In the Flow
District news & updates
19 August 2022 Update
Outflows to Upper Klamath Lake over 100% of average --- Inflows around 25% of average
Despite natural conditions which would have pre-empted water flowing out of Upper Klamath Lake during dry periods such as we are currently experiencing, a great deal of water is being unnecessarily and unnaturally evacuated from the Klamath Basin into the Klamath River canyon below Keno.

Prior to the development of the Klamath Project, he natural Keno reef would have backed up any water coming out of Link River (highly unlikely given the current conditions) allowing no less than 188,000 acre-feet of water to evaporate from the Klamath River system in the Lower Klamath Lake removing this water from any available supply for down river use.

The natural lakes of Lower Klamath, Tule, TIngley, Spring, and the Lost River Slough covering over 188,000 acres combined would have evaporated no less than 3 acre feet of water per acre across the entire surface area. The fact that no less than 564,000 acre feet of water evaporated from these wetlands is ignored by hydrologists in their modeling of natural conditions. Water that would not have been available to the Klamath River canyon below Keno.

Under natural conditions these water bodies would evaporate significant amounts of water in July and August which in turn would naturally create localized weather events including thunderstorms and rain showers providing moisture in the area of the 2021 Bootleg fire and created cooler air temperatures around the basin...thus cooler water temperatures...thus later algae blooms.

Between 1 March and 30 September, no less than 407,400 acre feet will be released to the Klamath River canyon below Keno (well over 100% of average. Current estimates indicate on 335,000 acre feet of water will flow into Upper Klamath Lake during the same period; this does not account for losses to evaporation on the natural lake surface, thus further reducing the amount of water available.
Under natural conditions, when below average precipitation occurred, the Link River would routinely go dry with no water being released from Upper Klamath Lake. The conditions seen in 1903, 1911, and 1918 are not too dissimilar from the conditions seen between 1927 and 1938, and in 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
The graph above shows the precipitation levels on a D4(dry) to W4 (wet) scale in Klamath County from 1895 through 1940. A mild D4 condition is noted in 1903; a short D2 period in noted in 1911, and conditions better than 2020 are noted for 1918...all years when the historical evidence shows no water flowed out of Upper Klamath Lake over the reef measured at 4,136.7' above mean sea level utilizing Reclamation datum in July and August.
The graph above provides insight to precipitation between 1995 and 2022.

Note 1920 is similar to 2021.
Note the period between 1928 and 1937 is worse than the conditions we have seen this decade...and worse than the 1918 record where the river was dry for a sustained period. If cycles repeat, the basin could be at the forward edge of a 1928 to 1937 drought period.

Remember...the Federal Government's current operations plan anticipates sending 407,400 acre feet of water to the ocean from Upper Klamath Lake during a period when only 335,000 acre feet of water is anticipated to flow into Upper Klamath Lake. If drought conditions continue, and the Interim Operations Plan does not change, there is no hope the lake will fill...there is less hope for maintaining unnaturally high lake elevations.

But for the Klamath Project farmers and ranchers paying for the storage of the water in Upper Klamath Lake, over the past 3 years there would be no water available to flush to the ocean over the Keno reef, nor enough to hold lake levels at 3.28' above the natural reefs allowing fish passage without risk of predation.
2022 Klamath Water Saga
-recap to date-
2022 started with the Tule Lake Sump 1A dry and devoid of water, wildlife, and common sense.

The policies in place indicated that the Tule Lake Sump 1B (the only remaining refuge with water in the Project area) would likely go dry unless policies were changed.

In March and April of 2022, the districts communicated with Reclamation staff proposals to manage Upper Klamath Lake to the 2019 Biological Opinion level for C'waam and Kaptu habitat recognizing the need to protect these species and to not take the lake to our stored water right of 4,136.0 (Reclamation datum) and to address anticipated issues on both the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges.

USFWS previously communicated the biological need for the C'waam and Kaptu as allowing the endangered fish to have over 3.23 feet of water above a natural reef allowing fish access to Pelican Bay.

Reclamation's 11 April 2022 Operations Plan communicated to the districts that our willingness to cooperated between facilitated the ability for us to manage the available water supply in Upper Klamath Lake down to an elevation of 4,138.15' allowing a 0.35' buffer to the USFWS biological opinion to mitigate pelican predation on the fish if they traversed the reef. This decision removed 23,812 acre feet of stored water from property right holders above the biological needs of the fish. However, the compromise allowed for the districts to take ownership and management of our local resources and show good stewardship of our limited resources.

