August 14, 2023

Wyden, Merkley: Nearly $92,000 to Upper Klamath Basin for Crucial Conservation Planning

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that the Upper Klamath Basin will receive nearly $92,000 from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation for data collection and conservation planning through Oregon State University.

"There have been incredible efforts by folks in the Klamath Basin to prepare and respond to more frequent and severe droughts caused by climate chaos—but all of that starts with everyone having all the facts,” Wyden said. “While I’m gratified Senator Merkley and I brought resources for species recovery and habitat restoration to the region in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it’s clear that more needs to be done. To ensure the long-term viability of the Klamath Basin natural resources and economy, we must start with quality data, which is why I’m gratified to see this tool developed to help communities in the Basin set priorities that help everyone.”

“As climate chaos continues to drive prolonged, devastating drought in the Klamath Basin, it’s vital to keep boosting critical research and conservation efforts that protect the region’s communities, wildlife, and complex ecosystems,” Merkley said. “This federal funding specifically supports the robust, continuous data gathering that’s needed to protect redband trout in the region. Safeguarding this culturally and economically essential species is yet another tool in the toolbox to champion the long-term health and recovery of the Basin for generations to come.”

The hydrologically unique Upper Klamath Basin requires continuous data collection to guide conservation planning. Oregon State University will incorporate empirical data for redband trout - which are an important species both culturally and economically - from previous field studies into a tool to guide conservation of juvenile redband trout rearing and habitat conditions in the Upper Klamath Basin.

“Native redband trout hold valuable insights for the unique challenges and opportunities facing future runs of salmon and steelhead in the Upper Klamath Basin,” said Jonathan Armstrong, OSU Associate Professor. “Our project will upload key information on redband trout ecology to an interactive web tool where it will inform fisheries recovery and climate adaptation planning”