We have heard so much about the Klamath Basin Crisis. There is no Klamath Basin. There is the Klamath River Watershed which comprises 10 to 12.5 million acres. It is made up of 13 watershed sub basins. It spreads across 2 states and 7 large counties. There are 7 national forests, 9 wilderness areas and 8 rivers in the overall watershed. 3 converging tectonic plates shape the watershed’s physiography.
The Klamath River extends some 340 miles from its headwaters to its estuary at the coast. Between 11-13.4 million acre-feet of water flows into the Pacific Ocean during an average water year. Below Upper Klamath Lake there are at least 7,454 waterway miles in the Klamath River Watershed. Historically the Klamath River was a deep narrow river. Early miners en-route to settling Happy Camp thought the Klamath River was a tributary of the Trinity River.
Unlike typical watersheds the Klamath River watershed’s upper reaches are characterized by flat topography, slow moving rivers and warm water fisheries. The Klamath River Watershed is upside down compared to most watersheds. The greatest relief and topographic complexity are below Upper Klamath Lake. The Klamath River begins a dramatic descent as it leaves Lake Ewauna and cuts through mountains on its way to the ocean.
The upper reaches of the Klamath River watershed are in the rain shadow of the Cascades. The upper watershed above Iron Gate Dam comprises 38% of the total Klamath River watershed area but provides 12% of the runoff.
Filmed, written and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narration by Roberta Morse. Music by SonicAtomics
©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.