Press Release: Bureau of Reclamation to Increase Flows at Iron Gate Dam to Address Fish Health Concerns
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation will release additional water from PacifiCorp’s Iron Gate Dam beginning Saturday, Oct. 4, at 7 a.m. in an effort to reduce the impacts of a parasite outbreak in coho and Chinook salmon in the upper Klamath River. Flows at Iron Gate Dam will increase from 1,000 cubic feet per second to 1,750 cfs for approximately 10 days.Recent fish sampling in the Klamath River indicate that a fish disease outbreak is occurring. Findings of Ichtypthirius multifilis, or Ich, have been observed in fish collected from the mainstem Klamath River over the past several weeks. Significant additional sampling of fish has occurred since Ich was first identified in mid-September. Recent sampling shows that the majority of fish collected in the mainstem Klamath River, upstream of the confluence with the Trinity River, are infected with Ich, with most of the cases classified as severe. Many agency and tribal fisheries biologists believe that a fish die-off is imminent and could occur at any time due to the excessively high disease loads that the fish are carrying.The releases will come from water stored in PacifiCorp’s Klamath River Hydroelectric Reservoirs, based on an agreement between Reclamation and PacifiCorp. In the agreement, PacifiCorp agreed to draw down storage within its hydroelectric reservoirs to provide additional water to assist Reclamation in meeting competing demands for water in the Klamath Basin.
“Reclamation understands the severity of the Klamath River Ich disease outbreak and the large-scale impacts that could occur to our valuable in-stream resources and the local communities if a fish die off were to occur. We are continuing to work closely with our federal partners and tribal leaders to ensure that the volume of water we are making available below Iron Gate Dam is used as effectively as possible.” said Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Regional Director, David Murillo.
A technical team made up of experts from federal agencies and tribes will monitor and evaluate the impacts on in-stream resources. Overall, it is anticipated that this flow event will use about 16,000 acre-feet from PacifiCorp’s reservoirs and will have no effect on Upper Klamath Lake elevations. The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high during this period.
For additional information, please contact Tara Jane Campbell Miranda, Acting Public Affairs Specialist, at 541-880-2540 (TTY 800-877-8339) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Klamath River Flow