Biological assessment balances water for fish, farmers

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Work is nearing completion on a document that aims to balance the water needs of both endangered species, and irrigators on the Klamath Project.

Science is now being reviewed for a document focusing on the water needs of fish and farmers.

Laura Williams of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says there’s a lot at stake. “The biological opinion would dictate the operation of the Klamath Project for the next 10 years.”

That opinion must balance the needs of Lost River and shortnose suckers, and coho salmon.

“The impacts of the Klamath Project on the endangered species,” explained Williams. “Both above the Klamath Project, and below the Klamath Project.”

The assessment was completed December 21st, and is now under review by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

It’s hoped the final document will be done before the start of the upcoming irrigation season.

The biological assessment does not factor in the possible removal of four dams from the Klamath River.

That work could get underway in 2021.

“If the dams come out, then we immediately start again,” Williams said. “And a new biological opinion will be the result.”

You’ll find the full document here:

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