Tributaries above Upper Klamath Lake, and the Lake itself, will benefit from in-stream flow increases of 30,000 acre feet during the irrigation season every year. In addition, the capped allocation to the Klamath Irrigation Project is a guarantee of water for fish because the substantial reduction from historic Project diversions is dedicated to in-stream uses.
The proposed flow regimes will work in concert with dam removal and habitat restoration. No other venue allows for the three prongs needed for fisheries restoration – more water, dam removal, habitat restoration. The KBRA approach balances agricultural and fisheries interests and creates a broad coalition seeking to move forward with Basin solutions.
It should also be noted that the KBRA does nothing to undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) which provides minimum flow requirements for ESA listed coho and minimum lake levels for ESA listed suckers. Although a new ESA mandated biological opinion will likely be required in concert with dam removal, the ESA will still serve as the safety net for river flows and lake levels. This represents a dramatic improvement over the current situation where the ESA minimum flows are effectively maximum flows as that is all we see in the river. Flows under the KBRA will exceed ESA minimums most of the time.
For more information see the section on Fisheries.