Copco, Iron Gate Reservoirs lowered

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Drought conditions will leave boaters high and dry at two reservoirs in northern California this Memorial Day weekend.

Water is being drawn down at the Copco and Iron Gate Reservoirs.

“It’s already begun at Copco, the boat ramps are not in the water,” explained Laura Williams of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. “It’s going to happen also at Iron Gate, today or tomorrow.”

A judge called for the release to help flush microscopic parasites out of the river that may harm endangered fish downstream.

Pacific Power is letting about 9,500 acre-feet of water out of the reservoirs and in turn, that same amount can be left in Upper Klamath Lake for other endangered fish.

“We need to leave a certain amount of water at the end of every month in the lake so that the suckers can survive,” Williams said, adding that Klamath Project farmers may get what water is left over. “And so we’re trying to balance all three of those things.”

But for now, it’s boaters that will be feeling the pinch over the upcoming holiday weekend.

Williams’ phone number is on the notification posted at the reservoirs. She said, “I’ve been getting calls from people that are hoping to boat this Memorial Day weekend, and unfortunately, that’s not going to be possible.”

Pacific Power began closing the boat ramps Monday, reservoir levels are expected to drop 10 to 15 feet.

Ramps at Iron Gate are expected to remain closed through mid-June, and possibly longer at Copco.

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