Oregon Lakes Association

....a voice for quiet waters.

Klamath Lake


Upper Klamath Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Oregon and one of the largest in the United States. It is a natural water body lying in the structural valley known as the Klamath Graben. The lake lies east of the Cascade Mountains at an elevation of 1261 meters. The water level is regulated by a low dam constructed in 1917 by the Bureau of Reclamation, which maintains the surface elevation between 1261 and 1264 meters.

Upper Klamath Lake fills a vital role in water-resource utilization in south central Oregon. Water from the lake is used for irrgation of reclaimed agricultural land; it is regulated to enhance power generation at the Pacific Power and Light projects on the Link River and farther downstream on the Klamath River at the John C. Boyl facility; also it is used extensively by waterfowl, the marshy habitat being an important stopover during fall and spring migrations on the pacific flyway.

The drought during the summer of 2001 put the Klamath basin in the headlines when irrigation water was cut off from the basin farmers to aid in the survival of endangered sucker fish in the Klamath Basin and threatened Coho salmon in the Klamath River.

The web site links below provide timely information on the activities in the Klamath region.



Bureau of Reclamation Klamath Basin Area Office
  Located in Klamath Falls in southern Oregon, the Klamath Basin Area Office (KBAO) manages the Klamath Project, a Federal storage project built in the early 1900's to provide irrigation for about 240,000 acres. The project occupies portions of the Klamath River and Lost River watersheds with the Klamath River Basin. In addition, four national wildlife refuges are adjacent to or within the project boundaries and receive water from from or are associated with project facilities.  Major facilities include: Link River Dam, Clear Lake Dam and Gerber Dam.
The Department of the Interior
  Provides updates on Gail Norton activities and the work of the Bush-mandated Klamath River Basin Working Group (Venneman of the Ag Dept, Donald Evans Sec of Commerce, and James Connaughton, chairman Council on Environmental Quality.) to find a way to solve K Basin's problems related to water.
Klamath River Bain Conservation Area Restoration Program
  The goal of the Klamath River Basin Conservation Area Restoration Program is to restore the anadromous fish, primarily salmon and steelhead, of the Klamath River Basin. The U. S. Congress authorized the twenty year restoration program in 1986 under Public Law 99-552, (known as the Klamath Act). The Klamath Act authorized that $21,000,000 be appropriated for the program, and it established the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force and the Klamath Fishery Management Council.
Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office
  The Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office's (KFFWO) area of responsibility is the entire Klamath River watershed, from its headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Within the Basin, conservation efforts are coordinated by staff of the the Fish and Wildlife Service through the voluntary cooperation and participation of a variety of agencies, organizations, private landowners, and individuals.
Upper Klamath Basin Groundwater Study
  The present understanding of the ground-water hydrology in the Klamath Basin is limited which hinders the quantitative evaluation of new ground-water uses. This study is intended to characterize and quantify the ground-water flow system in the basin to address gaps in the present understanding of the hydrology. The results of the study should be useful to agencies and water users in evaluating potential effects of new development on existing ground-water users. The study should also be useful for identifying areas where additional ground-water development can occur without adversely affecting streamflow.
OSU Klamath Experiment Station
  Scientists at the Klamath Agricultural Experiment Station specialize in research on potatoes, cereals, forages, and sugarbeets. Agricultural lands constitute over 10% of the county's tax base. Agriculture and related businesses employ over 7% of the work force in a county with 60,000 residents. Direct income from agriculture accounts for very significant portion of the Klamath County economy.
National Academy of Sciences Klamath Review
  The committee will review the government's biological opinions regarding the effects of Klamath Project operations on species in the Klamath River Basin listed under the Endangered Species Act, including coho salmon and shortnose and Lost River suckers. The committee will assess whether the biological opinions are consistent with the available scientific information. It will consider hydrologic and other environmental parameters (including water quality and habitat availability) affecting those species at critical times in their life cycles, the probable consequences to them of not realizing those environmental parameters, and the inter-relationship of these environmental conditions necessary to recover and sustain the listed species.

If the link above does not work you can search the National Academy of Sciences website for project number BEST-K-01-04-A
Oregon DEQ TMDL page
  This page contains links to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) documents prepared for waterbodies designated as water quality limited on the 303(d) list. Scroll towards the bottom to see several documents related to the Upper Klamath Lake sub-basin
Klamath Basin Research & Extension Center (KBREC)
  A resource for research and education working cooperatively with the communities of Klamath County resulting in healthy people, economies and environments.

  Quick Facts

  • Max. Depth 15 m  
  • Mean Depth 4.2 m  
  •  Area 24906 ha   
  • Perimeter 141 km  
  • Elev.  1262 m 

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