[env-trinity] Klamath Water Quality

Byron bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Mar 2 09:50:35 PST 2006


Klamath water quality focus getting sharper

Eureka Times-Standard - 3/2/06

BY John Driscoll, staff writer


Water quality agencies are mid-stream in developing plans to help clean up
the Klamath River's water, considered imperative to boosting salmon and
other fish populations. 


The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Oregon Department
of Water Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are analyzing
information about the river, beginning at Link River at the outlet of Upper
Klamath Lake to the ocean. Currently, they are looking at nutrients,
dissolved oxygen and temperature -- listed as out of whack by the agencies. 


By October, the North Coast water board hopes to have a draft document that
identifies limits on these three factors -- called a TMDL, or total maximum
daily load. The TMDL development team leader, David Leland, said that the
plan could go to the board for approval by January. 


After that, farmers, timber operators, gravel extractors or any operation
that may add nutrients, raise temperatures or deplete oxygen in the river
would either need a special permit, or a waiver from the regulations. 


But Leland said it's too early to say what the limits might look like. 


"I'm reluctant to prejudge what the action plan would be before we do the
analysis," Leland said. 


The water board's role is to set goals for improving water quality, he said,
and can lend support to projects that aim to achieve those goals. 


A similar plan developed for the Shasta River -- a Klamath River tributary
-- directs irrigators to improve the quality of water that is returned to
the watershed, encourages ranchers to control erosion and polluted runoff,
and directs cities to change wastewater operations to improve water quality.


State Water Resources Control Board experts are also working to put the
Klamath River below the confluence of the Trinity River on a list of rivers
affected by sediment runoff. Water quality assessment unit chief Craig
Wilson said he hopes the recommendation, which will come with many others of
its kind, will be considered by the board this summer. That will then go to
the EPA for its approval. 


A TMDL plan will eventually be drafted to deal with the sediment issue. How
soon is a matter of where on the priority list the Klamath lands, Wilson



Byron Leydecker

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

Advisor, California Trout, Inc

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 ph

415 383 9562 fx

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org





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