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More comprehensive analysis of Klamath River basin needed to aid decision makers
Date:11/28/2007

WASHINGTON -- Two recent scientific studies attempt to better understand the Klamath River basin ecosystem. However, a new report from the National Research Council says for the studies to prove more useful for decision makers, a comprehensive analysis of the basin should be completed to identify all research and management needs. The studies included models that were intended to help reconstruct pre-development flows -- without dams or irrigation -- and to help understand the relationship between flows in the Klamath River and the amount of river habitat available for use by anadromous fishes, which start life in freshwater, migrate to the ocean to grow and mature, and return to freshwater to spawn.

"Science is being done in bits and pieces, and there is no conceptual model that gives a big picture perspective of the entire Klamath River basin and its many components," said William L. Graf, professor of geography at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "As a result, the integration of individual studies -- such as the two examined by the committee -- into a coherent whole has not taken place, and it is unlikely to take place under the present scientific and political arrangements."

The Instream Flow Phase II study (IFS), conducted by Utah State University, modeled and assessed flows in the Klamath River and their relationship to the amount of useable habitat that would be available to coho salmon and other anadromous fishes in the main stem of the Klamath River, downstream from Iron Gate Dam. The Natural Flow of the Upper Klamath Basin study (NFS), conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), estimated flows that would occur if there were no agricultural development or diversion of flows, such as by dams and irrigation, in the upper Klamath River basin. The flow estimates from NFS also served as inputs for IFS. The U.S. Department of the Interior asked the Research Counci
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Contact: Jennifer Walsh
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
Source:Eurekalert

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