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Expanded KWERI Vision Discussion

WRW Willows in Spring
Wood River Wetland Willows...

Klamath Wetland Education and Research Institute (KWERI: "query") has been developing its strategic vision during 2012-2013. We have great interest in two particular wetland complexes of a very different nature: 1) the wetlands surrounding Agency Lake and 2) the almost unknown fen system NE of Chemult, OR comprising the Jack, Mosquito, Shoestring and Sellers Creek watersheds (6th field). Here we will present a detailed account of these interests and begin to develop them into substantial projects that we hope will bring to reality the essence of that vision. Of course, we recognize that we are only participants in the process of developing, restoring and protecting these areas, but our hope is that a comprehensive vision on e-paper will help in guiding us all as we work toward a well-functioning system with human and natural elements working in concert.

I have circulated our basic propositions among many of the parties of the Basin including federal agencies, the Tribes and other NGOs. I would like to thank those scientists, naturalists and other interested parties for taking the time and trouble to critique our suggestions. An improved vision has emerged. Even more importantly, I (Jim) would like to thank very much the many people who have helped me develop the imperfect understanding that I do have of the Basin's natural systems. Without those informative discussions my understanding would be much less, my progress much slower, and my vision much less clear. That said, I expect there are many more things I don't understand than there are that I do. I look at these web documents as living documents that may be used as a focus for further discussions. They will be updated as greater understanding and greater consensus develops as to how best to proceed, and as progress is made in the Upper Basin toward a more stable equilibrium. I'm not crediting anyone in particular here because some of this may be controversial, and these thoughts and constructions are my own and only reflective of those many discussions I've had the pleasure of having over the last 5 years.

The Upper Klamath Lake Watershed Restoration
Osprey looks back
An osprey taking a full binocular
look at the photographer!

The Upper Klamath Lake Watershed will first be discussed in its current condition to provide a backdrop for further discussions. We will then discuss our understanding of the way the lake system, including Agency Lake, functioned together with its incoming tributaries. This will be a far-reaching discussion including the lakes, streams, hydrology and meteorology, and it will include some ideas that we haven't heard before in the Basin or read in the literature. Thus, these will necessarily be hypothetical, but I will back up the hypotheses with whatever data is currently available. Most of this discussion will be directly associated with the challenge of improving Water Quality in the Upper Klamath (UKL) and Agency Lake (AL) System. Though the endangered suckers of are of critical importance, after 5 years of studying the problem, almost all of the disparate potential reasons for sucker poupulation declines are either directly or indirectly connected to WQ (e.g.{Morace:2007wv}). We believe WQ is, therefore, the keystone issue. If we fix the WQ problem, then the rest will either fix themselves or will be easier to fix. To take this one step further, we believe phosphorus (P) is the key to the WQ problem, though there have been a couple recent articles indicating a potentially critical role for iron (Fe) {Kuwabara:2009co}. Finally, we will move on to what we perceive to be opportunities for restoration: from treatment wetlands to recirculation wetlands, plus restoring the natural abilities of the system to cleanse itself, and means to monitor the entire project in an economical but more comprehensive way.

Table of Contents

  1. Upper Klamath Lake Watershed
  2. Historical Function of the Lake System
  3. Lake System Restoration Opportunities - these sections still in draft
    1. Treatment Wetlands
    2. Recirculating Wetlands and Alum addition
    3. Subsidence Reversal
    4. Reconnection of Large Band Lake Fringe Wetlands to the Lake System
    5. Economic Analysis and Public Education
  4. Walker Rim Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem