Klamath Basin News, Monday, 12/20 – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Considering Largest Upper Klamath Lake Wetland Restoration Program

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Monday, December 20, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

TodayMostly sunny, with a high near 41. Southeast wind 7 to 10 mph.TonightMostly cloudy, with a low around 23. East wind around 8 mph.

Tuesday A 30% chance of snow after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Cloudy overnight with a low around 27. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Wednesday Snow likely before 1pm, then rain and snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. South wind 7 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight, and snow likely with an accumulation of 1-2 inches, low of 26. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Thursday Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible, with an overnight low of 21.
Friday Snow likely, mainly after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 35.
Saturday, Christmas Day Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. Overnight, snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18.
Sunday Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 31.

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Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

Upper Klamath Lake may receive large restoration project to breach levees that now separate Barnes and Agency Lake areas of Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating a major restoration project on the shore of Upper Klamath Lake that could benefit species both above and below the water’s surface.

If carried out, it would be the largest wetland restoration effort ever attempted for Upper Klamath Lake. According to a draft environmental assessment released this summer, the USFWS hopes to breach levees that currently separate the Barnes and Agency Lake units of Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge from the western shore of Agency Lake, the northern arm of Upper Klamath Lake.

Doing so would reconnect and restore more than 14,000 acres of historic fringe wetlands back to the lake. Originally diked and drained by the Bureau of Reclamation beginning in the 1940s, the wetlands that became Barnes and Agency Lake ranches hosted grazing cattle during summer and pumped water to flood-irrigate pasture in winter.

Fourmile and Sevenmile creeks, which originally flowed into the lake through the wetlands, were channelized and funneled into canals bordering the current property.

Reclamation purchased the plots in 1998 as water storage areas, allowing the creeks to flood them during the winter, then pumping that water into the lake in the spring to augment the Klamath Project’s water supply. However, pumping costs proved too expensive for Klamath Project irrigators and Reclamation abandoned the storage operation in 2013, transferring the land to Fish and Wildlife. Since then, FWS has seasonally flooded the former ranches to produce emergent wetland habitat for bird species.

According to the EA, more than 80,000 waterfowl have been counted molting on Upper Klamath Refuge in good years.

The city of Klamath Falls and the Klamath Falls Downtown Association will revive the façade and building improvement grant program aimed at property owners to encourage investment in downtown properties.

Klamath Falls was successfully awarded façade and building grants in past years and in 2019 partnered with KFDA to leverage the available funding from both entities and to streamline administration of the grant program. The grant program was put on hold in 2020 due to uncertainty surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, the grant selection committee received applications requesting a total of $574,000 in support of nearly $1.5 million in total project costs. Grant awards — along with grantee matching funds — represented over $300,000 in investment in downtown properties. For the 2021 cycle, $165,000 is available to local property owners who must match their grant award at least dollar-for-dollar.

KFDA executive director Darin Rutledge welcomed the return of the grant program, according to a release from the city.

A Washington-based development company plans to build and operate an RV resort and campground off Dan O’Brien Way, overlooking Upper Klamath Lake.

Chad Ross, president of RJourney, a company operates a nationwide collection of RV parks, said the Klamath Falls facility will have space for 127 RVs.

The full-amenity, Class A sites with concrete slips and paved driveways will be marketed to short and medium-term travelers passing through the area. Called the Klamath RV Resort, it will be open year-round. Ross said the development will also include 10 rentable yurts, a patio with three hot tubs overlooking the lake, a store that sells sundries, an exercise room, fenced dog park and a playground for children.

There will also be a large recreation room that can be rented out by local residents and organizations for private parties and events. He said the park will employ roughly 5 full-time staff members. The 40-acre lot is adjacent to the recently opened Love’s Travel Stop, just off Highway 97 north of downtown. It will be across the highway from Upper Klamath Lake, and there will be no direct access to the water.

According to the Klamath County Economic Development Agency, Ross bought the property in November. He said he expects crews to begin construction in 30-60 days and the park to be open and operating by late summer 2022.

A Klamath Falls man was convicted and sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for torturing his girlfriend over a period of three days.

David Garcia, 32, was sentenced on Wednesday, Dec. 15, by Judge Alycia Kersey after being convicted of second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree sodomy, multiple counts of coercion, and first-degree rape. He was also convicted of two counts of witness tampering, based on two letters he sent to the victim while lodged in the Klamath County Jail attempting to get her to not show up to court, to recant her story of abuse, and to refuse to cooperate with the prosecution.

