Watershed Moment Anders Tomlinson

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.

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Watershed Moment Anders Tomlinson

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The Year that Didn’t Need to Happen,

2001 was a year for history. There was before 2001 and after 2001. In the Upper Klamath Basin, specifically the Klamath Reclamation Project stretching 24 miles from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Tulelake California, water…


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The Year that Didn’t Need to Happen,

2001 was a year for history. There was before 2001 and after 2001. In the Upper Klamath Basin, specifically the Klamath Reclamation Project stretching 24 miles from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Tulelake California, water that had been delivered for nearly 90 years to irrigate agricultural lands and sustain wildlife refuges was in danger of being shut-off. Two endangered fish, the coho salmon and sucker fish, had protected water requirements along with a new flow study, the Hardy report, that required much higher flows from the Upper Klamath Basin down the Klamath River. There were demands on the Federal Government to do something. And there was only one thing that the Government could do and that was the Bureau of Reclamation to shut-off, for the first time, the Klamath Reclamation Project.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

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