On 25 April 2022 the three diverting districts provided Reclamation with a plan for how the districts would operate to 4,138.15 with an understanding if hydrology improved, it could be beneficial for the refuges while protecting the endangered lake species with no effect on any threatened species. Afterwards the Federal Government informed the districts the goal-post was a moving target and that something above 4,138.15 would be the end of season low for Upper Klamath Lake.

For the past 3 months, districts and other stakeholders have been engaging with Federal agencies to mitigate the impacts of this policy decision to our communities and attempt to identify solutions for our dying refuges.

On 22 July 2022, the Federal Government informed the districts that the UKL end of season elevation was assessed at 4,138.56. The Federal Government intended to send the remainder of all live flow and a significant amount of remaining stored water to the ocean before 30 September 2022 without a water right to do so and without consideration of the refuge needs.


Communication between the agencies and districts continued, the Federal Government began indicating higher lake levels were needed at 4,138.62. (an additional 32,268 acre feet taken from water lawfully stored for the sole purpose of irrigation), nearly 10 inches of water above the opinion

Anticipating no forward progress, K.I.D. attempted to honor agreements made between districts and following the 11 August meeting of the directors issued an update to its 2022 operations policy on 12 August.

Reclamation leadership suggested borrowing 10,000 acre-feet of water from PacifiCorps reservoirs to help offset the problem the Federal Government created. However, for this borrow to occur, the Federal Government demanded Klamath Drainage District to not divert its fall/winter water intended to reflood the former Lower Klamath Lake bed which would be the only habitat for water fowl near the Lower Klamath Lake refuges in the fall of 2022 and winter of 2023. As the Federal Government has initiated litigation against KDD, this option was not acceptable.

On 5 August 2022, the districts received a confusing communication from Reclamation. K.I.D responded when the letter was officially received on 15 August.

On 18 August 2022, the Federal Government issued an updated letter requesting the districts shut down within 30 hours.

Klamath Drainage District had responded to the Federal Government's 5 August letter just prior to the issuing of the 18 August letter and is currently awaiting a response.

Klamath Water Users Association immediately responded publicly on 18 August with a press release: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CALLS OFF FOOD PRODUCTION, SHUNS WILDLIFE, IN THE KLAMATH BASIN.



Tulelake Irrigation District further responded. "In response to Reclamation’s letter regarding the ‘Completion of 2022 Project Operations’ dated August 18, 2022, TID will first express that TID does not agree with Reclamation’s assessment or handling of Project Operations this season, and we are greatly discouraged by the actions and decisions of the federal government that lead to this conclusion.

With that said, TID will be taking action to cease diversions from UKL at Station 48 by close of business today (8/19/2022)."

We ask the community to pray that decision makers will be led by divine wisdom. Proverbs 3:5-10.
Updated 3 Month Forecast
La Nina getting stronger, expected to stay for fall
August 11, 2022 
By Don Jenkins
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Aug. 11 that a La Nina has a strong chance of staying through the end of the year,
but may fade in the middle of winter.
 
La Nina, linked to cool and wet weather in the Northwest, has prevailed the last two winters. La Nina rarely reigns for three consecutive winters. That has occurred only twice since 1950.
 
NOAA said this La Nina has a 60% chance of remaining in place through December. By January, the chances of a La Nina drop to 47%.
  
The La Nina should influence fall and early winter weather, though the rarity of a third-straight La Nina makes long-range forecasts difficult, Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond said.
Do you have ideas or solutions?
Maybe you have an idea for restoring wetlands, or a solution for the wildlife refuges. Perhaps you've been thinking about a response to a problem in the watershed above Upper Klamath Lake. Or maybe you know of a project or initiative that deserves recognition. Friends of the Klamath Basin Birding August issue is all about making our voices heard. If you would like to write an article let them know.

