by John C. Boyle
While it was generally known that
In 1919 survey parties were organized and soundings taken about 400 feet
apart. A triangulations system was established along the shoreline on which two
transits were located on opposite sides of the lake to observe the location of a
boat equipped with a sounding weight. The weight was dropped every two minutes
and the azimuth, vertical angle and depth were recorded.
Soundings were taken only during good weather without wind, and
elevation of the lake surface was taken from a fixed gauge established by the
From the field records, it was possible to plot a contour map of the
lake bottom with contour intervals at one foot.
This map made it possible to determine the navigation channels and log
ponds, which would be affected with the lake drawn down to elevation 4137. The
depth of water required for logging was established at five feet so excavation
to lake bottom elevation 4132 for log ponds was considered necessary.
The mean elevation of the lake bottom including
The zones of deeper depths showed that the deep water was along the west
shore of the lake from above Eagle Ridge to below Squaw Point. For a length of
about 8 miles and an aver- age width of three-quarters of a mile the water is
generally 15 to 30 feet deep with a low spot of 40 feet.
Downstream from this area and also on the west side of the lake, a zone
from Skillet Point to about 5 miles south of the lower end of Little Wocus Marsh
had an average width of 800 feet. This zone was generally 15 to 20 feet deep
with a low spot of 25 feet.
These depressions have resulted from shore currents caused from
prevailing winds and by upward currents created by springs.
The mean depth of water in
volume of water in the lake at elevation 4137 feet was computed at 463,000
acre-feet (dead storage). The volume of the lake with open water surface at
4143.3 feet was computed at 880,000 acre feet (live storage 417,000 acre feet).
Water covering swamp and overflowed land would add about 132,000 acre feet to
live storage making a total of 549,000 acre feet.
At elevation 4143.3 feet, the lake shoreline was about 130 miles. At the lower elevation of 4140 feet, the lake shoreline was about l00 miles.
the log ponds, log canals and navigation channels, a suction dredger was built
and began operating in May 1923. The dredge was electrically operated through a
2300 Volt waterproof cable, supported on floats. The barge supporting the
equipment was 24 feet by 60 feet by 61/2 feet and supported a 12-inch pump with
a 12-inch suction pipe, and a cutter head. The pump had a 14-inch discharge line
about 2000 feet long supported on 128 pontoons.
important navigation channels were along the Shippington waterfront and across
the lake east to west to a channel along the north bank of Little Wocus Marsh.
difficult to obtain dumping ground around the shore of the lake, so about
500,000 yards of excavated materials were dumped into the center of the lake
midway between Shippington and Little Wocus Marsh forming an island.
taken in 1925 and 1926 indicated that this east-west channel across the lake had
been largely filled in. The channel along Shippington waterfront showed very
little fill-in. Complaints were filed in 1930 against the depositing of material
in the middle of the lake so suction dredge operations were discontinued on
navigation channels. While the complaints were being answered, tests were made
on movement of wind, water and lake bottom materials.
From observations made during 1930-1932:
Duration in percent of windy days
North and Northwest. 71.7
A cross section of the lake was taken and used to obtain the maximum,
minimum and mean velocities of the water outflow of the lake for the period of
years 1906 to 1931.
mean monthly velocity, feet per minute- 4.76
mean monthly velocity, feet per minute- 1.51
seasonal velocity, feet per minute- 2.97
The change in the lake bottom at the lower end of
filling of the lower end of the lake has accounted for only 4% of the sediment
conveyed to the outlet area from above.
Samples of water taken at various times indicated an average sediment
content of about 2000 parts per million by volume of water.
The extent to which the lower end of the lake has been filled in by
diatomaceous sediment in the past was not known. A boring was made on the
McCormick mud flat in 1931. This boring extended 27 feet into but not through
the diatomaceous deposit.
The depth of 27 feet of deposit would require 650 years to build up at
the mean annual rate of filling of one-half inch per year calculated for the
period 1905 to 1931.
