LOWER WATER LEVELS WILL IMPACT RECREATION AT COPCO AND IRON GATE RESERVOIRS
Contact: Bob Gravely May 21, 2018
503-813-7282 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lower water levels will impact recreation at Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs
Iron Gate and Copco Reservoirs to drop 10-15 feet below normal
Klamath Falls, Ore. —PacifiCorp is advising those who use Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs for recreation to expect impacts from lower reservoir levels, including the closure of boat ramps over the Memorial Day weekend.
PacifiCorp started adjusting project operations on May 21 to begin lowering the reservoirs after finalizing plans with the Bureau of Reclamation and others to make additional water from the reservoirs available to the Bureau of Reclamation in Upper Klamath Lake. Reclamation will use this water to maintain Upper Klamath Lake elevations and to support deliveries to Klamath Project irrigators to cover a shortfall until water deliveries to the Klamath Project take place in June.
While lowering of the reservoirs in late April to make available an initial 10,500 acre-feet to support agricultural needs could be done with limited impacts to Copco reservoir, lowering the reservoirs by 20,000 acre-feet below normal levels will drop both Copco and Iron Gate by an estimated 10-15 feet.
As a result, the company began closing boat ramps on May 21. Ramps are expected to remain closed until mid-June in Iron Gate reservoir. Ramps in Copco reservoir are likely to remain closed longer as the reservoir refills over the summer.
“We regret the impacts, especially as a holiday weekend approaches, but hope the community understands that the water is being used to help their neighbors get through a difficult time,” said Todd Andres, Pacific Power’s regional business manager in Klamath Falls.
During the reservoir drawdown PacifiCorp expects peaking flows below J.C. Boyle dam in Klamath County, Ore. will be sufficient to support whitewater rafting over the holiday weekend.
To reduce similar impacts at Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs in the future, PacifiCorp plans to extend existing boat ramps to make the water accessible at lower reservoir levels.
Lowering Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs in Siskiyou County, Calif., allows the Bureau of Reclamation to retain water in Upper Klamath Lake and remain in compliance with Klamath River flow and Upper Klamath Lake level requirements in place to protect endangered and threatened fish. Any extra water not required to maintain Upper Klamath Lake elevations would be available to Project irrigators.
by Klamath Alerts via press release