2001 – Febuary, Federal officials declare a drought in the Klamath Project.
2001 – March 1, Klamath Project manager announces irrigating water may not be available.
2001 – March 13, a new Biological Opinion, BiOp, from Fish and Wildlife Service calls for a minimum elevation in Upper Klamath Lake of 4,140.0 feet above sea level to protect suckers.
2001 – March 19, a new BiOp from NMFS calls for increased flows below Iron Gate Dam to protect coho salmon habitat.
2001 – March 29, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber declares a drought and asks Secretary of Agriculture to provide emergency aid.
2001 – March 31, The Klamath Project’s 2000 operating plan expires.
2001 – April 1-2, Interior Department, Klamath Project officials and scientists from National Marine Fishery Service, NMFS, and Fish and Wildlife Service are called to Washington to review the biological opinions and proposed 2001 operating plan. Discussions continue through the weekend with Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff.
2001 – April 4, a district court judge rules the Klamath Project is in violation of the Endangered Species Act and cannot deliver irrigating water. The judge also declares the Hardy Phase I report the “best available science” for protecting coho.
2001 – April 6, the Department of Interior announces that no irrigation water will be available from Upper Klamath Lake. A compromise lake elevation is arrived at to protect sucker habitat and provide sufficient water for salmon. Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoir are tapped for 70,000 acre-feet of water for farmers in Langell Valley and Horsefly irrigation districts. The Department of Agriculture approves emergency aid for the Project’s 1,500 farmers.
2001 – May 7, “Klamath Bucket Brigade” draws more than 15,000 people and national media attention. Homesteader Jess Prosser fills the first bucket.
2001 – July. Klamath Project ‘A” Canal headgates are partially opened in defiance of the April 6 decision, beginning a summer-long protest effort at the A Canal head gates. Klamath Tea Party on July 4 draws national attention.
2001 – Sept. 11, Klamath Project “A” Canal Headgates protesters voluntarily agree to end their vigil out of respect for the nation’s pressing security issues.
2001 – November, the Secretary of the Interior requests the National Academy of Sciences convene a panel to assess the science used by NMFS and FWS in developing BOs for BuRec Operations Plans for Klamath Project.
2002 – February, Natural Resource Council panel releases an interim report finding insufficient support for a causal relationship between higher lake levels and river levels and fish survival. Secretary of the Interior Norton declares that this comprises the “best available science” for protecting endangered fish. FWS under the Bush Administration reverses course and withdraws the 2001 Environmental Assessment and 1998 Compatibility Determination. Agriculture provided with full water deliveries.
2002 – April, Environmental organizations bring suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claiming Reclamation is in procedural violation of the Endangered Species Act with respect to coho salmon. They seek a temporary restraining order to preclude irrigation diversions. The request is denied in May.
2002 – September, at least 34,000, and as many as 70,000, salmon die near the mouth of the Klamath River in September.
2003 – January, California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G) releases report finding that high densities of fish in the lower river (below Iron Gate Dam) resulting from low streamflows and restricted passage, 2) warm temperatures¨C stressful to salmonids, and 3) consequent favorable conditions for transmission and outbreak of salmonid diseases lead to fish mortality.
2003 – June, conflicting requirements of “dueling biological opinions” leads to a near shutdown of the Klamath Project to avoid dropping Upper Klamath Lake 0.1 feet below the Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion.
2003 – SWP contractors, DWR and environmental groups settle lawsuit over the Monterey Amendment.
2003 – October, National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Committee on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath Basin releases final report: 1. The recovery of endangered suckers and threatened coho salmon cannot be achieved by actions exclusively or primarily focused on the Project operation. 2. No evidence of a causal connection between Upper Klamath Lake water levels and sucker health, or that higher Klamath River flows help coho.
3. No evidence that Project operations caused the 2002 fish die-off or that changes would have prevented it.
2003 – Fall, Fish and Wildlife Service releases its findings on the fall Klamath River 2002 fish die-off and arrives at substantially the same conclusion as CDF&G.
2004 – February, PacifiCorp notice of application for relicensing Iron Gate Dam on the Klamath River in the Klamath Project.