In 1919 there were six principal timber interests operating on the Upper
Klamath, five of whom were getting most of their logs from the west side of the
lake. The logs were dumped into canals or landings bordering the lake.
The problems were mostly to protect these properties from low water by
deepening log canals, log ponds and navigation channels.
Weyerhaeuser Lumber Company owned about 5500 acres of land including an
area of marshland all contiguous to the west side of the lake. It had plans to
reclaim swamp land for a mill site and contemplated that the Great Northern
Railroad would build the west side of the lake to serve its operations.
In 1927 and 1928, when the Great Northern and Southern Pacific railroads
agreed to a joint use from the Upper Klamath Marsh to
Lumber Company's mill was built on the southwest corner of Algoma Marsh on the
east side of
Because of the deposit of sediment from logs dumped into the pond, and
to allow logs to be brought in from the lake through the culvert, the lumber
company insisted that the level of
The log pond was deepened but the culvert remained unchanged, as logs no
longer came from
was surrounded by a dike, which protected the lumber yard and mill from over-
flow from the lake.
Lumber Company was located on the northeast end of
However, the mill and surroundings needed protection against high water and the log pond needed deepening to float logs at low water. By building a piling and timber bulkhead in the lake, an additional area was provided for railroad track and storage of logs and the area within the bulkhead was filled with dredged material from the lake bottom and from the high ground east of the mill. The material in the bottom of the log pond was mostly hardpan and was very difficult to dredge.
The Pelican Bay Lumber Company was the largest lumber operation in the
area during the early '20s. It was very much opposed to
The mill, lumber yard and log ponds were located on a section of
reclaimed marshland with a lake frontage of about 2000 feet and north of the
Shippington waterfront. Drainage water from hills to the east would not flow by
gravity into the lake when the lake was at maximum elevation, so this water
would flood the lumber yards and areas around the mill and buildings. Water
supply for boilers and fire protection was taken through a canal from the lake
and became filled with sediment and mud, thus requiring treatment. The logging
canal, pond area and log slip were dredged out and lowered. Sewage disposal was
In 1924, a
dry year, the lumber company was forced to shut down, which involved payment of
time a final agreement was made, the lumber company moved its logging operation
to the vicinity of
dredging of log ponds along the waterfront, enough "sinkers" or logs
on the lake bottom were salvaged to repay considerable of the costs.
Lumber and Box Company (formerly Klamath Manufacturing Co.) had been in
operation many years before lake regulation was proposed. It was located on
marsh property with a lake front of about one-half mile. Most of the area on
which the operation was located was filled with bark, slabs and sawdust so the
mill and box factory had to be founded on piling.
necessary to deepen the log pond, log canal and log slip. Also proper drainage
from higher areas above the plant was provided. This company purchased logs from
various contractors around the lake and owned launches and towing equipment
itself, so the company was involved with navigation of the lake until the timber
supply around the lake was exhausted. It continued to operate by obtaining logs
by rail from elsewhere.
Hunter-Walker-Hovey Sawmill was located north of and adjoining the Pelican Bay
Lumber Co. mill on about 100 acres of swampland at a surface elevation of about
The usual work of excavating the log pond, and building up the lakeshore
dike was done. The log pond was all within the lake proper near shallow areas
and these needed to be dredged to float logs.
serious problem was to locate a place to dump the dredged material. The lumber
company, however, agreed that dredged material could be deposited on its lands.
As a result, the lumber company had an excellent log pond on a navigation
channel and all of its land filled to an elevation above the high water level of
500,000 yards of dredged material was permanently removed from the lake bottom.
separate ownership on the
general policy in obtaining a release from any damage, which might occur from
lake regulation, was:
Purchase a complete
Purchase the property.
Perform work to prevent
Execute agreements to
protect the property.
Lease the property pending
proof of damage.
