Project Tour hosted by the Bureau of
Reclamation for Humboldt University
o Humboldt, Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Water Users and BOR regarding research, data, water quality, TMDL's (total maximum daily load of phosphorus) and Chiloquin Dam, which blocks 95% of sucker habitat.
One of the first early things I was encouraged to do was to take a ride up the Klamath River, and I thought I was going to have a nice outing day and get away from e-mail and people coming into my office to talk to me, but instead what I envisioned as a wonderful trip, which it was, the Klamath is a beautiful river, I got the opportunity to see a number of dead fish. And as a biologist Iíve seen a fair number of animals who werenít living anymore and contributed to some of their deaths myself, but I was flabbergasted with the magnitude of the loss of animal life on that river, and I started asking questions of people: whatís the University doing? are faculty and studentís involved in trying to understand whatís going on here? and over the next few months found that in fact that there were a number of people in Humboldt State University including this gentlemen here to my right, Bob Gearheart, who were very much involved over a number of years in doing various kinds of research on the Klamath. And it began to seem to me that the University really could contribute to helping all of us who are interested in this wonderful natural resource to make it useful not only to people but to the animals that are important to us as well.
And so we had a meeting in the spring of last year in which we invited a whole series of people that are in involved in the Klamath down to the Arcadia and Yreka area. And I think there were about 75 people, and we essentially asked the question, would it be useful for the University to try to create an entity that would serve to coordinate research, provide a base of information, provide a opportunity for people with a variety of perspectives to talk with each other so that we could move along and perhaps forestall in the future the loss of the kind of the fish that we saw last year at this time. It was almost exactly a year ago I think that that loss occurred.
At about that time, I woke up and figured out there were some good people around me, one is Bob Gearheart, who is an engineering scientist whose been at the University for some time and I think known to many of you, has done a lot work up here. As well as this lady to my right, who joined my office and has done a lot of the work. As a consequence of our meeting, we put together a concept paper, which I think we shared with some of you and would be happy to share with anybody whoíd like to see it, the notion being that the University would serve as a coordinating agent, not only to make available resources of the University, its intellectual, physical resources, especially students and faculty who often times work together very effectively, but also to serve as a coordinating agent for other areas. Although, just from listening to you Christine, it seems to me that you are perhaps even further along on that than we might be and that there might be some opportunities for real collaboration here.
There are at least some thirty faculties at the University that are engaged in this. Relatively recently I had the opportunity to meet and begin to get to know and to work with President Dow and President Elisabeth Zinserof Southern Oregon University, and because people had told me that they had, number one, good resources, good people that were also involved in this. And President Dow has indicated that she and her colleagues would very much like to collaborate with us, and we believe Southern Oregon University would be interested as well. So what weíre interested in doing, as a scientist, Iím interested in seeing what I spent a lot my life doing, be useful to people, and it seems to me that one of the human endeavors that has not served our area very well is science here. There are lots of people using science in various kinds of directions, and while it is a human endeavor and therefore subject to politics, nevertheless, I think science has been something that has helped mankind rather then hurt it in the long run. Although, I know there are people who take a different perspective on that.
So what I would like to see is to see Humboldt State University use its resources to serve the people that exist in our area, especially Northern California, but clearly the natural resources donít obey the boundaries between states and I think it's going to be critical that we all work together, so we're here today to learn. I strongly believe in the value of collaboration. I agree completely with the statements you made earlier Christine about the likelihood of our being able to make ahead way and get financial support if we work together as a consortium, and I know President Dow very much agrees with that as well. So maybe what I would like to do now, if I could ask Bob, who has agreed to take on some of the leadership of the people from Humboldt State, to talk a little about what his vision is and then maybe ask President Dow if she may be willing to say a few words about OIT as well. Bob.
