Klamath County - Information for Partners and Participants
Upper Klamath Lake Watershed EQIP Project Update
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided $4.5 million ranchers with planned 33 miles of riparian fencing, 2800 acres of conversion to dryland pasture, and over 80 livestock watering facilities. Practices implemented so far include over 8 miles of fencing, 24 livestock wells, and about 900 acres of cover crops.
EQIP Applications are available at the NRCS office in Klamath Falls
Landowners interested in pursuing funding for practices that address water conservation and supply, or for other issues, program application materials are located at the Klamath County NRCS office at; 2316 South 6th St. in Klamath Falls. You can also schedule an appointment with staff by calling; 541-883-6924, extensions 101, 122, or 118.
Gerber Reservoir Watershed Forest and Juniper Project
The Gerber Reservoir watershed is the current focus for 2016. NRCS and SWCD goals include improving watershed health by removing encroaching juniper and overstocked timber stands to increase watershed water yield for agricultural use, reduce wildfire fuels and improve wildlife habitat. The reservoir has been low due to drought and because upland forest and rangeland conditions are yielding less water than normal.
EQIP applications for those landowners in Gerber Reservoir watershed can contact the NRCS office for more information and applications.
Solar watering facility installed in 2015.
Klamath County Today
The Natural Resources Conservation Service provide technical and financial assistance to landowners within the Upper Klamath Basin which is an area of high desert, wetlands, and the Klamath River, which extends 250 miles from its headwaters at the Upper Klamath Lake in south central Oregon to the West Coast of northern California. The Upper Klamath Basin is the drainage area above the Iron Gate Dam near the Oregon-California border. The Klamath Basin’s lakes, marshes, and wetlands host an abundance of plant and animal species and include national wildlife refuges, parks, and forests. The Klamath Basin is also home to more than 1,400 farms and farm families. The basin was opened to agriculture around the turn of the century and, with the creation of the Klamath Irrigation District in 1905, water diversions for irrigation began in earnest.
In the five million acre Upper Klamath Basin, there are 2.2 million acres of private lands. Of this, slightly over 500,000 acres are irrigated; 188,000 irrigated acres are within the USBR project and, the majority, about 314,000 irrigated acres are upstream of the project area.
Other watersheds within Klamath County include the Deschutes, Rogue and Summer Lake. These lands are primarily forested, public land.
NRCS Local Conservation Strategy
NRCS is assisting Klamath County agricultural producers and non-industrial forest landowners in implementing conservation practices on privately owned lands. These applied practices are addressing the current natural resource priorities which include water conservation for increased stream flows, improving water quality, and agricultural sustainability. With persistent drought, water supply and forage for livestock is an increasing concern. Other areas, such as within the Upper Lost River and Gerber Reservoir have hardest hit with lack of irrigation water over the last 4-5 years. NRCS and the Klamath SWCD are striving to develop a project in that area that addresses juniper encroachment and forest health issues that are reducing available water supply and is a wildfire threat to communities.
The Farm Bill authorizes NRCS to provide technical and financial assistance for conservation practices. The technical planning and design necessary to implement practices comes primarily from NRCS, at no direct cost to the participant. Financial assistance helps offset the cost of implementation for producers.
NRCS Programs Available
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP):
- Provides funds to landowners for activities such as conversion from irrigation to dryland systems, reduce irrigation water consumption through improved irrigation systems, energy reduction, and improve range and forest lands.
- Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP):
- Provides funding based on existing land management and a willingness to further “enhance” conditions for natural resources such as wildlife habitat.
Some Additional Conservation Resources
- Farm Services Agency (FSA) – FSA implements the Conservation Reserve Program which in Oregon, provides up to a 15 year land rental payment for enrolling land adjacent to streams.
- Klamath Soil and Water Conservation District (KSWCD) – KSWCD is a local advisory board to the NRCS and implements their own conservation programs related to NRCS.
- Klamath Watershed Partnership (KWP) – KWP provides some technical assistance in stream restoration activities and conducts conservation outreach.
- Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust (KBRT) – KBRT assists landowners in stream restoration projects as well as some other habitat projects.
- Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) – OWEB provides lottery funds to local conservation organizations to implement a wide array of restoration projects
- Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) – ODFW designs and builds fish screens and oversees habitat related activities in Oregon
- U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) – FWS, through its own conservation program, assists landowner in fishery and some upland habitat projects
*list is not complete, nor does NRCS hold any one source above the others.
Soil preparation for cover crop, first step in conversion to dry land pasture system
Local Work Group Updates
The Klamath County Local Working Group is comprised of local, state and federal government officials, conservation interest groups, producer groups, and other interested parties representing a “group” of interests involved in conservation activities that relate to the NRCS mission. The working group provides information and guidance to NRCS where applicable in the delivery of various Farm Bill programs.
If you are interested in participating, please contact the NRCS District Conservationist listed below.
For meeting information, please click here.
Taking on drought before it occurs
8 years ago, Jim Goold worked with Shawn lee of Ray Brothers Seed out of Idaho and planted a 4 species dry land mix. 2 years later, planted it again on an adjacent pasture. Now, this dry land pasture out-produces his old irrigated pasture, especially when no irrigation water is available due to drought and water curtailment. More...
Taking Stewardship to the Next Level with CSP
Two years ago, Jim Popson stopped irrigating the pastures on his 2,000-acre ranch. Thanks to good management, he continues to operate a successful replacement heifer operation. More..
Clickable Map of SNOTEL Sites
Soil Survey Information
There are two soil survey offices serving Klamath County:
- Klamath North Soil Survey/Winema National Forest EUI Office
- Redmond Soil Survey Office
Soil Survey Office contact information can be found here: http://www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/soil/contacts.html
Klamath County contains all, or portions of, 8 different soil survey areas. Four of the soil survey areas have published information available. Three of the areas have no National Cooperative Soil Survey data, although other formats of soil data may exist, such as Soil Resource Inventories (USFS) or Ecological Site Inventories (BLM). NRCS and the BLM have begun doing some soil survey field work in the area on the far eastern side of Klamath County (OR680 – Fremont National Forest Area); publication of that data is uncertain, until the remainder of the lands (dominantly USFS) can be mapped. Finally, one soil survey area (PDF, 1.61 MB) is an ongoing project (OR683 -- Winema National Forest Area & Northern Klamath County Area) and interim data is available for portions of it. This is a joint project between NRCS and USFS, covering approximately 2.5 million acres. This project area includes portions of the published soil survey for southern Klamath County (OR640), which will be updated and reissued when this project is completed.
- Field work on this project began in 1998, under the direction of a Winema National Forest project leader.
- As of 2012, mapping in the project area was about 82% complete. The projected completion date for the project is dependent on availability of funds and future staffing levels.
- Some of the priorities in this soil survey are:
- Provide soils information that can be used in watershed analyses, in implementation of the Forest Plan, and in conservation planning.
- Provide detailed information on wetlands within the Winema National Forest.
- Update the published soil survey data on ponding, flooding and soil profile water tables.
- Assign Plant Associations and Ecological Site Descriptions to all soils in the project area.
- Incorporate previously unpublished soil data collected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the USFS.
- Incorporate existing and updated geologic mapping information in Klamath County.
Soil Survey Links:
For Additional Assistance Contact
Klamath Falls Service Center
2316 South 6th Street
Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601
NRCS District Conservationist: David Ferguson, (541) 883-6924 ext. 118
Klamath Soil & Water Conservation District (541) 883-6924 ext. 117