According to a statement from the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office Thursday, Garcia was convicted for repeatedly hitting his girlfriend with a pistol and a can of bear mace, raping her, forcing her to lay naked in the snow and more.

Bonanza Junior/Senior High School math teacher Mallory Drake was named the local Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 1383’s Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year last week during a ceremony in front of the student body.

Duane Whitehead, commander of VFW Post 1383, and Ron Johnson, chair of the local post’s award programs, presented Drake with the award.

As the local winner, Drake will be entered into the district-level judging. District winners then compete at the state level. Drake was nominated by Bonanza’s Principal Jordan Osborn and Vice Principal Sergio Cisneros. The award highlights teachers who promote civic responsibility and patriotism.

Last year, when Bonanza staff were asked to teach about significant figures displayed on a new mural at the school, Drake chose the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, discussing with students about service and the importance of the historic monument located at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Crater Lake Hospitality says:

The Road to the Rim is currently open. Chains or Snow Tires are recommended (https://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/conditions.htm)

The Rim Gift Store and Cafe is open from 10AM to 4PM Thursday -Monday.

Hot food 10AM-3PM  

(https://www.travelcraterlake.com/lodging-camping/crater-lake-lodging-experience/?&mkwid=sbvxKhzgI&crid=444966723560&mp_kw=%2Bcrater%20%2Blake%20accommodations&mp_mt=b&gclid=CjwKCAiAh_GNBhAHEiwAjOh3ZOfk5BsNOa8w_bi_MtROy4SOjQZhNL5wJOIgcIoHKA1FZN9FH1-zQxoCT8cQAvD_BwE)

There will be Snowshoes with poles for rent for $22.50/Adults & $20.00/Kids under 12 for all day use.  Cost is $100 deposit per set against loss or damage.

Cross Country skiing is possible here, but folks will need to bring their own equipment.

Regarding tubing, the Snow Parks on either side of Crater Lake National Park are best for that:

Annie Creek Sno-Park is in the Klamath County (EAST) side of the National Park on Hwy 62

Thousand Springs Sno-Park is in the Jackson County (WEST) side of the National Park, also on HWY 62.

Around the state of Oregon

A new study out of Oregon shows people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and then get a breakthrough infection end up with super-immunity.

A study of patients by Oregon Health Science University finds that vaccinated people who get COVID-19 have antibodies that are one-thousand percent more effective than antibodies that come from a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

The study shows it’s especially effective against the Delta variant, but they believe it would have the same effect against all variants.

With overwhelming support from the UFCW Local 555 Retail Negotiating Committee and the representatives Fred Meyer & QFC, both parties have reached a Fully Recommended Comprehensive Tentative Agreement for Local 555 members working under the Grocery, Meat, CCK, and Non-Food contracts in Oregon and SW Washington.

As a result of the Tentative Agreement, UFCW Local 555 is calling off the strike for Fred Meyer and QFC that was scheduled to run through Christmas Eve.

UFCW Local 555 members said they were pleased that Fred Meyer and QFC recognized the ongoing hazard to its workers, with a settlement agreement that provides significant wage increases, added workplace protections, a secure retirement, and quality healthcare.

Details of the Tentative Agreement will be made public after members have had a chance to review the agreement and vote on it. Dates and times for ratification meetings will be forthcoming.

Military officials in Oregon say a sonic boom that caused widespread concern on the Oregon coast that an earthquake had happened was caused by an aircraft that “inadvertently went supersonic.”

The 142nd Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard on Wednesday said the sonic boom on Tuesday was caused by aircraft. Master sergeant Steven Conklin, spokesman for the 142nd Wing, said the military is authorized to fly supersonic 15 miles beyond the coastline, but pilots should not have the nose of the jet pointed toward the coast.

The 142nd Wing in a Facebook post apologized for causing concern among coast residents.

On Saturday, December 18, 2021 at about 3:10 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a deceased male in the offramp area of Interstate 5 at milepost 40

Preliminary investigation revealed the male, identified as Marc Edwin Fuller (50) of Central Point, suffered an unknown medical emergency and was located deceased by a local resident at his camp.  The southbound offramp was closed for approximately 3 hours while law enforcement investigated the incident.  OSP was assisted by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission is approving rules for the Climate Protection Program.

It will charge a fee for businesses that sell gas, diesel, natural gas, and propane for the pollution they cause. It’s expected to cause prices for fossil fuels to rise. The program takes effect next year. Oregon’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-percent by 2035 and 90-percent by 2050.

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