Partnership with Farmers Conservation Alliance Update
On 18 August 2022, K.I.D. received notice The Oregon Water Resources Department will provide funding for the Klamath Irrigation District Water Conservation Study
Career Opportunities with K.I.D.
Klamath Irrigation District is looking for a relief ditch rider / maintenance specialist

General position summary
Patrols a designated area and controls irrigation water flows in canals and drains. Interacts with water users and other Ditch-Riders to coordinate demands for irrigation. Checks all District facilities for proper operation and maintenance conditions. Participates in maintenance and repair of District facilities. Apply through LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/3180031617
Funding Opportunities
OWEB now is accepting applications for the Drought Relief – Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering grants. This funding is available to support livestock watering wells and the construction of off-channel water facilities in Klamath County. These grants are supported by General Funds from the Oregon Legislature. Funding is provided to assist irrigated pasture owners to move livestock watering facilities away from riparian areas. This minimizes grazing impacts on riparian areas and the dependency on in-stream water sources. At its January 2022 meeting, the OWEB Board approved receipt of General Funds for multiple Drought Relief grant types to be offered during the 2021-2023 biennium.

The deadline for the second grant cycle of the OWEB Drought Relief–Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering grants is 5 pm on September 1, 2022. Information about future grant cycles can be found on the webpage for this grant offering.
Eligible Area: Klamath County

Actions Eligible for Funding
·        Well construction for livestock water, initial power hookups, and associated infrastructure for off-channel watering (e.g., solar or electric pumps, piping from the well to troughs/cisterns). Wells proposed in this grant offering are exclusively for off-channel livestock water. Domestic or irrigation wells are not eligible.
·        Project design for well construction and off-channel watering infrastructure.
·        Riparian exclusion fencing. Full exclusion is not required, but strongly encouraged.
·        Modest costs for riparian planting efforts. Non-native plant control is allowed within the riparian buffer to assist in plant establishment, but this is not intended to be the primary source of funding.
·        Development of a grazing management plan.

Eligible Applicants
Eligible applicants include tribes, watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts, not-for-profit organizations, schools, community colleges, state institutions of higher education, independent not-for-profit institutions of higher education, and political subdivisions of the state that are not state agencies. A state agency or federal agency may apply for funding only as a co-applicant with one of the other eligible entities.

Important Considerations for This Grant Program
Please review the OWEB Drought Relief Grant Program – Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering Grant Overview and Guidance document. This document outlines important information about the grant program structure and provides guidance that will help applicants determine if the proposed projects are appropriate for the OWEB Off-Channel Livestock Water Grant Program. Important considerations include, but are not limited to:
·        OWEB strongly encourages local partners to coordinate activities to leverage the strengths of the partner organizations and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of on-the-ground work. Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to plan and implement successful actions over a relatively short timeframe (i.e., by June 30, 2023).

Questions? A recorded webinar was held on June 6th, 2022 to provide an overview of the Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering grant program.
If you have questions about applying to OWEB’s Drought Grant Program, visit the Drought Relief Grant Program webpage or contact Amy Charette at amy.charette@oweb.oregon.gov.
Release No.: 2022-08-006
Contact: ORInfo@usda.gov
USDA Announces New Opportunities to Improve Nutrient Management
Historic funding from Inflation Reduction Act an unprecedented investment
in American agriculture
PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 17, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) welcomed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which will deliver $19.5 billion in new conservation funding to support climate-smart agriculture.
 
This historic funding will bolster the new steps that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today to improve opportunities for nutrient management. NRCS will target funding, increasing program flexibilities, launch a new outreach campaign to promote nutrient management’s economic benefits, in addition to expanding partnerships to develop nutrient management plans. This is part of USDA’s broader effort to address future fertilizer availability and cost challenges for U.S. producers.
 
Through USDA’s conservation programs, America’s farmers and ranchers will have streamlined opportunities to improve their nutrient management planning, which provides conservation benefits while mitigating the impacts of supply chain disruptions and increased input costs.
 
Specifically, NRCS efforts include:
·        Streamlined Nutrient Management Initiative – A streamlined imitative will incentivize nutrient management activities through key conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), EQIP Conservation Incentive Contracts, and the Conservation Stewardship Program. The initiative will use a ranking threshold for pre-approval and include a streamlined and expedited application process, targeted outreach to small-scale and historically underserved producers, and coordination with FSA to streamline the program eligibility process for producers new to USDA. In addition to otherwise available funding at the state level, NRCS is targeting additional FY23 funds for nutrient management. NRCS is also announcing a streamlined funding opportunity for up to $40 million in nutrient management grant opportunities through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
·        Nutrient Management Economic Benefits Outreach Campaign – A new outreach campaign will highlight the economic benefits of nutrient management planning for farmers. The potential net savings to farmers who adopt a nutrient management plan is estimated to be an average of $30 per acre for cropland. It is estimated that there are 89 million acres of cropland (28% of total U.S. cropland) currently exceeding the nitrogen loss threshold; and if all those acres implemented a nutrient management plan, the average net savings would be $2.6 billion. NRCS staff develop nutrient management plans to help producers use nutrient resources effectively and efficiently to adequately supply soils and plants with necessary nutrients while minimizing transport of nutrients to ground and surface waters. Producer information is available at farmers.gov/global-food-security.
·        Expanded Nutrient Management Support through Technical Service Providers Streamlining and Pilots – New agreements with key partners who have existing capacity to support nutrient management planning and technical assistance will expand benefits and serve as a model to continue streamlining the certification process for Technical Service Providers (TSPs). NRCS is also developing new opportunities to support partner training frameworks, nutrient management outreach and education, and new incentive payments through TSP partners for nutrient management planning and implementation. 
 
