Klamath Falls, Ore. – Irrigation water is now flowing to farms and ranches on the Klamath Project.
Water began flowing down the ‘A’ canal Tuesday afternoon.
“It feels great.” Noted Gene Souza of the Klamath Irrigation District. “It’s a great opportunity to start off an irrigation season for the Klamath Basin.”
The water couldn’t start flowing until biological opinions were released, detailing the needs of endangered coho salmon downstream, and suckers above Upper Klamath Lake.
“These documents are available to the public.” Bureau of Reclamation Area Manager Jeff Nettleton points out. “And so we now are able to start operations for the 2019 irrigation season.”
The water is released gradually to prevent erosion, and ‘charge’ the system for use.
Souza explains the time frame. “It may take 7, 8, 9, 10 days for some of the smaller canals to get to the capacity where irrigators can actually get the water out of the canal for their fields.”
The water will be used to help irrigate nearly 360 square miles of farmland in southern Oregon and northern California.
The Klamath Project is expected to get about 325 thousand acre feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake.
That’s about 93% of a full allocation under the newest biological opinion.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.