Local Stewardship

Local Stewardship

A critical stop for waterfowl on the Pacific flyway, the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex offers 192,000 acres of habitat for waterfowl. These refuges receive no guaranteed water allocation in this drought-prone region. Finding opportunities to use water more efficiently and to identify ways to fairly share water among all basin users, including wildlife, is one essential piece of supporting a healthy recreational economy in the Klamath Basin that includes visitors who enjoy both hunting and bird watching.

Dr. Rob Lusardi, a conservation biologist at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, shows how reconnecting the Klamath watershed could increase the odds for survival for salmonids (salmon and steelhead) while benefitting the entire Klamath river community.

After making significant strides in efforts to increase water efficiency, local farmers were able to send three times more water than previously pledged to the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. This reallocation of water will improve conditions for migrating ducks and geese. Collaborative efforts like these demonstrate the opportunities to make the most of limited Klamath water supplies for both people and wildlife.

The shaded units of Lower Klamath NWR are flooded or flooding now. The background satellite imagery shows a very dry refuge in October 2018.