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The latest from Jim McCarthy in response to article regarding the broken dike and flood in Klamath Lake. McCarthy is from ONRC, Oregon Natural Resources Coalition environmental group, who takes every opportunity to advocate taking farmland and ranches out of production to create more wetlands, evaporating 2ce as much water as irrigated ag land. More than 100,000 acres ag land in Upper Klamath have been converted to government-acquired or Nature Conservancy wetlands. KBC 6/13/06.

The dike article follows.


Post from Jim McCarthy

----- Original Message -----

June 08, 2006 Upper Klamath Lake dike fails, floods

From the description, the flooded area is a place called Caledonia Marsh. 2,000 acres of former lake bed. Wocus Marsh, to the south, is even larger, I'd guess 3,000 acres at least. Obviously, this unexpected breach is a terrible thing for the landowner and the other people leasing land and trying to get an income from farming on the Caledonia Marsh. But it also is a reminder of just how much of Upper Klamath Lake's storage capacity has been lost to diking and draining. This is just one area behind an old dike, and it's 2,000 acres. There's a 3,000+ acre area of old lake just behind it. And this is just one lobe of the old lake---there are many other diked and drained areas around the lake, and many opportunities either through long-term easements or purchase of land from willing sellers to open these areas to the lake and quickly restore some of the lake's former water storage capacity in a cost-effective way. In turn, this would increase our ability to send water downriver to salmon when they need it.

Regards,

Jim McCarthey, ONRC
 

 

Upper Klamath Lake dike fails, floods
Highway 140 between K-Falls, Medford shut

Posted: 8:09 AM, Jun. 8, 2006

By KTVZ.com news sources

On Wednesday afternoon, beginning at about 2:30 pm, the Geary Dike began to fail, eventually flooding former marshland used for farming. Approximately 2000 acres were flooded during the evening hours after a 300-foot-long breach in the dike holding back Upper Klamath Lake occurred unexpectedly.

A short stretch of Highway 140 was affected and the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Klamath County Sheriff's Office closed the road to allow crews to reinforce the highway embankment in the affected area. However, attempts to reinforce Highway 140 were halted at 9:30 pm when engineers and construction workers found the road bed to have been degraded to a point that the equipment had to be removed from the road in the flooded area.

Incident commanders on the scene in conjunction with the land owner have now focused on reinforcing a shorter dike protecting the Wocus Marsh agricultural area immediately to the south of Hwy 140.

There have been no injuries.

Wednesday afternoon's flooding affected leased grain fields, grasslands and farm implements that were left behind when the breach occurred. Crews worked through the night to reinforce a shorter dike protecting the Wocus Marsh agricultural district because this land is pasturing up to 3500 head of cattle and a working ranch with seed crops and other equipment.

Water has saturated some areas on the edges of the Running Y Resort Golf Course, however the Pro Shop and other structures are not threatened..

Contractors, PacifiCorp employees, ODOT, law enforcement, fire and public works personnel have formed an incident command center near the dike breach and are continuously working to protect the public and minimize property damage.

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