Earth Observatory HomeNASAEarth Observatory HomeData and ImagesFeaturesNewsReferenceMissionsExperimentsSearch
NASA's Earth Observatory
 Earth Observatory Navigation Bar
  New Images

Klamath Basin, California-Oregon
Klamath Basin, California-Oregon Click here to view full image (602 kb)

The Klamath Basin, on the California-Oregon border, has recently been in the news because of water shortages due to the ongoing drought in the United States' Pacific Northwest. Diverse interest groups have come into conflict over the limited availability of Klamath Project water this year. In order to protect endangered Sucker Fish and threatened Coho Salmon in Upper Klamath Lake, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation cut off the flow of irrigation water to farmers in the project in April 2001. This action was supported by environmental groups, as well as commercial fisherman and Indian tribes that depend on Chinook Salmon. However, it also meant devastating losses for the farmers who require irrigation water from the Klamath Project, and potential adverse effects on wetland birds that rely on the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake marshes. Protests and civil disobedience by local farmers have focused on the project headgates at the south end of Upper Klamath Lake in the town of Klamath Falls. Citing a minor rise in the waters in Upper Klamath Lake, the Department of the Interior announced on July 25, 2001, that some water would be released to farmers.

This image (STS058-85-74) shows the Klamath Basin in October 1993, as photographed by astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle. This year featured relatively normal conditions, although it followed immediately after a series of drought years. The larger square areas represent management units on the wildlife refuges; darker areas in the units are flooded. The smaller square areas are fields of irrigated agriculture.

Image provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

Back to: Newsroom

Also see
Visible Earth

Latest Images
View Images Index

Lava Plateaus in Argentina
  Lava Plateaus in Argentina

Fires in California, Nevada, and Oregon
  Fires in California, Nevada, and Oregon

A CLAMS-Eye View of Earth
  A CLAMS-Eye View of Earth

Subscribe to the Earth Observatory
About the Earth Observatory
Please send comments or questions to:
Responsible NASA official: Yoram Kaufman

The above content is a copy of the original posting of this article as it appeared on
Contact information regarding its posting in this archive is below:
Send questions or comments about this web page to the NASA Responsible Official at
Curator: Earth Sciences Web Team
Notices: Web Accessibility and Policy Notices, NASA Web Privacy Policy