Klamath Wildlife Refuges -- for the birds?
Most of the lakes and marshes of the Klamath Basin were "reclaimed" and drained for agriculture nearly 100 years ago--only 20% remain, but the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the Oregon/California border, is still the most important waterfowl habitat on the Pacific Flyway. However, last month over 10,000 birds died there from overcrowding as a result of a water cut-off by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. This was the biggest die-off in a decade. The refuges there are last in line for water, behind farmers and endangered fish, and as global warming heats up, scarce water supplies are likely to become even scarcer. Matt Braun, spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provides an initial overview, and then host Stephanie Potter is joined by Steve Pedery of Oregon Wild and Jim McCarthy of WaterWatch.
(Unique among the more than 500 wildlife refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, the USFWS allows broad-scale commercial agriculture within the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges that provides no benefit to wildlife. View interactive maps here to see how the Klamath Basin has been altered by development.)