RESTORING THE MARSH
HIGH NOON IN THE KLAMATH BASIN
By KATHIE DURBIN
Before the work of humans began transforming the Upper Klamath Basin 90 years ago, it was a marsh world. Geese and ducks, American avocets and tundra swans traveling the Pacific Flyway stopped to rest and feed on its 185,000 acres of shallow lakes and freshwater marshes. In the fall, at the peak of migration, more than 6 million birds converged where the peak of the Southern Oregon Cascades give way to this broad lake basin.
Below the body of water now known as Upper Klamath Lake, the indigenous people harvested salmon returned from the Pacific Ocean. Frum the lakes of the basin they caught immense suckers, fish that provided their major source of protein. They shared this natural bounty with Canada geese and mallard, bald eagles and peregrine falcons, American white pelicans and double-crested red cormorants, grebes and loons, ospreys and great blue herons.