Huffman Celebrates Landmark Agreement with Klamath Basin Tribes, Project Irrigators to Collaborate on Ecosystem Restoration and Water Reliability in Klamath Basin

Funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will support critical restoration work, drought resilience efforts

February 14, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) shared the news that the Department of the Interior has announced a historic agreement with the Klamath Tribes, Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe, and Klamath Water Users Association to advance collaborative efforts to restore the Klamath Basin ecosystem and improve water supply reliability for Upper Klamath Basin farmers. The Department also announced more than $72 million in new investments – including funding from President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a provision which Huffman spearheaded through Congress – for ecosystem restoration and agricultural infrastructure modernization. This investment includes fully funding the completion of the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery by 2027.

“The steps we’ve taken to restore the Klamath River are some of the most significant wins we’ve seen for our region’s ecosystems that have been choked by dilapidated dams and drought for decades. Working hand-in-hand with tribes as we take on this ambitious endeavor is unequivocally essential,” said Rep. Huffman. “This partnership along with the significant investments made by the Biden-Harris administration and Democrats in Congress are another example of our commitment to a solution that benefits the wildlife, tribes, communities, and economies that all depend on a healthy, thriving Klamath Basin.”

“The collaboration and cooperation reached today in the Klamath Basin is a critical step forward as we work to support healthy ecosystems and water reliability in the region for generations to come,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Following months of consultation and discussions, we’re proud to formalize this partnership with Tribes and irrigators and make a shared commitment that will benefit the forests, watersheds, agriculture and abundant populations of migratory bird and fish species that are unique to this Basin. With new resources from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re able to make immediate investments that will benefit the communities and wildlife that call this place home.”

As part of today’s announcements, the Department also unveiled the Klamath Basin Drought Resilience Keystone Initiative, a new effort to steward investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, and support a wide range of restoration activities that will help recover listed species, create new habitat for fish and birds, and rethink the way water moves across the Klamath Basin to better align agriculture with ecosystem function. The initiative is one of nine key conservation areas that the Department is focusing resources towards through a new restoration and resilience framework, and comes at a critical time as the removal of four dams on the Klamath River is underway. 

Rep. Huffman has been an active partner in the efforts to remove the Klamath River dams and restore the Klamath River Basin. Today’s funding is just the latest in federal investments Representative Huffman has helped secure.

  • In 2023, Huffman also helped secure $519,000 for the Mid Klamath Watershed Council in partnership with the Karuk Tribe to restore habitat in Red Cap Creek, a tributary of the Klamath River located on Karuk Tribal ancestral lands.
  • In 2022, Rep. Huffman announced nearly $26 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Klamath Basin restoration projects, including almost $16 million for ecosystem restoration projects in the basin and $10 million to expand the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery.
  • Huffman also helped secure funding through the Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for 10 grants totaling $2.2 million to improve fish and wildlife habitat.
  • In 2022, Rep. Huffman joined with the Interior Department for an engagement session with Tribes, state and country officials, interagency partners, and water users to discuss near- and long-term solutions related to drought impacts in the Basin.
  • He joined Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton on a visit to the Klamath River to highlight how deeply important the Klamath River is to native communities.
  • Following signs in July 2020 that PacifiCorp might walk back its commitment to dam removal, Rep. Huffman held a public forum to examine the terrible impacts the dams have had on salmon and downstream water quality and led an amendment to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act to safeguard tribal communities against further harm to the Klamath River and its ecosystem caused by PacifiCorp’s delays.

Additional information on today’s announcement can be found here.