April 7, 2008
Klamath River basin hydrology and ecology
Many of us teach some material concerning the Klamath River basin controversies. For those who don't, the Klamath River basin in southeastern Oregon and northern California has been a case study in conflict over competing uses for water, complete with federal marshals doing battle with irrigators determined to exercise their water rights even at the risk of prosecution. BuRec and other resource agencies have been forced to protect threatened and endangered fish species, leaving less water available for irrigation in dry years and heightened tensions among farmers and other stakeholders including commercial fishermen, Native Americans, conservationists, hunters, anglers, and hydropower producers.
National Research Council has a new book, which
"assesses two recent studies that evaluate various aspects of flows in the Klamath basin: (1) the Instream Flow Phase II study (IFS), conducted by Utah State University, and (2) the Natural Flow of the Upper Klamath Basin study (NFS), conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). The book concludes that both studies offer important new information but do not provide enough information for detailed management of flows in the Klamath River, and it offers many suggestions for improving the studies. The report recommends that a comprehensive analysis of the many individual studies of the Klamath river basin be conducted so that a big picture perspective of the entire basin and research and management needs can emerge."
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