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Moving Toward a Cleaner, Safer, Healthier Environment

Cleaner Water

Restoring the Klamath Basin

The Klamath River Basin, which straddles the Oregon and California border, is a source of water to farmers, tribes, endangered fish, and National Wildlife Refuges. In 2001, many farmers went bankrupt when they had their water supplies cut off in response to drought and endangered species needs, while environmental groups filed lawsuits to prevent the Administration from turning water supplies back on. President Bush formed a working group, led by Commerce Secretary Evans, Interior Secretary Norton, Agriculture Secretary Veneman, and CEQ Chairman Connaughton, to pursue a cooperative approach that has led to beneficial actions and may serve as a blueprint elsewhere in the West. This year the Reclamation Project farmers have water, several multi-million dollar fish habitat restoration projects are underway, and a $16 million state-of-the-art fish screen is keeping fish out of irrigation canals. In March 2003, the Natural Resources Conservation Service made an early release of $7 million in financial and technical assistance to the basin's producers to conserve water and improve stream quality. Farmers have implemented key irrigation management projects that save water and have planted 41,000 acres of cover crops on land that drought had left vulnerable to erosion. So far, commitments to the Klamath River Basin have resulted in:

  • $50 million in funding to increase water quality and quantity conservation in the Klamath River Basin through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program;
  • More than $16 million to complete the A-Canal fish screen to prevent endangered sucker from entering irrigation canals;
  • Plans for conservation systems on 19,000 acres;
  • Improved irrigation water management practices on 14,500 acres;
  • Improved water management practices on 3,000 acres of upland;
  • Creation, restoration, or enhancement of 1,600 acres of wetlands and restoration of 5,200 acres of wildlife habitat.
Additional initiatives in the Klamath Basin include:

  • The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $5.6 million for a Pilot Water Bank program this year to pay irrigators to fallow some of their cropland or use groundwater instead of project water to irrigate crops.
  • In 2004, the Department of the Interior is also funding improvements in the quality and quantity of flows into Agency Lake through a partnership with the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust to lease water rights from approximately 11,000 acres of irrigated pasture, which provides water for instream flows and Agency Lake.
  • Reclamation is providing funding to the Yurok Tribe for a study of adult spring run chinook salmon and other fishery-related investigations, and funding to the Klamath Tribes for monitoring long-term nutrient loading in Upper Klamath Lake to benefit Endangered Species Act-listed species.
  • Funds in the President's FY 2005 budget will pay to remove Chiloquin Dam, a dam on the Sprague River that substantially blocks access to about 70 miles of spawning habitat for endangered fish from Upper Klamath Lake.
  • Reclamation expects to complete a new fish ladder on the west side of Link River Dam in 2005. The ladder, now under construction, will replace an existing fish ladder that works poorly and will improve fish passage, especially for endangered fish, from the Klamath River system to Upper Klamath Lake. The President's FY 2005 budget provides more than $100 million for the Klamath Basin.



Cleaner Air

Addressing Global Climate Change

Cleaner Water

Cleaner Lands

Healthier Ecosystems

A Cleaner, Healthier World Community

Healthier People

President Bush’s Performance-Based FY 2005 Budget


September 2004

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