A combination of two or more of these methods had to be followed in many
cases. The most affected properties were swampland, reclaimed or not, which were
subject to overflow under natural fluctuations of the lake. Some of the most
important lands involved 'in these fluctuations are mentioned briefly below.
The largest swampland developments were those of the McCormack family.
The areas in Wilson Marsh, Little Wocus Marsh, Caledonia Marsh and Big Wocus
Marsh were included with some higher land and totaled over 10,000 acres. About
7500 acres of this land was classified as swamp and overflowed land with an
average surface elevation of 4140 feet. This was 3.3 feet below the maximum lake
elevation of 4143.3 and 3 feet above the minimum lake elevation of 4137 feet.
During 1910, dikes had been
constructed along the shoreline of the lake to reclaim most of those areas, but
the common mistake of constructing these dikes too close to the lakeshore was
made. Not only were the dikes subject to erosion from wind action, but also
material taken from the lake for building the dike created a deep channel, which
in turn became deeper as more material was needed to keep the dikes at maximum
level. This excavated channel greatly increased the danger to the dike. The only
remedies were to move the dike at least 100 feet into the land and away from the
lakeshore or to provide riprap of some kind on the lake face of the dike. Either
course of action would be expensive.
When the temporary crib dam was
built at the head of
The operations under this agreement included dike maintenance, pumping for irrigation and drainage and damages caused by dike breaks or overflows.
Eagle Ridge property was made up of 600 acres of diked marshland and 600
acres of timberland and included a summer resort on the northern end of a ridge,
which extended two miles into the
W. H. Gaddes had purchased it from Dan and John Griffith who had built a tavern,
surrounding buildings and boat landing about 1909, and used it as a summer
resort for several years.
In the spring of 1921, Gaddes leased 220 acres of marshland for the growing of
mint. This venture failed and the failure was blamed on the lake regulation and
ended in a suit for damages.
to 1923, the tavern was operated by Mrs. Weston and Mrs. Kilbourne. The Eagle
Ridge Hotel Company was organized and it contracted to purchase the property
from Gaddes. In 1925 it was leased to the Eagle Ridge Rod and Gun Club made up
The people who live there and the people who come and go have never
universally agreed on whether high water or low water in the
About 1909, regular mail service was established between
At times when the
Meadows Drainage District was organized about 1921 and issued bonds to further
finance the reclamation. One of the most difficult problems was to dispose of
surface runoff, which naturally flowed onto the land from the north and west.
During heavy spring runoff water from the Upper Fort Klamath basin would
accumulate behind the dikes sufficient in depth to run over the dikes from the
Prolonged negotiations and court actions resulted in easements and releases
ridge along the lake shore of the swampland had a general elevation of 4140
feet, so the lowest parts of the swamp areas were between the river banks and
the lake shore.
The Indians on the reservation cut hay and pastured livestock during the
summer along the high ground. They had received allotments of variable acreage
and built homes above the natural highwater of the
The matter of lake regulation was discussed with the Indian agent,
members of the Tribal Council and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which resulted
in a contract on
The 1920 contract provided specifications for the dikes to be built on
the lake shore. Having profited from the experience of others who had built
dikes, work was not started until the specifications were changed and a 100-foot
berm left on the lake side of the dike. In June 1921, work was under contract
with the Klamath Lake Diking Company, Saw Mill Engineering and Construction
Company, and J. Frank Adams. Some work was done on the river side dikes with
teams and scrapers. By the latter part of 1922, 231/2 miles of dikes and 51/2
miles of drains had been completed. Additional work on the dikes was done later
where needed and pumping plants were installed for drainage and irrigation.
lease period, farming operations were not too successful but the land was
improved with each year's use. The allottees wanted to sell their reclaimed land
and more allotments were requested for the tribal lands. At the end of the lease
period, nearly all of the tribal lands had been allotted. The only way to
recover reclamation costs was to purchase the lands and have a longer period to
make them more productive. Units No.3 and No.4 were never diked. It was agreed
that diking cost would far exceed the value of these lands, so they were
appraised and a payment made to the
marshlands consist of about 1300 acres effectively cut off from
Water to and from Upper Klamath served the land through two culverts, one under the S. P. track at Algoma log pond, and one under S. P. track at Barkley Springs. Also there was the Melhase canal from the Algoma log pond extending east about a mile, used for irrigation and drainage. Changes were made to offset lake regulations by providing pumps and stronger dikes near the railroad culverts.