One of the things that weíve looked at is this is why I was asking Christine about the form of the decision problem, is to perhaps start with developing some sort of a website that would allow basic information to be available, not only be available to any user who might want to look at it, but also to have people contribute their data to it. And weíve found we have systems like it, if youíre familiar with the Kris system. On the downstream side, it is kind of a one-way street depending on if they have data, but you have to pay to get the data if you want an analysis of it, and that is useful for people who have the money to do it. But if you had the capability of being able to put the kind of information starting at the basic issues, dealing with the basic economics, basic water resource, basic climate, the issue that we were talking about the evaporation, the ET issues, being able to have those available for people to look at on their own, not through any analysis or not at panels, or meetings, or things like that so they can start to see how this system works, and develop an understanding of how the system works. So it has a kind of a very decentralized, the idea is that there is probably many folks at the community levels kind of building on your concept Christine. Because we feel like there are many people who are not represented here, they would never be in a meeting like this, who ask questions, and who would want to understand. Probably the water users have a much better understanding of the system then the people downstream, how the system works. So, to somehow get that information available to them, but not through, I mean it came up in some other discussions, any time something comes out under the legend of a agency or organization, oh okay, its viewed as being bias or nonobjective, which is not necessarily true. But it is very difficult to kind of take that, disarm that issue.
So weíre very interested in the second and third phase of the way we view this. Iím interim director of this so that means that I am not going to be around very long. Right, as my designation, right? As the phases go out we would really like to develop this website and we have resources and weíve talked to OIT and I guess OIT has a big interest in GIS, in helping do this. You think Universities have a major role because they are viewed, especially with the faculty and their resource interest, theyíll spend longer periods of time then some of the issues, and some of the programs and they kind of keep the repeat the sustainability of the information in the longer run so people can use it. So thatís kind of the goal and hopefully with the, Denise is working on developing funding, besides resources for that right now, so that we can start doing the website. We actually have a couple faculty volunteers to start putting it together. We have a model on the Trinity that has a kind of interactive website. The whole key here is the interactive nature of it. How you can take information, look at it, a lot of the information that is already on the internet would need to be put into some kind of form so people could move it in and out and look at it?
We have some specific, Iím sure this is one of the suggestions all of you had, the President has already mentioned what happened to the history of last year. The fact that weíve lost all continuous water quality and water measuring for the most part, gauges downstream, makes it very difficult, I mean we have no continuous measuring water quality information as of, at least the last time I looked.
Keppen: But it didnít stop people from reaching conclusions pretty quickly. That's a huge problem and we just outlined that very issue to The Secretary in the last two weeks.
Humboldt: Yes, I know. Thatís what I mean. Thatís a big
issue. Yes, I donít know what the costs are but
compared to the other kinds of monies and issues,
and some costs here I would think that would be a
minor cost, compared to others, I donít know what it
And one thing I share with Christine is, she said thereís got to be a continuum of the standardization of the data collection. Put it into a database that can help everyone. Look at it from the peer science standpoint, and then along with that then in the decision making as youíve said, we need to be sure that all those stakeholders and others have access to that, and donít see it as some kind of very specific agenda. Thatís happening within one area or another. So we would give that our full support, we would very much like to be in the technology part, in the archiving of the data, and in fact with this small grant we used from a engineering grant, we have taken a lot of the literature now and are putting it into an archive database through our Shaw Library up on campus. And we're doing that in collaboration with OSU Extension and the OSU Library right now. So we have that partnership going, and that would be basically all the materials, reference materials, that come out of all, of some of these issues and data. So itís a big project. We're applying for another grant to keep that going.
But I think that if we go in to this, we are going to have to commit long-term, and we were at a dinner meeting together last night at Walt Wilson Southern and we would really like to do something that would be long-term. I mean we would see this go out, if you will, idealistically into infinity, that we would always have that, and each institution would continue, that no matter who's there, whether Rollin's there or Iím there, who's there, that this is something we're going to establish as part of our mission and commitment. So that is where OIT is. We're very happy to be a part of this thing.
Karas: Well I am really glad to hear that, obviously this is such a large undertaking that, unless we have multiple partners with commitment, we really will not be able to achieve things especially long term, so I appreciate everyoneís input, and I look forward to working with everyone. Okay, then I guess the next item on our agenda is to give you a brief profile of some of the work, the research and things, that are going on now, just so you are familiar with everything.
