KLAMATH NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE COMPLEX, Calif. – Aug. 23, 2022 – Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced $2.6 million in grant funding, awarded to Ducks Unlimited to improve wetland habitats through irrigation efficiencies on Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges in the face of an unprecedented drought. This project comes through collaboration with landowners, government, and irrigation districts to bring benefit to important waterfowl habitat in the region.
This innovative project will improve water management within both refuges and improve agricultural irrigation efficiency by providing flexibility and reduced operational costs for over 20,000 acres of irrigated agriculture.
Operational improvements will include installing pumping stations, increasing their capacity to manage and move water through different parts of the refuges. Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge will have two pumps each, allowing for water re-use and circulation within the refuge. These improvements are the most recent in Ducks Unlimited’s long history of helping to sustain both wetland and agricultural-based waterfowl habitat in the region.
“Ducks Unlimited has been working for decades in the Klamath Basin. We are partnering with farmers and local governments to adapt to a new normal of unpredictable water supply,” said Ducks Unlimited Regional Director of operations Jeff McCreary.
The record-setting drought has significantly affected waterfowl habitats in the Klamath Basin, threatening their populations through habitat loss. Within the last fifteen years, there has been a drastic decline in water availability on the refuges due to high demand for every drop.
“The Klamath Basin is one of the most critical points for waterfowl in the Pacific Flyway. Ducks Unlimited implements wetland habitat projects, builds coalitions, and delivers communications, policy, and scientific support to make a significant, long-term impact in the region,” said Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist Amelia Raquel.
Ducks Unlimited is working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Klamath Basin Refuges Complex, Klamath Drainage District, and Tulelake Irrigation District to facilitate this project and enjoys support from the Klamath Water Users Association, Intermountain West Joint Venture, and Farmers Conservation Alliance.
"This funding marks a significant investment in the Klamath Basin at a time when it is most needed. We need to make the most of the limited water that is available in the basin to preserve biodiversity on the Pacific Flyway and on the Klamath Wildlife Refuge Complex,” said Refuge Manager Greg Austin.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
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