26 July 2020

Remotely Reviewing Aquatic Barriers in the Klamath Basin

Written by: Cassandra Doll

Although I am physically sitting in Washington, I have been virtually flying over rivers and streams in the Klamath Basin in Southern Oregon and Northern California. As part of the Directorate Resource Assistant Fellows Program (DFP), I am working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop recommendations for the improvement of the California Passage Assessment Database (PAD), an inventory of aquatic barriers, such as dams and culverts, affecting anadromous salmonids. I already shared details about the first piece of my project in my previous blog; therefore, I will be focusing today’s blog on the second piece!

I am currently reviewing existing records in the PAD for accuracy and standardization using satellite imagery, aerial photography, and local experts. Additionally, I am looking out for any barriers that may have not been included in the PAD. The purpose of this piece of my project is to assess and correct any potential errors and/or deficiencies in the PAD.

The PAD includes the state of California and the Klamath Basin in Southern Oregon; however, because of limited time and resources, I narrowed my review to a reasonable and manageable range. As such, I decided to review the Klamath Basin because four of the Klamath dams, Copco #1, Copco #2, Iron Gate, and J.C. Boyle, will soon be removed. Today, these hydroelectric dams prevent anadromous salmonids from accessing more than 300 miles of spawning and rearing habitat in the Upper Klamath Basin. The removal of these dams will reshape the Klamath River and help revive declining salmon and steelhead populations. Thus, it is important to review the Klamath Basin to help these anadromous salmonids safely reach these dams and beyond.


View of the Klamath River on Google Pro Earth

To review barriers in the Klamath Basin, I have been using a combination of ArcGIS Pro and Google Earth Pro. These applications allow me to virtually fly over rivers and streams in search of known and potential aquatic barriers. During this process, I frequently encounter existing barriers to review and/or to add to the PAD. Hopefully, my work from the sky will soon be verified by local experts on the ground!

Photo: PGHolbrook/Wikimedia Commons

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office

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