Alongside the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act provides once-in-a-generation investment in rural communities and their infrastructure needs, while also responding to the climate crisis. The bill invests $40 billion invest billions into existing USDA programs promoting climate smart agriculture, rural energy efficiency and reliability, forest conservation, and more. Approximately $20 billion of this investment will support conservation programs that are oversubscribed, meaning that more producers will have access to conservation assistance that will support healthier land and water, improve the resilience of their operations, support their bottom line, and combat climate change. This includes:
·        $8.45 billion for EQIP
·        $4.95 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
·        $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)  
·        $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
 
For more information and resources for nutrient management planning, visit farmers.gov/global-food-insecurity. Contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center to get assistance with a nutrient management plan for your land.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov
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Employment opportunities shared by our neighbors
Stanfield Irrigation District – General Manager
Opening Date: July 1, 2022 - Until Filled
The General Manager is responsible for carrying out District policies under the direction of the Board of Directors and running day-to-day District operations in a manner that aligns with the by-laws, policies and procedures, and goals of the District. 
 
This position will be approximately 70% out working with the field crew and 30% administrative work in the office as needed. A Public Pesticide License with Right of Ways and Aquatics, as well as, a CDL will need to be obtained within the first year of employment.
Location: Stanfield & Hermiston, Oregon
Desirable Starting Date: Negotiable
Pay and Benefits: Starting Salary Range: DOE.
 
To review the full job announcement and job description and to complete the application please see this link: https://www.sdao.com/classifiedsTo be considered as a candidate, please submit a completed and signed application, resume, and cover letter to the address or email listed below. Electronic submission is preferred.
 
Stanfield Irrigation District – General Manager
PO Box 416
Stanfield, Oregon 97875
Medford Irrigation District - Ditch Rider/Relief Ditch Rider
Starting Wage: $20.50 DOE
Benefits (After 120-days probationary period): Health insurance (medical, dental, vision, and life), PERS Retirement, Sick, and Vacation.
Location: 5045 Jacksonville Hwy., Central Point, OR 97502
 
This full-time position is being advertised on 27th April 2022 until filled. Applications/resumes should be submitted to the District office at 5045 Jacksonville Hwy, Central Point, OR 97502. To view the full job announcement, visit our website at: www.medfordid.org/employment.
 
The specific statements shown in each section of this job description are not intended to be all-inclusive. They represent typical elements and criteria necessary to successfully perform the job and meet the needs of the district.
Swalley Irrigation District – Field Technician
Swalley is hiring for an additional ditch rider/field tech. With or without experience, you are encouraged to apply. Prior experience as a ditch rider, field-hand, field-technician, irrigator, or water operator specializing in irrigation and or mechanical maintenance will be considered a bonus. Top candidates will receive an interview and interviews will be held until the position is filled. Start date is flexible and negotiable.
 
Assignment to the position is through an open, competitive process and will be based on evaluation of merit, qualification, experience, and character. Starting wage for this position is competitive with similar jobs in Deschutes County and negotiable depending on experience. The position offers generous medical, vision, dental, life, AD&D, 401a and 457b retirement benefits.
 
To apply, go to the Swalley website https://www.swalley.com/job-openings and download the Field Tech Application and Job Description documents.
The mission of Klamath Irrigation District is to acquire, maintain, assure, and deliver an adequate water supply for beneficial use on qualified land with the Klamath Project. We represent our Patrons before government agencies, the legislature, Congress, and in such forms as appropriate for the perfection and protection of their water rights. 

We defend the District from actions which would diminish our effectiveness and function. 

We further promote the conservation of water, soil, and other natural resources.