1950 -1999

1950 – January, record snowfall of 313 inches in one week (73 inches in a 48 hour period).
1954 – Congress terminates the Klamath Tribes’ federally recognized tribal status and Government services. The U.S. acquires 862,622 acres of Klamath tribal land for liquidation. The Klamath Falls league of women Voters, the Oregonian, and the National Congress of American Indians opposed termination. The tribe never votes on whether or not to terminate.
1954 – 1163 out of 2086 Klamath Indians were under the age of 21 at the time of termination.
1955 – A record flood hits Northern and Central CA, spurring on the Feather River project at the Oroville site. Flood in the Sacramento Valley kills 38 people.
1956 – Klamath Project irrigators’ electricity rate contract is renewed for 50 years at the 1918 rate of 0.6 cents per kilowatt-hour; Oregon “off-Project” irrigators sign a contract for power at 0.72 cents per kilowatt-hour.
1956 – 250 white sturgeons are planted in Upper Klamath Lake.
1957 – The Klamath River Compact between Oregon, California, and the U.S. sets goals and objectives for water management on the Klamath River.
1957 – November 2, the Senate Subcommittee on Indian Affairs visits Klamath Falls for 2 days of hearings in regards to the Federal Government buying the Klamath Indian forest lands.
1957 – Klamath River Basin Compact is approved by California and Oregon legislatures and ratified by Congress.
1958 – Big Bend Dam – later J.C. Boyle Dam – is completed upstream of the Copco dams.
1958 – Klamath Forest National Wildlife Refuge is established.

1961 – Klamath tribe members receive $800 to $1500 in per capita payments. With the disbanding of the Klamath Tribes, the reservation lands, along with the Klamath District of the Rogue National Forest are proclaimed the Winema national Forest by President Kennedy.
1961 – The Klamath termination Act calls for a vote by tribal members whether or not to remain within the tribe under a private trustee. 1660 (78%) of the members vote to withdraw and receive about $43,000 each in cash.
1962 – Iron Gate Dam is completed on the Klamath River. Dawning of a new environmental era. A hatchery is built in conjunction with the dam for mitigation purposes and remains a main provider of salmon into the river system.
1962 – November 12, Typhoon Frieda’s western edge cuts through Western oregon into the Klamath area. The “Columbus Day Storm” raises the lakje level eight inches in a day.
1963 – Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River completed.
1964 – Large flood on Klamath River and tributaries causes debris to block channels – a problem that persists today.
1964 – Kuchel Act precludes future homesteading on Klamath Project refuge land; provides for continued leasing of refuge land for farming to the extent it is consistent with refuge purposes. The law enrolls 17,000 acres on Tule Lake refuge and 5,000 acres on Lower Klamath refuge in a lease program for farming.
1965 – Keno Dam constructed to replace Needle Dam on the Klamath River.
1965 – 40% of the former Klamath tribe members that accepted money for withdrawal have no money left.
1968 – Congress passes Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
1969 – Congress enacts National Environmental Policy Act.
1969 – The klamath tribal members remaining in the private trust, 474 of them, vote to dissolve the trust. The trustee liquidates the remaining assets, primarily parts of the old reservation. These “remaining” tribal members receive $286,00 each, minus state probate costs.

