Klamath Basin Water Project

Klamath Basin Water Project

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Project Goal:

Enhance flows and improve critical instream habitat for coho and Chinook salmon throughout the watershed.

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Project Stages


Project Funders

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

The Nature Conservancy


National Fish and Wildlife Foundation


Fish Affected:

Project Description

For over a decade, CalTrout and our partners have been working to improve critical instream habitat for coho and Chinook salmon in the Scott and Shasta Valleys of the Klamath. Flows in the Scott and Shasta River are vital to the recovery of anadromous populations in the Klamath Basin, after the removal of the Klamath dams in 2023.

In the summer and fall months, when flows are low and agricultural water demands are high, CalTrout can receive calls from locals or other partners who report stream reaches at risk of drying out and jeopardizing juvenile and/or adult survival. Within days, CalTrout's Water Program can lease water to deliver flows to improve site-specific in stream conditions. CalTrout has been using a targeted approach to help alleviate migration and spawning conditions by asking willing landowners to temporarily leave that water instream to benefit fish.

In 2021, the 13th year of the Shasta Water Transaction Program, and under severe drought conditions, over 700 acre-ft of water leases were delivered to improve water quality and flow conditions for rearing juvenile coho in the Scott and to facilitate sufficient flows to support the in-migration of fall-run Chinook in the lower Shasta. Using this incentive-based approach to secure water, rather than relying solely on voluntary contributions, provides a level of assurance that landowners will leave the water instream during the targeted time frame. These short-term forbearance agreements help open the door for CalTrout to discuss longer-term agreements with landowners to improve conditions for salmon.

Project Partners:

Yurok Tribe




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