Klamath Tribal Water Rights

The lack of indigenous water rights impacts the ecosystem within the Klamath Basin. There are two species of fish existing only in the Upper Klamath Basin which used to have populations in the tens of millions. However, these two species, the C’waam and Koptu, have significantly reduced in size to spawning populations less than 45,000 due to poor water management and reckless agricultural methods. Thus, it has caused the Upper Klamath Tribal diets to be significantly impacted and ceremonial practices to be reduced to two catches a year. 

Fish swim in clear water just above rocks.
Lost River suckers congregating to spawn on Sucker Springs in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon.
Brian Hayes / USGS

The best way to protect these unique species and the Klamath tribe’s cultural and spiritual identity and economic self-sufficiency is to restore water rights and bring back the inherent value to the water for the Klamath Tribes who have been the protectors of these fish species for hundreds of years. 

Our goal is to work towards fully restoring Klamath Tribes’ treaty rights to the natural resources on their ancestral lands.