Lesson 1 - photo story and maps

July 18, 1918  Link River often went dry before the Klamath Project was built.
Myth: There was more water in the Klamath River before the Project was built.
Fact:  Link River has never gone dry since the Project was built. The Project raised water levels in the lake and river for irrigation, fish, and power.

1905 Tule Lake before the Klamath Project was built.
: Klamath Basin was a desert.
Fact: See photo above. Does it look like a desert? It was a lake up to 30' deep.
Myth: Irrigators use more water than the historic lake.
More water evaporated from the historic lake than is used by irrigators.
Myth: The above Tule Lake used to continue into the Klamath River raising lake levels for fish.
NO water ran from Tulelake into Klamath River. It did not go to Lower Klamath Refuge either. A tunnel was built, D Plant, part of the Klamath Project, to PUMP water into L K  Refuge and on to Klamath River. Tule Lake was a totally closed basin. 

2000  When the Klamath Project was built (and paid in full by irrigators) water was rerouted into canals and reservoirs for irrigation, wildlife and power.  There are over 1500 shoreline miles of habitat along canals in Tulelake Irrigation District alone. Grown are barley, wheat, oats, peas, beats, alfalfa, pasture, potatoes, onions, mint, rye, horseradish. Tulelake Basin grows 1/3 of the nation's horseradish.

2001   When the Bureau of Reclamation shut off water to 1400 Klamath Project irrigators, it also damaged habitat for over 489 species of wildlife.  This was the first time in recorded history that this land, and wildlife,  was without water.  Also, the farm community lost $200,000,000. Later, the National Academy of Science, NAS,  said that the water shut-off was "not justified." This was an independent team of scientists and their conclusions were peer reviewed, unlike the draft biological opinion shutting down the Project. The NAS also said that lake level, river flow management was not scientifically justified. Unfortunately, this unscientific biological opinion still drives the Project Operation.

In 2005  100,000 acre-feet water bank mandated by the National Marine Fishery Service, Bureau of Reclamation puts stored water and aquifer into Klamath River. 

Regardless of historic lake levels and river flows, this water is annually taken from the irrigators. Paid, yes. Choice, no. Fair price, no. Wells have dried up. The lake level/river flow management deemed scientifically unjustified by the NAS is still being used to take  Project water.

SEE bottom map below.
Study it carefully.

Myth: Irrigators take all their water out of the Klamath River, drying up the river.
Fact: Irrigators mostly take water out of the  water stored in Klamath Lake and Reservoirs.












Page Updated: Thursday November 14, 2013 01:15 AM  Pacific

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