know more about the Bureau than I do in terms of where water is available and how long it takes to get to various points in the system. I am just monitoring conditions in the river as they relate to a different issue, the issue associated with taste compounds in the fish flesh, which I was also doing in 2002. Actinomycete commonly produce a by-product (geosmin) which results in taste and odors in eutrophic water supplies. These compounds can be absorbed into the fish flesh reducing their values as a food source. This is a topic I have been involved in since my undergraduate days at North Texas State University where these compounds caused significant problems to the City of Oklahoma City's water supply from the drinking water reservoir, Lake Hefner.

Let me know what your thoughts are on water release as a short term mitigation to a potential carrying capacity issue for the adult fish
( maybe juvenile also, I have seen dead adults) in the lower Klamath. You have the standing and interest in this issue that could be valuable for the folks in the Lower Klamath.

Later Bob

_________________________________________________

Bob - thanks for the quick response. We have several people looking at this data, which I think serve a useful purpose. However, I think it is dangerous to include flow-related conclusions like the one made in your cover e-mail message without the supporting justification and without outside review, especially from Reclamation, who controls flows at Iron Gate and Lewiston. Your cover e-mail made no mention of the context in which you were doing your work, and I'm still having a difficult time seeing how you reached your conclusion that "immediate action is required" and that the action in question appears to be release of Bureau water.

Any way - thanks again for the quick response. I'm sure we'll be in touch in the coming weeks. Dan

______________________________________________________

Response to this interaction by RichMacintyre, American Land Conservancy and past WaterWatch board member

Conditions in the Lower Klamath River,

I have now read both Dr. Gearhart's analysis and Dan Keppen's response. I find myself reflecting on the loss of the 2002, $175m appropriation that would have started the process of solving the water quality and supply problem in the basin. In addition to killing that funding, KWUA continues to actively work to block the Barnes Ranch acquisition, which could provide up to 50,000 acre feet of "new" water that would be of substantial (or at least some) help under these conditions.

There are times when it seems that real progress is being made on solving the water problems of the Klamath Basin. Right up to the point that politics, dying fish, and institutionalized denial remind us of the unchanged facts.

Rich McIntyre
American Land Conservancy

Go HERE for Barnes "storage" letters and articles.

 

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