The Department of the Interior has said that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has identified additional water for the Lower Klamath and Tulelake National Wildlife Refuges in a cooperative effort with local irrigators to assist migrating Klamath Basin waterfowl.
The refuges will need about 5,200 acre-feet of water during October in addition to the 6,300 acre-feet supplied during September. Reclamation has identified sufficient well water to satisfy October's refuge needs from area irrigators willing to participate in the effort. Tulelake and Klamath Irrigation Districts have promised to deliver the additional supplies to the refuges through their facilities. Also, in late July, Norton made about 75,000 acre-feet of water available to Klamath farmers in desperate need.
"I commend the generosity of local irrigators and the assistance of the Tulelake and Klamath Irrigation Districts in helping provide this critical water for the refuge," Interior Secretary Gale Norton said. "Their contributions will be an enormous boost for the refuge water supply and the bald eagles and other precious wildlife that historically inhabit the area in the late fall and winter."
Norton also praised the hard work and good faith efforts of those involved in finding long-term solutions to allow Klamath farmers to receive much needed irrigation water, to help meet trust responsibilities to Klamath Basin Tribes and to protect threatened and endangered species.
"It is only by working together that we can reach long-term and fair solutions to these complex issues. With hard work and good faith, we can find answers and move beyond suffering and conflict and toward solving the problems affecting Klamath Basin families," Norton said.
Reclamation is currently working on routing 800 acre-feet of the October supply through the Ady Canal system to the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge later this month to make it available to migrating waterfowl that will soon arrive at the refuge.