Bob Davis: I appreciate the comments about how to archive the data and develop a database that people can share back and forth, and we support that concept very much. Weíve been collecting a lot of data here on the Project for many years. Weíve had a monitoring program on water quality, as I mentioned earlier, that pretty well goes throughout the service area on the Project. Then with the listings of the suckers in the late 80s, we expanded that monitoring and it became much more intense, and thatís ongoing monitoring that continues on today, and it is basically background monitoring that we do here and that monitoring is accomplished primarily with our staff. We monitor dissolved oxygen, PH, and a number of constituents all around the Project. We also have an agreement with others to do some monitoring and to do some assessment contracts that we have with USGS on Upper Klamath Lake to do sucker refugia and water quality analysis there. Weíre funding nearly a half a million dollars to USGS for that particular effort.
The biological research divisions of USGS and OSU are doing a study on sucker populations and monitoring on Upper Klamath Lake. Thereís nearly two thirds of a million dollars that weíre funding that particular effort. Iím taking about in this particular year, this fiscal year. Klamath Tribes we have an agreement with them to assist us in doing water quality monitoring on Upper Klamath Lake, and weíve had that relationship with them for a number of years now. This particular year will be giving them about two hundred thousand dollars for this 12 months effort. Reclamation has some things that our staff is doing directly here, we have a oxygen risk assessment model thatís being developed for Upper Klamath Lake to try to determine what that risk is on problems with dissolved oxygen in Upper Klamath Lake. Our Denver office is developing that model. We have an on going project now; I think itís going into itís third year, Dan, on the habitat assessment in the Link River and the Lake Ewauna area. Dan is working on that with others, in which weíre monitoring the movement of fish, we have a number of radio tags that have been surgically implanted into a number of suckers, and we're tracking them along with what the movements are in relationship to water quality in that stretch of the Klamath River and Link River area.
Some really interesting results are there as we see the fish moving back and forth as the water quality has been limited. It is not unusual each year that we see at least portions of that stretch of the Klamath River, Lake Ewauna area, to go anoxic and to have some fish kills. This year was no exception to that. We had areas there that went anoxic and a number pretty large number of chubs that died as a result of that. We didnít find any suckers that died as a result. The tags that we had installed indicated that they moved to seek areas where there was better water quality pretty much.
Keppen: Why does the lake go anoxic, Bob?
Davis: Itís a big, big issue. As most of you know there was TMDL that was attempted to be done a few years ago andÖ
QUESTION: Bob, for those of us that are really stupid whatís a TMDL?
Davis: Oh okay, thatís ĎTotal Maximum Daily Loadí that is designated under the clean water act. The clean water act has what is called a 303(d) listing and that stretch of the Klamath River is listed as a 303(d) listed as water quality limited. And when that TMDL was being developed it was pointed out that thereís a very high sediment oxygen demand in the stretch, and a very high biological oxygen demand in which it takes up large amounts of the dissolved oxygen from the water and the water is basically without any oxygen. (303D refers to the fact that the body of water exceeds water quality standards for one or more parameters and is thus listed or categorized as "water quality limited")
Keppen: Why would that be?
Davis: Well thereís a couple of reasons: one is that the area has been used for log storage for decades prior to this, and there were numerous mills around there, so there was a relatively large volume of log residue thatís in the bottom of that water body. Plus, the natural condition of that portion of the river, it has a high amount of organic material on the bottom of the channel, whether its bark from logs or just natural occurring organics in that area. The result is high nutrient loading within the water body, and high loading thatís coming out of Upper Klamath Lake. So thereís a high oxygen demand which results in low dissolved oxygen.
QUESTION: Do you get thediurnal effect there, like you do on the lake?
Davis: Yes, we do.
QUESTION: So is that anoxic even in the daytime.
Davis: Early in the morning is when we usually see it.
QUESTION: So it is diurnal in effect.
Davis: Very much diurnal, yes. Weíve seen it in our Lost River diversion channel that receives water from that portion of the Klamath River. Weíve seen some fish die-offs that also occurs early in the morning and with that dire influence.
QUESTION: Which of the same issues that we see in Upper Klamath Lake exist in that stretch?
