What is Wrong With Klamath Falls?

June 1, 2023

Klamath Falls has a very high poverty rate. This is the result of many different factors including jobs, health care, education, and economic conditions. This is a large problem in Klamath Falls and needs to be addressed quickly. This is a very important issue for the city because it directly impacts the quality of life. It is also a large factor in why crime is higher in Klamath Falls than the national average.

In recent years, a pair of farmers has been leading a rebellion against the federal government over water rights in the Klamath Basin. Grant Knoll and Dan Nielsen recently bought land adjacent to the irrigation headgates of a canal that they say the Bureau of Reclamation is keeping locked shut. They are threatening to break into the gate and turn on the water for agriculture.

The dispute stems from a 2001 drought that saw Upper Klamath Lake drop to record low levels and drove endemic suckerfish into a spiral of extinction. Under the Endangered Species Act, the Bureau of Reclamation is unable to send water down the Klamath River to farmers in the Klamath Basin Irrigation Project without risking the fish’s fate.

The nutrient-rich (eutrophic) lake is prone to massive cyanobacteria blooms that tank water quality and cause mass die-offs of baby Cwamaam and Koptu suckers. Scientists and politicians are debating whether dredging the lake’s sediment will help. But unless nutrient flows from the lake’s tributaries are stopped, the benefits of dredging may only last a few seasons before being eclipsed by an onslaught of new sediment.


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