Upper Klamath Lake levels are nearly a foot lower than they were at this time last year, but officials say colder weather may be to blame.
The lake still needs 1.3 feet to be considered full. Its water level is down .92 feet, according to a Bureau of Reclamation weekly water report.
A colder, longer winter and ice on the lake have prevented melt off from filling the lake to usual levels, said Jon Hicks, planning division chief at the Bureau of Reclamation.
In addition, flow levels dictated by the biological opinion of the National Marine Fisheries Service downstream of Iron Gate Dam are keeping water levels low, Hicks said.
Upper Klamath Lake inflow levels are at 2,817 cubic-feet per second. T he N M FS requ ires 1450 cfs at Iron Gate Dam until April 1, when the in-stream requirement is 2,800 cfs. From page A2
“We had to meet those levels downriver even though there wasn’t sufficient f low into the lake,” he said.
Last year’s inflow
At this time last year, inflow was 3,392 cfs in the lake.
Because of water and snow still on the ground and wet soil, project irrigators may be able to postpone irrigating operations for a while, Hicks said, giving the lake a chance to collect more water.
The current average snow-water equivalent is 122 percent of normal, he said, and the BOR has started to see a rise in levels over the last few weeks.
“It’s been a very slow climb,” he said. “It’s nice to see the lake climb … it’s looking better and better.