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Upper Klamath SIP

At its January 2012 meeting, the OWEB Board approved the formation of an Upper Klamath Special Investment Partnership (Upper Klamath SIP).  The Upper Klamath Basin is defined as the catchment above the Link River Dam and includes Spencer Creek, which drains directly to the Klamath River. This geographic area is the focus of the Upper Klamath SIP.  The Upper Klamath SIP implementation partners are known as the Upper Klamath Conservation Action Network (UKCAN).  Collectively, this partnership of organizations has a strong foundation working on restoration issues in the basin that will allow for significant progress related to habitat restoration and conservation, water use management, integrated strategic planning, project coordination, monitoring, and partnership development.

Focus Area
The geographic focus necessary to address the objective of the Upper Klamath SIP include Upper Klamath Lake, its tributaries, and Spencer Creek.  UKCAN has further delineated the larger geographic area of the SIP into smaller, targeted geographic regions or sub-basins.  For the 2013-2015 biennium, the Upper Klamath SIP will focus on four sub-basins:  Wood River, Cascade tributaries, Sprague Valley bottoms, and Upper Klamath Lake.  (See map depicting these areas.)

Desired Ecological Outcomes
The UKCAN’s desired outcomes are to contribute to chemical, thermal, and physical aquatic conditions that will benefit fish populations and water quality in the Upper Klamath Basin by reestablishing, improving, and sustaining the ecological and hydrologic connectivity of aquatic ecosystems.  Overall, the SIP will contribute to recovery of sensitive, threatened and endangered fish in the Upper Basin (i.e., Lost River and shortnose suckers, bull trout and redband rainbow trout), incrementally improve water quality, and prepare the Upper Klamath Basin aquatic ecosystems to support re-establishment of anadromous salmonids.  These outcomes will lead to improved hydrologic connection between riverine systems and their floodplains, reduced external loading of nutrients into Upper Klamath Lake, and reduced water temperatures.
In addition, the UCKAN partners have identified a social and economic outcome to engage landowners in voluntary restoration projects while sustaining their financial stability and rural lifestyles.  The partnership under the Upper Klamath SIP will enable conservation and restoration of local ecosystems, while supporting local communities.
For detailed information about the Upper Klamath SIP needs assessment completed prior to the OWEB Board award for the 2013-2015 biennium, see http://www.oregon.gov/OWEB/docs/board/2013-06/ItemI-Partnership_Needs_Assessment.pdf.
Expected Interim Objectives /Outcomes
The Upper Klamath SIP interim outcome is to ameliorate the adverse effects of high external loading of phosphorus and insufficient in-stream flows within a 10-year period by:
    • Improving riparian areas basin-wide to support lateral connectivity
    • Allowing unobstructed movement and migration corridors for fish species
    • Reducing entrainment of fish species
      Increasing quantity of water
    • Conducting water quality monitoring
    • Increasing flow and improving (i.e., lowering) water temperature
    • Reducing amount of low-quality water returning to rivers
    • Completing outreach about UKCAN priorities to landowners and agencies
    • Increasing UKCAN capacity to meet the group’s agreed upon priorities

Projects Implemented to Date and In Progress

  • Upper Klamath Lake Watershed Riparian Fencing – protects 2.7 miles of streambank through riparian fencing.

  • Sevenmile Creek Culvert Removal – provides design and implementation funding to replace a culvert within an existing Wetlands Reserve Program easement to provide key fish passage for native fish populations in Sevenmile Creek.

  • Harbor Isles Lake-Fringe Wetland Restoration – improves 400 feet of lake-fringe habitat in Upper Klamath Lake by encouraging growth of native vegetation—and important sucker habitat—through creation of offshore breakwaters  and restoring .6 acres of wetland in the process.

  • South Fork Sprague River/Deming Ranch – removes large fish passage barrier, resulting in access to 28 miles of the South Fork Sprague River, while installing fish screens, reactivating 1.3 miles of stream channel and reconnecting 240 acres of historic wetland/floodplain.

  • Upper Williamson River/Rocky Ford Ranch – places 300 pieces of large woody debris and adds 10 tons of gravel for redband trout spawning, with plans for additional streambank revegetation.

  • South Fork Sprague River/Newman Ranch Fish Passage – this pending project will remove a fish passage barrier on the South Fork Sprague River adjacent to the completed South Fork Sprague/Deming Ranch project.

  • South Fork Sprague River/Weck In-stream Habitat Improvement – treats overstocked upland areas and uses thinned material to strategically place large woody debris to improve aquatic habitat for redband trout and shortnose and Lost River suckers.

  • South Fork Sprague River/Keystone Reach Landowner Agreements – conducts surveys and reaches out to landowners in a keystone reach of the river to explore options for addressing fish passage issues and in-stream channel and floodplain limitations, while meeting ranch management and irrigation needs.


Core Funders
Funding partners include OWEB and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) through its Keystone Initiative. 
Although not a core funder of the Upper Klamath SIP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an important partner to UKCAN, due to the funding it provides for projects in the Upper Klamath Basin.
Core Implementers
The Upper Klamath SIP implementation partners—known as the Upper Klamath Conservation Action Network (UKCAN)—include:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also is an important partner to UKCAN, due to its implementation of projects in the Upper Klamath Basin. 

Staff Contact
Please contact Eric Hartstein, Senior Policy Coordinator, at 503-986-0029 or eric.harstein@oregon.gov with questions.

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