February 18, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust and Trout Unlimited announce merger, award of $7.6M from NRCS to support partnerships with agriculture in upper Klamath Basin
Klamath Falls, Ore.The Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust and Trout Unlimited announced today that they have merged, and have been awarded $7.6M through the Natural Resource Conservation Services Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to improve water quality and flows, irrigation efficiency, and drought resilience in the upper Klamath Basin through partnerships with agriculture.
Trout Unlimited (TU) is the nations oldest and largest organization dedicated to conserving and restoring trout and salmon and their habitat. The Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust (KBRT) is the leading organization working on riparian and instream habitat restoration in the upper Klamath River Basin, through partnerships with farmers, ranchers, landowners, and resource agencies.
Chrysten Lambert, formerly of KBRT and now Director of TUs Oregon Water Project, said, The staff and directors of the KBRT are excited to join forces with Americas pre-eminent cold water fishery conservation group, Trout Unlimited. Over the last decade, KBRT has experienced phenomenal success in building and leveraging partnerships with ranches and farms as well as private landowners and agencies to address critical water needs for both the environment and agriculture in the Upper Klamath Basin. This merger will better enable KBRT to sustain and expand this vital work, and will help TU achieve its fishery conservation goals in the third most productive watershed for salmon and steelhead on the West Coast.
Lambert added that TU and KBRT share a strong commitment to working cooperatively with key stakeholders such as farmers and ranchers on water use and management and habitat restoration issues and will remain fully committed to all present KBRT partnerships. TU will maintain the current KBRT office in Klamath Falls, located at 700 Main Street.
Lambert said the RCPP grant award is a tribute to the commitment of agricultural interests in the Upper Klamath Basin to cooperative solutions that both improve water security for irrigators and restore or improve habitat for native fish and wildlife, including the iconic fishes of the Klamath River.
More than 83% of the grant funds will be contracted directly to agricultural producers by NRCS to support voluntary projects that (1) improve water quality in the Upper Klamath Basin; (2) increase water quantity flowing into Upper Klamath Lake and into the mainstem Klamath River; (3) increase resilience of the landscape and agricultural producers to drought and climate change; and (4) improve instream, wetland, and riparian habitat for listed species, including endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers, and threatened bull trout.
Irrigators in the Upper Klamath Basin have been hit hard by recent drought, and this program will prioritize projects that can improve drought resilience. Under this funding, TU will work together with other conservation partners in the RCPP project, including The Nature Conservancy, the Klamath Watershed Partnership, and the Klamath Lake Land Trust, to initiate and complete projects across the Upper Klamath Basin.
Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at www.tu.org.