The Klamath Basin covers over 12,000 square miles in southern Oregon and northern California (see Figure ES-1) and contains natural resources and economic opportunities related to fisheries, farming, ranching, hydroelectric power, timber harvest, mining, and recreation. These resources and opportunities have economically sustained many communities throughout the basin for decades. But development of these resources has not been without problems. For example, construction of PacifiCorp’s hydroelectric dams (see Figure ES-1) has blocked fish passage to the upper basin for nearly 100 years and these dams adversely affect downstream water quality and water temperatures. Large-scale development of agriculture and ranching operations has also affected water availability and water quality with impacts on fisheries and other resources; Reclamation’s Klamath Project is the largest irrigation project in the basin, serving up to 235,000 acres of farmland (see Figure ES-2).
The Klamath Basin is also home to six Federally recognized Indian tribes who depend on many of these same natural resources to support their way of life and spiritual wellbeing, as they have for thousands of years. The basin’s natural resources, including abundant and reliable supplies of fish, clean water, and terrestrial plants and animals, are central to Indian cultural identity. The availability and quality of some of these critical natural resources have been adversely affected by development in the basin.Keyword Tags: