Resighini Rancheria

Klamath Settlement: Disasterous Impacts - Will It Be Terminated?

Klamath Settlement talks began in 2005 and resulted in Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement (KHSA) that were signed in February 2010. The KBRA (7.6.1) has within it a termination date of December 31, 2012 if there is no authorizing legislation, but Settlement Parties may come together behind closed doors to extend it. The Resighini Rancheriia strongly opposes any extension and urges oithers to do so as well.

There is a misperception that the KBRA is not being implemented because of lack of an affirmative Decision by the Secretary of Interior and authorizing legislation. In fact policies within the KBRA are being carried out that are:

Leading to the accelerated extinction of Lost River and shortnose suckers that are listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),

Causing catastrophic bird disease epidemics because of a lack of water allocation to National Wildlife Refuges, and

Violating the ESA by running lower Klamath River flows much lower than those required for coho salmon by the National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion for Klamath Project Operations.

Tule Pump DThe KBRA will negatively effect water quality because it guarantees continued agricultural land use over vast areas, including sites critically needed for ecological restoration.

Flows under the KBRA (Appendix E-5) will drop further from historic norms (Dunne et al. 2011), which will cause water pollution and fish health problems to persist or even worsen (Goodman et al. 2011) after dams are removed.

Excessive nutrient contributions from lower Lost River, Tule Lake and the bed of Lower Klamath Lake under the KBRA will continue to overload the Keno Reservoir which will block salmon passage even if dams are removed.

Fish disease problems caused by nutrients below Iron Gate will likely shift to a different location as pulses of nutrients from Keno Reservoir foster algae blooms and conditions that favor pathogen production.

Lost River groundwater and surface flows are likely to also be reduced under the KBRA resulting in direct impacts to ESA listed suckers and increased nutrient concentrations in waste discharges sent to the Keno Reservoir.

Lost River SuckerThe Lost River and shortnose suckers occupy just a fraction of their former range and their risk of extinction will increase under the KBRA because recovery of populations in the Lower Lost River, Tule Lake, Lower Klamath Lake and in Keno reservoir will be prevented.

Major subsidy for maintaining low cost power for Upper Basin water users is also part of the KBRA, when the footprint of agriculture might otherwise shrink due lack of profitability (Jaeger 2004) helping to lower water demand and nutrient pollution.

Decisions made under the KBRA (if authorized and funded) would continue to include only Parties who signed the KHSA/KBRA; therefore, it would continue to disenfranchises federally recognized Tribes for 50 years (see Social Justice).

Implementation of flow levels and land use associated with the KBRA are incompatible with recovery of threatened and endangered species under ESA and CESA and there is a major conflict of interest for NMFS, USFWS and CDFG.

coho salmon

Clean Water Act requirements and TMDL objectives cannot be met in the Klamath River, Lost River, Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Lake because of KBRA land use and water allocation (i.e. sucker “beneficial use” in LKL and lower Lost not attainable in 50 years)


Delays dam removal until 2020 while toxic algae and nutrient pollution problems continue to inflict damage on lower river communities.

Transfers Keno Reservoir to the Bureau of Reclamation without cleaning up pollution problems or changing practices or land use to help restore ecological function there.

Holds Clean Water Act compliance (401 Certification) for PacifiCorp's relicensing application in abeyance (see Back to FERC).

Pays PacifiCorp an additional $24 million in profit, if dams are removed on schedule in 2020 (KHSA p. 48), which will essentially reimburse them for all expenses of KHSA implementation.


Dunne, T., G. Ruggerone, D. Goodman, K. Rose, W. Kimmerer, and J. Ebersole. 2011. Draft Scientific Assessment of Two Dam Removal Alternatives on Coho Salmon and Steelhead. KBRA Expert Panel produced with assistance from PBSJ, Portland, OR. 149 p. 

Goodman, D., M. Harvey, R. Hughes, W. Kimmerer, K. Rose, and G. Ruggerone. 2011. Scientific Assessment of Two Dam Removal Alternatives on Chinook Salmon. Final June 3, 2011.  Funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service but produced with assistance from Atkins Company, San Diego, CA. 172 p.

Jaeger, W.K. 2004. Energy Pricing and Irrigated Agriculture in the Upper Klamath Basin. Oregon State University, Agricultural Extension Service, Corvallis, OR. 11 p.

KBRA. 2010. Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement  for the Sustainability of Public and Trust Resources and Affected Communities.  Signed and ratified 2/18/2010. 378 p. with Appendices.

KHSA. 2010. Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. Signed and ratified 2/18/2010. 208p

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  2010.  Operation of the Klamath Project between 2010 and 2018.  File Number 151422SWR2008AR00148.  March 15, 2010. NMFS SW Region, Arcata, CA.  236 p.

Sheets, E. 2011.  Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement Drought Plan.  Created in response to KBRA (Section 19.2).  Performed by Ed Sheets Consulting, Portland, OR. 38 p.