2004 – National Resource Council releases its Final Klamath Basin Report.
2005 – January, PacifiCorp notifies Oregon officials that with the expiration of its 50 year contract to run the dams in the KB they will be raising electricity rates. This will affect farmers, as the cost to pump irrigation water will increase. Rates may increase by tenfold.
2005 – January, Bureau of Reclamation announces implementation of the 2005 Water Bank for the Klamath Basin. The Water Bank consists of several programs, including on- and off-project storage, groundwater pumping, and dryland operation.
2005 – Twenty-six groups, including state and federal agencies, irrigators, fishermen, Indian tribes and environmental organizations, begin negotiations that ultimately lead to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement begin in earnest.
2005 – Karuk Tribe identifies dangerous toxic algae blooms on PacifiCorp’s reservoirs. The algae spreads when nutrient-rich water warms and stagnates behind the dams. Public health warnings are posted near the reservoirs for the next 5 years. Tribes return to Scotland to disrupt Scottish Power’s shareholder meeting.
2006 – Projected weak runs of Klamath River Chinook salmon force closure of the ocean salmon harvest from Monterey, Calif. to Southern Oregon.
2006 – PacifiCorp’s license for Klamath Hydroelectric Project expires. The relicensing process continues; the company faces major costs to meet environmental standards required by federal regulators.
2006 – August, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez declares a commercial fishery failure for West Coast salmon fishermen from Cape Falcon, Ore., to Point Sur, Calif.
2006 – Scottish Power sells PacifiCorp to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
2007 – The USFWS proposed a new recovery plan intended to guide all management actions on lands where spotted owls occur, and to aid in recovery of the species. Early proposals were criticized by environmental groups as significantly weakening existing protections for the species.
2007 – FERC releases a final EIS recommending the dams remain (with fish to be trucked around them) but also showing dam removal to be cheaper than relicensing. One week later NOAA & USFWS require volitional fish passage, ruling out the trap-and-haul option.
2008 – January, Draft Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement released; provides for settlement of key water conflicts and calls for a major salmon restoration effort; also calls for separate agreement concerning the removal of the Klamath Hydroelectric Project dams.
2008 – After a successful lawsuit from Kurok, US EPA lists PacifiCorp’s reservoirs as impaired by dam-caused algal toxins. The listing potentially blocks the corporation’s chance to acquire a 401 Clean Water Act permit needed to relicense the dams.
2008 – November, the United States, California, Oregon and PacifiCorp announce an agreement regarding dam removal; it is the first time the dam owner commits publicly to such a scenario.
2009 – Draft Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement released.
2009 – Congress and the Department of Interior calls for National Academy of Sciences to begin a two-year review of the biological opinions issued by both the USFWS and NOAA.
2010 – Final Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement signed. Implementation contingent on authorizing legislation, funding and environmental review.
2012 – Final Klamath Dam removal EIS/EIR issued.
2013 – Klamath Project Biological Opinion issued.
2013 – With the region in drought conditions, Klamath tribes and federal government exercise water rights in the Upper Klamath Basin for the first time. This cuts off irrigation water to agricultural growers in the upper basin.
2014 – Brown signs a $7.5 billion water bond that will go before California voters in November. The bond contains for $2.7 billion for new storage, $1.49 billion for watershed restoration, $810 million for water reliability projects, $520 million for water quality projects, $725 million for water recycling, $900 million for groundwater cleanup and $395 million for flood management.
2014 – Voters approve water bond measure 66.8% to 33.2%. The $7.5 billion water bond is meant to shore up the state’s ability to cope with drought conditions and will increase its water storage capacity and protect drinking water.
2020 – Earliest year in which dam removal would begin under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.
Pre-1859… Fire and Ice, Humans and Water
1860 – 1899… Roads, Linkville, Modoc War & Klamath Falls.
1900 – 1949… Reclamations, Trains, Farming,
1950 – 1999… Timber, Ranches, Boomers
2000 – Present… Legislation, Court decisions, Science Studies
Modoc Indian War… Indians, Settlers, US 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.
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.
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.