News Release Archive

Reclamation begins emergency dilution flows early Monday in Klamath River

Water releases from Iron Gate Dam will continue through May 21; public urged to take safety precautions

Media Contact: Erin Curtis, 916-978-5100,

For Release: May 07, 2018

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation increased flows below Iron Gate Dam early Monday morning, May 7, to address disease concerns in salmon in the Klamath River.

Releases from Upper Klamath Lake via Link River Dam started early this morning, with flows anticipated to reach 3,000 cubic feet per second below Iron Gate Dam by mid-day. Subsequent flows below Iron Gate Dam could reach up to 4,000 cfs during the event. The higher flows will continue for 14 days, through May 21.

The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high.

A March 2017 Court Order from the U.S. District Court Northern District of California requires Reclamation to release water as part of its operation of the Klamath Project to mitigate and address disease concerns impacting coho salmon in the Klamath River. For the 2018 water year, Reclamation is required to implement winter-spring surface flushing flows and emergency dilution flows. Reclamation implemented surface flushing flows in April 2018.Disease thresholds for implementing additional emergency dilution flows were exceeded on May 3. The emergency dilution flows will utilize approximately 50,000 acre-feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake.

The increased flow event is consistent with the 2017 Order and the 2013 Biological Opinion on operations of the Klamath Project to ensure protection of endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake. It was implemented in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa Valley, and Klamath Tribes, Klamath Project water users and PacifiCorp.

Flows will ramp down after 14 days and return to levels required by the 2013 Biological Opinion. 

"The 2018 water year is one of the most challenging and complex water years Reclamation has had to manage," said Jeff Nettleton, manager of the Klamath Basin Area Office. "We will continue to closely coordinate with Project water users, Tribes, and our partner agencies to operate the Klamath Project consistent with the requirements of the Order and the 2013 Biological Opinion, while providing as much water as possible to the Klamath Project irrigators during this extremely dry water year."

For more information about the dilution flow, contact Reclamation Public Affairs Specialist Laura Williams at 541-880-2581 (TTY 800-877-8339) or

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