Klamath Basin Restoration Program
NFWF has been active in conservation activities throughout the Klamath Basin for 30 years, awarding funds to help stabilize and increase populations of native and anadromous fish. These projects have been carried out by diverse organizations and entities including local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies, non-profit organizations, irrigation districts, watershed councils, and academic institutions.
Located in Southern Oregon and Northern California, the Klamath River is an extremely productive watershed with extraordinary terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. From its headwaters just south of Crater Lake in Oregon, the Klamath River flows through a complex of National Wildlife Refuges to the Cascade Mountain Range in California, and ultimately into the Pacific Ocean – covering an area of more than 12,000 square miles.
The Upper Klamath River Basin supports one of the largest freshwater lake-wetlands complexes in the western United States. River, riparian, lake, and wetland habitats in the Upper Basin historically supported healthy populations of culturally and economically important fish such as the Lost River and shortnose suckers. The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as the nation's first waterfowl refuge. This area has been referred to as the “Everglades of the West” because of its biological diversity and importance to the Pacific Flyway, as it hosts upwards of 80 percent of the migrating waterfowl that use the Pacific Flyway.
Today, fish and wildlife vitality are threatened in the Klamath Basin. Although it was once the third-largest producer of salmon on the west coast of the United States, over a dozen native fish species within the Klamath Basin are now listed with Special Federal and/or State Status under the Endangered Species Act. There is a critical need to restore water quality, water quantity, and the aquatic and terrestrial habitats of the Klamath Basin for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and the health and cultural heritage of human communities.