A Blueprint for Progress and Sustainability in the Klamath Basin

Full KBRA text

On February 18, 2010, a diverse group of over two dozen Klamath Basin stakeholders signedthe Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). The KBRA is the most comprehensive and ambitious effort to date to resolve the Klamath Crisis.

The KBRA is intended to result in effective and durable solutions which:

1) in concert with the removal of four dams, will restore and sustain natural production and provide for full participation in ocean and river harvest opportunities of fish species throughout the Klamath Basin;

2) establish reliable water and power supplies which sustain agricultural uses, communities, and National Wildlife Refuges; and

3) contribute to the public welfare and the sustainability of all Klamath Basin communities.

What is the KBRA?

KBRA is a settlement agreement among many diverse parties that creates a solid path forward on long-standing, stalemated resource disputes in the Klamath Basin. The KBRA takes a multi-dimensional approach that resolves complex problems by focusing on species recovery while recognizing the interdependence of environmental and economic problems in the Basin’s rural communities. 

The goal of the KBRA is to foster environmental restoration of the Klamath Basin in a manner that supports and enhances the Basin's diverse rural economies including fishing, farming, and ranching.

Major Outcomes of the KBRA 

  1. Removal of four hydro dams in the Klamath River
  2. Increased water flows for fish, especially during dry years
  3. Settlement of water-related litigation and increased water certainty for irrigators
  4. Reintroduction of salmon to historic range in the Upper Basin
  5. Large-scale habitat restoration in the Upper and Lower Basin
  6. “Safe harbor” for participating farmers and ranchers
  7. Renewable energy and affordable power options for the agricultural community
  8. Economic revitalization programs for tribal communities
  9. A coordination council managing the watershed as one

Why the KBRA Works

For Fish: 

  • Dam removal will essentially re-open over 600 miles of historic river and stream habitat fo salmon, steelhead, and other fish species.
  • Dam removal will also improve water quality by eliminating the thermal effects of the shallow reservoirs, restoring more natural flow regimes, and eliminating the breeding ground for massive blooms of toxic algae.
  • Large-scale restoration of hydrology, habitat, and ecological functionality of the Klamath River and many key tributaries.

A more comprehensive explanation of fisheries benefits can be found here.

For Farming and Ranching:

  • Opportunity to settle Klamath Basin Water Adjudication on mutally agreeable terms.
  • Increase certainty of irrigation deliveries to the federal Klamath Irrigation Project.
  • Regulatory assurances to protect from liabilities associated with returning fish.

Irrigators' Perspective on KBRA

For Thriving Communities:

  • Recovery of salmon populations that are the mainstay of tribal and commercial fishing economies and cultures.
  • Species recovery reduces regulatory burdens on agricultural community.
  • Opportunities in natural resource-based tribal economic revitalization
  • Investing in renewable energy programs and other options to supply affordable power for agriculture.

For the Public:

  • Effective use of tax dollars:  fewer crises, emergencies and bailouts; restoration that works.
  • Cost savings through dam removal vs. expensive and prolonged relicensing.
  • Recreational opportunities with recovered salmon, trout and steelhead populations and inproved water quality.

For Policy:

  • Addressing economic, social and environmental issues for long-term sustainability.
  • Supported by a broad and wide coalition of tribes, conservation groups, farmers and ranchers, commercial fishermen, and state and federal agencies.
  • Breaking historic environmental stalemate and bringing “peace to the river.”
  • Allowing the coordinated movement on multiple fronts required for fisheries recovery.
  • Opportunity for investment in long-term change vs. cyclical band-aid expenditures.

 A more in depth Executive Summary of Klamath Agreements.