Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Restoring the Land

An island in the center of the Sprague River that 30 years ago was bare earth is now covered in vegetation and plays host to nesting Canada geese.

A restoration project that started over 10 years ago at a ranch located along the Sprague River is now gaining recognition.

Jim and Caren Goold, the owners of Goold's Sprague River Ranch, recently received a pair of restoration awards from the Klamath Basin Ecosystem Restoration Office, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Oregon State University Extension Service.

The Goolds installed riparian fencing to improve river banks stabilization, and created a tail water recovery system designed to keep runoff from their pastures from entering the river.

"The Goolds took their own initiative to put in a lot of the restoration projects that are now successful," said Ron Hathaway with the Oregon State University Extension Service in Klamath Falls, "and they've been doing it for a long time.


"They could see for themselves what needed to be done and they went ahead and did it."

The Goolds operate a 500-acre cattle ranch near the community of Sprague River where they keep about 80 or 90 head of their own cattle year-round. In the summer they take in over 350 cow-calf pair from a cattleman in the Red Bluff area.

When the Goolds bought the ranch over 30 years ago, the banks along the river were mostly bare ground, with very little vegetation. Now they're covered with grass, willow, sedges and brush, 10 years after riparian fencing was installed through programs with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Klamath Water Users Association.

"It's starting to look the way - it's been explained to me - as it did years back," Jim Goold said.


Both the Goolds and their neighbors have put in fencing along the river on their properties.

"Most of this country has been fenced since 1992," Goold said. "Neat thing about this area is our neighbors. Everyone's willing to jump in and try it with you.

"It's taken all this time for it to really begin to show. Most of this has healed itself," Goold said.

Three wetland areas were also developed on the ranch to catch and filter runoff water.

"All our drain ends up in these wetlands," Goold said. The Goolds irrigate solely with flood irrigation, with approximately 200 acres of their ranch devoted to dryland pasture area.

Jim Goold stands along the banks of the Sprague River on his ranch near the of community Sprague River. Goold and his wife Caren have received two awards for restoration work they've completed on their ranch.

The Goolds are in the process of moving corrals further away from the runoff area. The next project on their list is to move their fence even farther away from the river.

The restoration work started out as a hobby, said Jim Goold, and eventually turned into a passion as improvements were seen. Along with diverse plant growth along the river came more waterfowl.

"We're getting more and more ducks and geese in here," Goold said. "In the '70s we had tons of them - then they just petered out."

In an effort to encourage wood duck nesting, Charlie Thurston, a Klamath Falls taxidermist, is placing nesting boxes around the Goolds' property.

And more and more people have been taking notice of the Goolds' work.

"We had all kinds of scientists come down and ... they were really impressed with it," Goold said. "I really appreciate people paying attention to this so that they can see that we didn't wait until we had to do it."

The Sprague River Working Group, a group comprised of area ranchers, meets once a month at the Sprague River Station in Sprague River. Goold says he's seen an increase in interest at the monthly meetings to learn about restoration programs.

"I have never seen so many people in this area show up for these," Goold said.

Area ranchers are getting help from a variety of agencies for their restoration projects. Goold said he appreciated the efforts of Dave Ross with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"He's been bringing people out to explain the program they have to offer," Goold said.

"When OSU and Sustainable Northwest and NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service), Fish and Wildlife came out and started to point this stuff out it was a big learning experience."

The working group has also received help from the extension service.

"OSU has just done amazing things," Goold said. "We're getting so much help from OSU."

The Goolds have received help from the Klamath Soil and Water Conservation District, Klamath Basin Ecosystem Restoration Office, Klamath Watershed Council, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Sustainable Northwest and others.






Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved