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Over 70 Years of Representing the Farmers and Ranchers of Klamath Project

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1:01 am, Apr 21, 2024
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Flowing Once Again

Water will again flow through Tule Lake Tunnel into Lower Klamath NWR, benefiting refuges, wildlife, and restoration.

KLAMATH BASIN – Tulelake Irrigation District (TID), in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, will turn on Pumping Plant “D” on Monday, March 25, 2024. This action will send water from Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to Lower Klamath NWR through the 6,600-foot-long Tule Lake Tunnel for the first time in four years.

Completed in 1941, Pumping Plant D operated continuously every year for nearly 70 years as the primary water source for Lower Klamath NWR.  Over the last two decades, regulatory restrictions on water availability for the Klamath Project, including the refuges, have prevented water from pumping through the tunnel.

Today, water is available to flow through Pumping Plant D due to the efforts of TID, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to refill Tule Lake NWR this past winter.  Since November, TID has gradually been refilling the main portion of the refuge with water from Lost River.

Brad Kirby, manager of Tulelake Irrigation District, explains the purpose and history of Pumping Plant D just minutes before it was brought back online for the first time in four years.

Additionally, on Thursday, March 21, TID agreed to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) request to divert water from the Klamath River, helping manage the risk of potential flooding.  Reclamation is trying to manage flows in the Klamath River to ensure the safe and timely removal of the remaining portions of three former hydroelectric dams by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

The water sent to Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge through Pumping Plant D will provide habitat for local wildlife, migratory birds, and endangered fish.

Additionally, this process will help recharge groundwater, decrease dust, and provide relief from a grasshopper outbreak – using localized natural control of the devastating pests.

Running the plant will also help manage water levels in Tule Lake, which is surrounded by levees that have not held water for more than three years.

Turning on Pumping Plant D represents an exciting milestone for TID, Ducks Unlimited, the Klamath Basin National Refuge Complex, and local wildlife and bird enthusiasts—helping restore both Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges.

“Pumping Plant D is the heart of the Klamath Basin,” according to Brad Kirby, manager of TID.  “When water is flowing from Tule Lake to Lower Klamath, it means the Klamath Project and the refuges have a pulse.”


Press Release

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Contact Information
Moss Driscoll, Director of Water Policy
541-883-6100 Office • 541-891-8836 Cell • moss@kwua.org

Brian Gailey, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
541-883-6100 Office • 541-810-3133 Cell • brian@kwua.org

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