1970 – The National Environmental Policy Act is passed, requiring federal agencies to analyze the impact of their actions on the land.
1970 – President Richard Nixon repudiates the policy of tribal termination.
1971 – Lost River and shortnose sucker identified as species of concern under California law.
1972 – The Federal Endangered Species Act is enacted. This act will have lasting impact on environmental issues for years to come.
1972 – California designates Klamath River from Iron Gate to the ocean a Wild and Scenic River. Federal designation follows in 1981.
1972 – The Seattle Regional Office of the Federal trade commission issues a report citing “substantial evidence” that the Klamath Indians had been “subjected to unfair and deceptive practices” by the local non-Indian business community. Hearings were held in Klamath Falls.
1972 – November 23, President Nixon pocket vetoes legislation to purchase the Klamath Indian Forest lands.
1973 – U.S. Supreme Court rules that stretches of the Trinity and Klamath River flowing through the Hoopa and Yurok reservations are “Indian Country,” effectively restoring tribal salmon fishing rights.
1973 – July 1, the oregon Congressional delegation attempts to insure that President nixon signs the bill authorizing the federal purchase of the Klamath Indian Forest lands.
1974 – July 11, unseasonable rain and snow falls in Upper Klamath basin, pleasing firefighters and displeasing farmers.
1974 – 82,000 cattle trucked in from california to graze on Klamath County marshland – pasture.
1975 – Oregon begins to adjudicate Klamath River water rights.
1975 – Congress passes the Indian self Determination Act, which recognizes the right and duty of tribes to handle their own affairs.
1975 May, Klamath County Flycasters assist the Oregon Wildlife Commission and Forest Service in planting 1500 trees along the banks of Upper Williamson River.
1976 – Oregon Water Resources Department begins Klamath Basin water rights adjudication process.
1977-78: Tribal salmon fishing resumes on Lower Klamath River, but is quickly stopped by the federal government on conservation grounds.
1978 – California v. U.S. held that the U.S. must obtain water rights under State law for reclamation projects, absent clear congressional direction to the contrary.
1978 – The bald eagle is declared a threatened species on Feb. 14. Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge established to protect bald eagle roost sites.

1982 – The USFWS previously reviewed the status of the northern spotted owl in 1982, 1987 and 1989 but found it did not warrant listing as either threatened or endangered.
1983 – United States v. Adair upholds Klamath Tribes’ right to enough instream water to support fishing and hunting on former reservation lands, but does not establish an amount.
1984 – California Endangered Species Act is amended to protect both species and their critical habitat.
1985 – California state court confirms limited tribal fishing rights for Karuk Tribe.
1985 – Klamath Tribes General Council endorses the Klamath Tribe Restoration Bill by a vote of 75 to 4.
1985 – representative Bill Smith (R. Oregon) introduces H.R. 3554, the Klamath Tribe Restoration Bill.
1986 – Congress passes Klamath River Basin Fishery Resources Restoration Act; the program is funded at $1 million per year.
1986 – Klamath Tribes restored to federal recognition as an Indian tribal government, but former reservation lands are not returned.  Karuk Tribe receives federal recognition.
1987 – Indian salmon harvest on Klamath River reopened for five years.
1988 – Oregon Scenic Waterways Act designates the Klamath Scenic Waterway from J.C. Boyle Dam to the state line. Federal designation follows in 1994.
1988 – 8.6 billion board feet of timber are harvested in Oregon.
1988 – Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act establishes the Yurok tribal government as independent from the Hoopa tribal government; the Yurok Reservation is split from the Hoopa Valley Reservation.