Davis: Reclamation is doing a study in that area to find out what kind of refugia areas may be in that stretch that fish are using, we're getting a good understanding of that because of the fish radio tag monitoring. Also, we're looking at it to determine what can be done to this stretch to provide more refugia for fish, ultimately, how can we enhance the area. There may be a number of things that can be done. We have some ideas but they are not fully fleshed out at this point
QUESTION: How is the city Klamath Falls and I think Chiloquin both are going to have to take in sometime, get out of the sewer completely. Do you know?
Davis: There is a loading thatís permitted because of their point source release and Oregon DEQ permits a certain amount for that load.
QUESTION: In the future theyíre going to have to get out, isnít that the...
Davis: Iím not sure on that. Iím not sure how that is going to work out in the future. Their loading in comparison to the internal loading and loading coming from Upper Klamath Lake is probably miniscule. When we were doing the TMDL with Oregon DEQ a number of years ago, they had a model that CH2M Hill put together to show what happens to water quality as water moves from Link River on down to, say, the community of Keno. And just for sake of illustration they plugged into the model completely pristine water such as what you might have coming out of the Metolius River. And they said okay, thatís the water quality coming out of the Link River presumably, just as an example, by time the water got down to where the railroad trestle is, it was completely degraded because of the internal loading. Of course we donít have that kind of water quality coming out of Upper Klamath Lake, but it just illustrates the problems that exist in that stretch of the river as far as loading.
Another area that weíre doing an assessment is the Lost River. Reclamation is exploring whatís happening there with the habitat, populations, and that sort of thing. We do have a population of suckers in that Bonanza area just upstream from the Poe Valley area. We saw a fish die off there of about 125 suckers this summer, which was a unique event for that portion of the basin. We havenít seen that for the last 20 years. And we saw a lot of fish die off occurring throughout the basin in various spots, not large numbers, but indicates that we had a really tough summer for fish. It was very hot.
Going on with the monitoring and research activity, on Coho we have a couple of efforts that are being done on the Klamath River as required by the 2002 biological opinion that we got from NOAA Fisheries on the threatened Coho. One required activity is monitoring and study of thermal refugia in the lower Klamath River.
Weíre taking a look at the characteristics of the thermal refugia, especially in the area where the tributaries come into the main stem of the river and create a plume of cool water that may be places for the fish to go from one area to the next. Weíre trying to determine what the characteristics are of those thermal refugia and what is characteristic between those individual spots. Weíre funding US Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct the study, and they're working with the tribes. Reclamation is providing nearly a quarter of a million dollars in that area. Weíre doing Coho monitoring on adults, juvenile, and larval survival in the Klamath River to the tune of nearly a quarter of a million dollars there. Again thatís just one year's activity.
Another area that weíve been putting a lot of research effort to determine what kinds of options might be available for resolving fish passage issues at Chiloquin dam. When the suckers were listed, that was one of the things that was in the listing said was the cause for the decline of the suckers. The dam is a bottle-neck that limits movement of the endangered suckers to 95% of their upstream habitat. So weíve been taking a look at that. The Secretary assigned this activity to Reclamation. Weíve formed a group in the Chiloquin area thatís a multiple agency and large stakeholder group that represents the tribes, the water users, all of the fishery agencies, USGS, and others, and members from the community of course, to see what could be done. We have drafted a report to submit further up into the department for review, and we anticipate that The Secretary will be coming out with a recommendation to the Congress here very soon. Weíve spent about a third of million dollars on that activity and I think it was very successful in that the group actually reached consensus. That is a rarity in the community at this time, and we just applaud the group, each member of the group for being willing to come to that, and we're thankful about that. So thatís the research activity kind of in a nutshell. We recognize that we donít have all the expertise here, we have a very small amount of expertise, we depend on the expertise from Oregon State University and OIT, and others. We havenít had a very extensive relationship with HSU other then hiring your graduates, weíre thankful for that. Any questions?
Karas: Okay thanks Bob. We also have an
effort on going to develop an Environmental Impact Statement and Project
operations, and Dan can give you a few words on that.
#4 o Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Project operations considering the Endangered Species Act (ESA), NEPA, obligations to irrigators and tribes, Clean Water Act, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
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