Surface water variation and water storage potential in Upper Klamath Basin, 2000-2012 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/12579x92h

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  • With too many demands placed on too little water, the Klamath Basin and itsresidents - human and otherwise - are in dire need. There exists a significant opportunityfor mitigation in the purposeful conversion of seasonal wetlands to permanent wetlandsmanaged to increase baseline water storage levels in the Upper Basin. A thirteen-yearsurvey of Landsat data coupled with contemporary flow information and a semiautonomousclassification method shows that more than 37,000 acres exist in the UpperKlamath Basin that naturally flood when water is plentiful, and so would have a naturaladvantage as storage mediums to buffer the time of maximum availability further into thesummer, possibly retaining up to 60,000 acre-feet of water - nearly a 10% increase overbaseline storage capacity. Managing these lands to maximize storage capacity wouldrequire policy changes in the basin targeted on both public and private lands. Public landsmanagement for this objective would reduce available National Wildlife Refuge land thatis currently leased to area farmers, while private lands management for this purposewould require an effort to provide incentives for voluntary participation, likely theenrollment of affected lands in federal conservation easements under the USDA and aregional water bank market system. In either the public or private case, such a policymust be presented to regional stakeholders while considering their cultural values.
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