Klamath Tribe Upper Klamath Basin Thermograph Data Assessment

Salmonid Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation (RM&E)

Monitoring Research
Project IDKLAMATH-2020-1
Recovery Domains -
Start Date10/01/2020
End Date09/30/2022
Last Edited10/22/2021
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Objective: Characterize the spatial and temporal patterns and variability over the period that the Klamath Tribes have been monitoring water temperatures in the Upper Klamath Basin.
Assess water temperatures suitability for different life stages of anadromous salmonids (spawning, egg incubation, hatching, and juvenile rearing) and endemic suckers (spawning, egg incubation, hatching, juvenile and adult rearing, high stress and low stress thresholds).
Assess the impact of implementation of water rights enforcement on water temperature since completion of the Klamath Basin Adjudication in tributaries upstream of Upper Klamath Lake.
Assess long-term water temperature trends related to climatic conditions.

Project Description: The Upper Klamath Basin (UKB) has provided the Klamath Tribes with an abundance of natural resources for thousands of years. Anadromous fish, including Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, were important components of tribal resources before their runs were extirpated by the construction of dams on the Klamath River in the early 20th century. The Klamath Tribes seek to restore ecological health and cultural value to the UKB, in part, through the restoration of native anadromous fisheries. The Klamath Tribes are a sovereign nation recognized by a treaty signed in 1864. The Tribes historic reservation which included most of the watershed upstream of Upper Klamath Lake was lost but the Tribes maintain hunting, fishing and gathering rights within their historic reservation. The Klamath Tribes also maintains water rights within the historic reservation. The historic reservation is vital to the Klamath Tribes for cultural, historic and subsistence purposes. The Upper Klamath Basin Keystone Initiative (National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and partners 2008), Klamath River Basin Fish Management Plan (State of Oregon 2008), Klamath Basin Anadromous Fish Reintroduction Plan (OAR 635-500-3890), and Draft Implementation Plan for the Reintroduction of Anadromous Fishes into the Oregon Portion of the Upper Klamath Basin (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Klamath Tribes 2019) are currently active conservation and restoration initiatives in the UKB. In 2003, the Klamath Tribes began monitoring water temperature in the tributaries upstream of Upper Klamath Lake (UKL), including those in the Sprague, Williamson, Sycan, and Wood river watersheds. Temperatures are also monitored in Spencer Creek which is a tributary to the Klamath River downstream of UKL near the Oregon/California border. Following a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) (Klamath Tribes Research Station 2016), temperatures are monitored with thermographs (i.e., digital data loggers) that record temperatures once per hour. Thermographs have been deployed at 60 sites for a total of 477 site-years, with the number of years of data at individual sites ranging from one to 17 (Figure 1). The purposes of the monitoring are to collect trend, baseline, implementation, effectiveness, project, validation, and compliance monitoring data. Other entities monitoring water temperatures in the Upper Klamath Basin include the US Forest Service, US Geological Survey, US Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality, and the Nature Conservancy (Figure 1).The Klamath Tribes, in collaboration with other public and private entities, have initiated an ambitious effort in the tributaries of UKL to increase instream flows, restore riparian corridors, increase complexity of instream and floodplain habitats, and improve water quality. A key component of that effort is the enforcement of the Klamath Tribes’ senior water rights to protect instream flows which began 2013. To inform the effective management and restoration of aquatic resources by the Klamath Tribes and its partners, there is a critical need to comprehensively analyze the water temperature data that has been collected over the past several decades.

Project Benefit    

Project Benefit: This project is considered a crucial step towards achieving the tribal restoration goal of reintroduction and restoration of the Klamath Tribes historic salmonid fisheries, including Chinook, Coho, lamprey, and steelhead species that have been extirpated. Specifically, the project will assess the suitability of tributaries in the Upper Klamath Basin to support anadromous fish and changes in water temperature related to climate change, habitat restoration, and water rights regulation.


Metric Completed Originally
Research and Monitoring
  Stream Miles Monitored 300.00

Funding Details

Report Total:$80,000

Project Map


Upper Klamath Lake Basin    

  • Worksite Identifier: Upper Klamath Lake Basin
  • Start Date: 12/17/2020
  • End Date: 12/31/2021
Area Description
Upper Klamath Lake watershed

Location Information

  • Basin: Klamath
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Oregon
  • Recovery Domain:
  • Latitude: 42.5189180222
  • Longitude: -121.38153076171636


  • Southern Oregon / Northern California Coastal Chinook Salmon ESU




  • E.0 Salmonid Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation (RM&E)Y (Y/N)
    •      . . E.0.a RM&E Funding .00
    •      . . E.0.b
      Complement habitat restoration project
    •      . . E.0.c
      Project identified in a plan or watershed assessment.
    •      . . E.0.d.1 Number of Cooperating Organizations
    •      . . E.0.d.2
      Name Of Cooperating Organizations.
    •      . . E.0.e.1 Number of reports prepared
    •      . . E.0.e.2
      Name Of Report
    •      . . E.1 MonitoringY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . E.1.a Monitoring funding
      •      . . . . E.1.b.1 Stream Miles Monitored
      •      . . . . E.1.b.2 Acres of Watershed Area Monitored
      •      . . . . E.1.b.3 Square miles of water monitored (Square miles)
      •      . . . . E.1.c.8 Water quality monitoringY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . E.1.c.8.a # miles (to nearest 0.01 mile) of stream monitored for water quality
        •      . . . . E.1.d
          Name Of Comprehensive Monitoring Strategy/Program
      •      . . E.2 ResearchY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . E.2.a Research Funding
        •      . . . . E.2.b.1 Modeling and data analysisY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . E.2.b.1.a
            Key issues addressed by modeling and data analysis research