The KBRA delivers significant new benefits for both Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges. The Refuges hold relatively junior rights to water, so in the past they had no guarantees of water deliveries. Under the KBRA, the Refuges are made part of the purpose of the irrigation project to assure water delieveries – 60,000 acre feet in wet years, 48,000 acre feet in dry years.
The KBRA also supports expansion of an innovative program – the Walking Wetlands – that increases wildlife habitat while working with agriculture on the Refuges. Finally, the KBRA expands waterfowl habitat by reconnecting former wetlands to Upper Klamath Lake and with the enormous river restoration program above Upper Klamath Lake.
All Tribal and conservation groups share an interest in restoring waterfowl habitat in the Upper Basin. Most believe that the KBRA represents a significant improvement for waterfowl. Farming on the Klamath Wildlife Refuges has been controversial for decades. This is the most fertile ground on the Irrigation Project, highly valued by farmers, and dealt with by Congress in statutes that put farming and wildlife values on par. For better or worse (depending where you stand), the laws related to the Wildlife Refuges on the Klamath Irrigation Project are unique in the country and create different conditions for these lands than for most other Refuges. For more details on Wildlife Refuges.