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Irrigation Water Conservation and Drought Resilience

County:  Klamath

Primary Resource Concern Addressed: 

  • Air quality emissions - Emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Soil quality limitations - Soil organism habitat loss or degradation
  • Inefficient energy use - Energy efficiency of farming/ranching practices and field operations
  • Inefficient energy use - Energy efficiency of equipment and facilities
  • Soil quality limitations - Aggregate instability 
  • Source water depletion - Inefficient irrigation water use

Project Description
Endangered Species Act listed fish (Lost River Sucker and Short nose Sucker) and Threatened Coho Salmon are intertwined species that bring forward compounding resource concerns and a regulatory burden for agroecosystems in the Klamath Basin. Water flowing above and below Upper Klamath Lake has been shut off to agricultural producers who rely on federally managed irrigation systems of canals, dams, and reservoirs known as the Klamath Project. Current understanding is increased river flows (water quantity) for Coho Salmon and improved water quality for suckers are needed. Threatened and Endangered species management results in balancing "flushing flows" to the Klamath River for Coho Salmon and reduced water allocations from Upper Klamath Lake to irrigated agriculture in the Spring for surface water elevations to reach native Lost River and Short Nose sucker spawning grounds. Water use reductions to the Klamath basin compound to soil erosion, organic matter depletion, and soil organism habitat loss in "Prime and Unique" soils throughout the year. The goal of the Irrigation Water Conservation and Drought Resilience Conservation Implementation Strategy is a two-pronged approach to better prepare a community faced with reduced water allocations and compounding drought 1) prioritize low-cost investments that yield high irrigation water use efficiency and 2) restore and/or improve soil function and processes that support plant productivity, biological activity, and water and nutrient cycling.

Conservation Practices Offered

  • Sprinkler System (442)  
  • Irrigation Water Management (449)  
  • Pumping Plant (533)  
  • Irrigation Pipeline (430)  
  • Cover Crop (340)
  • Nutrient Management (590)
  • Soil Health Testing (216)
  • Irrigation Land Leveling (464)

Project Partners

  • Klamath Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Klamath Watershed Partnership
  • Energy Trust of Oregon
  • NRCS Oregon
  • Private landowners

Application Questions
NRCS uses prioritization questions to evaluate applications for this initiative. See the list of workload prioritization questions on the Oregon EQIP page. Ranking questions below will also apply.

 Ranking Questions

  1. Is the project located upstream of Upper Klamath Lake in the HUC 8 Sprague watershed and have resource concern of Inefficient Use of Irrigation Water?

  2. What is the estimated annual water savings anticipated using the NRCS Water Savings Estimator?

  3. Conservation practices in the EQIP schedule of operations support conversion of wheel-line to pivot/linear irrigation?

  4. Conservation practices in the EQIP schedule of operations include nutrient management on one or more fields?

  5. Conservation practices in the EQIP schedule of operations include soil health testing and cover cropping on one or more fields?  

  6. The project is located within 3 miles to Klamath River restoration efforts and within an irrigation district pursuing a watershed action plan that has passed the public comment period?

  7. Conservation practices in the EQIP schedule of operations includes Irrigation Water Management with automated soil moisture sensors with data recorders installed at the field location?