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YREKA FWO: TNC, Klamath Falls FWO Honored for Williamson River Delta Restoration
California-Nevada Offices , April 8, 2008
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The Williamson River Delta Restoration Team with the
The Williamson River Delta Restoration Team with the "Wetlands Award." From Left: Cindy Williams, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Russ Hoeflich, TNC; Governor Ted Kulongoski; Tom Byler, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board ; Mark Stern, TNC; Kevin Conroy, USDA's NRCS; Matt Barry, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Curt Mullis, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; State Treasurer Randall Edwards and Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. (Oregon Land Board Photo) - Photo Credit: n/a

Matt Baun, Yreka FWO

The Oregon State Land Board recognized the efforts of the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office through its partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to restore the Williamson River Delta, adjacent to Oregon’s Upper Klamath Lake.

 

The 6,000-acre restoration effort was more than a decade in planning, and is aimed at re-establishing nursery habitat for two endangered fish species – the Lost River sucker and the shortnose sucker.

 

The State Land Board consists of Oregon Governor Theodore Kulongoski, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and State Treasurer Randall Edwards.  The State Land Board Awards were created in 2003 to promote and recognize responsible, sustainable stewardship of natural resources.

 

Governor Kulongoski kicked off the awards ceremony by stating that the awards are given in recognition of restoration projects occurring around the state that will “protect Oregon’s natural resources for future generations.” 

 

In presenting the “Wetland Award” to TNC, FWS, and the other project cooperators, State Treasurer Edwards thanked those who participated in the restoration project.  Edwards called the project “a complex, multi-agency effort that’s resulting in direct benefits for endangered fish in the region.”

 

Klamath Falls FWO Field Supervisor Curt Mullis, who received the award on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said, "The Williamson River Delta restoration project is a good example of how various federal agencies can work effectively with each other as well as with private, state and local leaders to bring about significant conservation improvements.”

 

Also present were representatives from TNC, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

 

The Fish & Wildlife Service worked closely with these partners on the restoration project that reconnected the deltaic wetlands to the lake after more than 50 years as isolated croplands. (click here to see TNC's slideshow on the restoration)

 

The restoration project called for the removal of a series of levees on land owned by TNC.  To remove the levees, approximately 200,000 pounds of explosives were detonated in dramatic fashion on Oct. 30, 2007.

 

“Removal of the levees has led to a major expansion in critical habitat on which endangered larval and juvenile shortnose suckers and the Lost River suckers depend,” said Klamath Falls FWO Restoration Supervisor Matt Barry. 

 

Barry also noted that the restoration effort is expected to improve nutrient retention from the largest river entering the lake.

In addition to funding provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, support to complete the restoration came from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (USFWS), the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (through Ducks Unlimited) New Earth Corp (Cell Tech), and PacifiCorp.


Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov



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