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One of these projects, the Klamath Diversion, would have reversed the entire flow of the Klamath River to supply farms and urban areas in central and southern California.

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In the 19th and 20th centuries, the upper basin became a productive agricultural region, and many dams were built to provide irrigation and hydroelectricity.

In the 1960s, the Klamath River was targeted by much larger, but ultimately unsuccessful schemes to augment water supplies in other parts of California.

Environmental groups and native tribes have proposed broad changes to water use in the Klamath Basin, including the removal of some dams on the river to expand fish habitat. Department of the Interior but has not been authorized by the United States Congress.

They put forth their concerns in what is now the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, a water management plan signed by local communities, governments, tribal groups, environmentalists, and fishermen. Upper Klamath Lake, filling a broad valley at the foot of the eastern slope of the southern High Cascades, is the source of the Klamath River.

It includes many of the longest free-flowing stretches of river in California, including excellent stretches of whitewater.

However, dams and diversions in the upper basin have often caused water quality issues in the lower half of the river.

For the remainder of its course, the Klamath flows generally northwest, passing through the Yurok Indian Reservation and the town of Klamath (where it is bridged by Highway 101), and meeting the sea at a large tidal estuary 16 miles (26 km) south of Crescent City.

Extending from arid eastern Oregon to the cold and rainy Northern California coast, the Klamath River watershed drains parts of three Oregon counties and five counties in California and includes a diversity of landscapes.

However, the river soon swings west to receive the Shasta River and the Scott River, entering a long canyon through the Klamath Mountains.

The route through the Cascade Range and the Klamath Mountains constitutes the majority of the river's course and takes it from the arid high desert climate of its upper watershed towards a temperate rainforest nourished by Pacific rains.

Here, the Klamath is connected by the B canal to the Lost River; as part of the federal Klamath irrigation project, the canal is capable of diverting water between the rivers in either direction as needed.

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