1940, however, a break along the north side of the Melhase canal flooded the
entire area including State Highway 97. Suits were filed by 14 different
parties, including the State Highway Commission, against Southern Pacific
Railroad, Algoma Lumber Co. and Copco. Releases had been signed on 1929 to
Copco, but the problem was so involved that additional releases had to be
obtained before the suits were dismissed.
For many years, A. Wickstrom operated two steamboats on
from the west side of the lake was discontinued and better sand was obtained
from other sources, his activities decreased and his equipment was gradually
removed from the lake.
John Linman, formerly associated with A. Wickstrom, owned two
and Wasp, and a pile
driver, boomsticks and other equipment, which was needed for towing of logs and
low-water years of 1924 and 1926, Linman found it difficult to operate without
heavy losses. As business was rapidly diminishing, he ceased operations in 1931.
A clam shell dredge owned by the Geary interests and operated under the
name of Klamath Lake Diking Co. was a very useful piece of equipment for
building dikes and drains in the reclamation of swampland areas. It was obtained
from the Southern Pacific Railroad after completion of the railroad embankment
equipment consisted of Stockton Iron Works duplex slide-drive engine, two 2-yard
buckets, a spud engine and accessories. The barge was 50 feet by 120 feet with a
110-foot boom back-guyed to an A-frame. Also there were two small barges, one
large oil barge, a cook-house, a small launch, and tools and repair parts. This
dredger did most of the lakeshore diking on the Indian lands at the
Frank Adams owned and operated a dipper dredge with which he attempted
a marsh area on the east side
was unpredictable. In the spring breakup, with a heavy wind, it would take with
it logs, piling, dolphins, docks and even small islands of tules. It was known
to shingle over itself to a depth of 10 to 20 feet. During extremely cold
winters, ice would freeze to a thickness of 12 to 18 inches creating an
unmeasurable destructive force when it started to move with a wind behind it.
dredge was used on the
always believed by Copco that had it not proceeded with the regulation of the
lake under sanction of the United States, it would have become necessary for the
U. S. Government to do substantially the same work undertaken by the Company in
order to protect the interests of the Klamath Reclamation Project and the
interests of the Company at its power developments below Keno.
Klamath Engineering Division was organized to facilitate the construction of
Link River Dam, and all other necessary construction as well as the settlement
of claims and the keeping of accurate accounting records. It was expected that
the bulk of the problems and expenditures would be confined to
remarked by competent legal authority that possibly nowhere had there been
presented more complex problems than the development of storage and regulation
and control of
The U. S. Government through its several branches such as the
Reclamation Service, Indian Service, Forest Service, and Biological Service, had
a very definite interest in and measure of control over the lake. Also, because
it was navigable, the War Department for a while believed that it had a measure
of jurisdiction over it. Because of the water rights involved and located within
their boundaries, the States of Oregon and
1935 a report summarized all expenditures under the contract. The contract had
been in effect for 18 years, over one-third of its term, and had passed through
some exhaustive procedures. It was the conclusion of Copco and Copco's attorneys
that all requirements had been fulfilled and the lake had gradually been
regulated to the full range of 6.3 feet.
total costs were about $2,900,000 from which would be deducted salvage, sale of
lands, equipment, etc. Based on total potential hydroelectric production
capacity available in the river below Keno, these costs would be well justified.
value could be placed on the benefits to riparian owners around the
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