1990-92: Severe decline in Klamath River salmon runs nearly closes commercial ocean salmon fishery.
1990 – The Klamath basin Ecosystem restoration Office approves 30 projects totaling more than $1.2 million.
1991 – Logging in national forests containing the northern spotted owl was stopped by court order.
1991 – Klamath Blue Green starts harvesting algae on Upper klamath Lake.
1992 – A drought focuses attention on the role of lake levels in protecting sucker habitat. The FWS recommends Upper Klamath Lake be kept above a minimum elevation of 4,139.0 feet during summer months, although it allowed that the lake could drop to as low as 4,137.0 feet in four out of 10 years. Other steps are recommended, including fish ladders, screens and a sucker salvage program to remove suckers each fall when canals are drained and return them to the lake. 
For the first time in the Klamath Reclamation Project’s history, irrigation deliveries are curtailed.
1993 – Federal government sets Klamath River tribal salmon fishing limit at half the total available harvest.
1993 – April, a final recovery plan for suckers is approved by the wildlife service.
1993 – Winema national Forest has its final big timber year, with sales of fire-damaged and bug-killed timber totaling 156.5 million board feet; receipts are $31,2 million.
1993 – December, The Klamath Indians announce they will ask Congress to return all federal lands within the former reservation, more than 650,00 acres, including 50% of the Winema national Forest.
1994 – A second drought hits the Klamath Basin. The surface elevation of Upper Klamath Lake falls to 4,136.86 feet on Sept. 27, the lowest level since records began in 1905.
1994 – With salmon stocks dwindling, commercial fishing for coho salmon is halted from Washington to California.
1994 – June, a nine foot sturgeon, weighing 410 pounds, is wrestled out of ‘D” Canal near malin by a local potato farming family.
1994 – Winter-run Chinook salmon listed as endangered.
1994 – Fish and Wildlife Service proposes a rule defining critical sucker habitat in Clear Lake Reservoir.
1995 – Bureau of Reclamation begins operating according to an annual plan.
1995 – Klamath Province steelhead trout are proposed for ESA protection.
1995-97 – Large numbers of suckers die in a series of fish kills. 
Scientists studying the lake begin to focus on the roles of algae, nutrients, temperature, ammonia and alkalinity in triggering periodic die-offs of suckers.
1996 – Reclamation adopts new operating criteria that include periodic high flow releases into the  Grand Canyon to restore riparian habitat and improve fish habitat.
1996 – Interior Secretary orders California to implement plan to reduce its average use of 5.2 million acre-feet of Colorado River water to “live within” its 4.4 million acre-feet annual basic apportionment.
1996 – Bureau of Reclamation agrees to meet minimum instream flows below Iron Gate Dam to protect habitat for anadromous fish (fish that move from salt water to freshwater).
1996 – An Interior Department solicitor published a legal opinion that water for Native American tribal trust obligations and endangered species take precedence over deliveries of irrigation water to farmers and wildlife refuges.
1996 – Scientists studying the Upper Klamath Lake begin to focus on the roles of algae, nutrients, temperature, ammonia and alkalinity in triggering periodic die-offs of suckers.
1996-98: The Lost, Klamath, Salmon, Scott and Shasta rivers are listed as impaired under the federal Clean Water Act, launching regulatory steps to improve water quality.
1997 – Coho salmon in Southern Oregon and Northern California Coastal region listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
1997 – Winema National Forest timber sales total $1.2 million. In Oregon, four billion feet of timber are harvested.
1998 – The Steelhead trout is listed as threatened species under Endangered Species Act.
1998-99 – Winter storms bury Oregon with the heaviest snows since 1974. Record snowfall at Crater Lake.
1998 – April, Winema National Forest plans to cut 81 positions to arrive at a full time staff of 333.
1999 – Spring run Chinook Salmon and Coastal Chinook Salmon listed as threatened specials under Endangered Species Act.
1999 – Critical habitat is defined for the coho. On July 12, a biological opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concludes project operations would affect, but not likely jeopardize, coho. 
A study by Thomas Hardy, a Utah State University hydrologist, is published in the fall. It calls for instream flows to protect the fish far higher than those set by FERC, or those agreed to by Reclamation in 1996.
1999 – Klamath Water Users v. Patterson.  Irrigators claimed PacifiCorp does not have a legal duty to operate the dam to meet its ESA obligation. The district court held that the Irrigators’ rights to water are subservient to the ESA.

klamath project timeline icona

Pre-1859… Fire and Ice, Humans and Water

1860 – 1899… Roads, Linkville, Modoc Indian War, Klamath Falls

1900 – 1949… Automobiles, Reclamations, Trains, Farming

1950 – 1999… Timber, Ranches, Boomers

2000 – Present… Legislation, Court decisions, Science Studies

Modoc Indian War… Indians, Settlers, U.S. Army

Bill and LoEtta Cadman, Ina and Roy Reed, Pat McMillian, William Brady, Andrew Ortis, John Pratt, Art Eggleston, Rob Crawford – Crawford Farms, Bev Wampler, Richard Kopczak and Cindy Wright are some of the many folks that allowed access to their libraries and, or, shared information to help Anders compile the above timelines.

more california water timelines icon

1850 – 1889 … A growing need for irrigation and power

1900 – 1949 … Reclamation & Realization

1950 – 1999 … Big projects & legislation

2000 – present … Times they are a changing

These Califoria Water timelines above are complied from Imperial Valley, San Diego, Metropolitan Water District – serving all of Southern California, Monterey, Santa Clara Valley, San Francisco and Hetch Hetchy, Central Valley, Klamath River, Upper Klamath Basin and Colorado River timelines.

alamos history timeline icon

Álamos, Sonora, Mexico Timelines … Álamos is at the southeast corner of the Great Basin & Range, Klamath County is at the northwest corner of the Great Basin & Range. Both Álamos and the Upper Klamath Basin are rich in history, wildlife and natural ecosystems.

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.