Overview and quick history of the landscape, wildlife and people that make the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges what it is, a natural wonder of diversity.
“There is probably no more important waterfowl area in the country than these refuges in the Upper Klamath Basin… (the refuges “act like a waist in the hourflass’ (so) “all the birds inn the Pacific Flyway funnel their way through this area in their annual migrations.” Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, 1962
The Klamath Basin National Wildlife Complex is made of six refuges: Lower Klamath, Tule Lake, Clear Lake, Upper Klamath, Klamath Marsh and Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuges. These are wonderful places for all. Over 490 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have been found in the Upper Klamath Basin.
Managing natural resources in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Complex.
A Year in the LIfe of the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges. The six refuges span the Upper Klamath Basin from Klamath Marsh, east of Crater Lake National Park, to Tule Lake and Lower Klamath, north of the Lava Beds National Monument.
Cropland and pasture habitat are found mostly at the lower elevations (4,100-4,200) within the central and southern portions of the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. This category includes diverse areas within the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins such as towns, smaller communities, rural residential areas, farms and ranches. The wildlife associated with these habitats have adapted to living close to human development and activities.
Riparian Habitat is located along the shoreline of rivers, lakes and wetlands within the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. Vegetation found in riparian habitats includes deciduous trees such as willow, cottonwood and aspen which are found along the shore lines of these water bodies. Many bird species use riparian habitats as travel corridors during the spring and fall migrations. Other birds may use riparian locations as favored sites for nesting and breeding.
Deep water and permanent marshes are found in the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins. Habitat includes Klamath, Williamson, Wood, Sprague, and Lost Rivers; Upper Klamath , Clear and Tule Lakes, many smaller deep wetlands
and permanent marshes. Fish eating species such as grebes, pelicans, gulls, terns and diving ducks use these wetlands. The vegetation growing in these wetlands
(primarily cattail and bulrush stands which are also called “tules”) provide habitat for rails, white-faced ibis, egrets, herons, yellow-headed black birds to name only a few.
Abundant shallow wetlands are found in the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins. These wetlands have historically had water during the winter and spring, but tended to dry out during the summer and fall. Today, most wildlife areas and
refuges manage seasonal wetlands using water control structures to mimic this yearly wet and dry cycle. Wading shorebirds and dabbing ducks are among the diverse wildlife species commonly seen in seasonal marshes and wetlands.
Juniper/Sagebrush habitat is found most extensively in the southern and eastern portions of the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. Both the Clear Lake area and Lava Beds National Monument have large expanse of this habitat. Plants found here include Western Juniper and several plants collectively known as sagebrush and rabbit brush.
High Elevation habitat are forests above 5,500 feet in the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins consisting primarily of Douglas fir, western red cedar and true firs. These habitats are found mostly in the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains. Popular travel destinations with these habitats include Crater Lake National Park, Medicine Lake, Lake of the Woods and the Pacific Crest Trail. Wildlife species found in mountain meadows, streams and lakes as well as those seen above timberline are included in this habitat grouping.
Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine habitat are usually found above juniper/sagebrush vegetation and at a lower elevation than Douglas fir and true fir habitats within the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. Many cavity nesting bird species use the Ponderosa/lodgepole pine habitat, particularly where past fires have created openings and dead snags. Several species of woodpeckers, nuthatches and flycatchers are commonly observed within this habitat.
Habitats presented by Dave Menke, Anders Tomlinson, Howard West and anderstomlinson.com/tule-lake/.
©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.