Sevenmile Creek

Your commitment helps restore one of the most important waterfowl areas of North America

Sevenmile Creek


National Fish and Wildlife FoundationLOCATION: Klamath River Basin, Oregon and Northern California
PROJECT RESULT: More than 1.2 billion gallons of water restored per year
PROJECT PARTNERS: Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
VERIFICATION: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation


The Klamath River Basin, covering more than 12,000 square miles in southern Oregon and northern California, in considered one the most important waterfowl areas in North America. It is home to six National Wildlife Refuges and supports more than 430 species of wildlife.

Extreme over allocation of water resources in the upper Klamath River Basin has resulted in inadequate stream flows and the degradation and/or loss of critical riparian and aquatic habitat.

The conflict between agricultural and ecological water needs in the basin remains one of the most significant environmental issues in the western United States. Sevenmile Creek is located upstream of the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and contains some of the best remaining stream habitat in the upper Klamath basin. The area is home to myriad significant species and serves as one of the most critical habitats for the endangered Lost River sucker, threatened bull trout, native redband rainbow trout and the sensitive Oregon spotted frog. Irrigation diversions within the watershed have partially or completely dewatered critical streams, while return flows are often too warm or nutrient laden to provide adequate habitat for listed and threatened species.

Historical water use in this area has led to the diversion of the entire flow from the upper reaches of Sevenmile Creek, resulting in the complete dewatering of two miles of the most critical, intact habitat in the stream system. This dewatering impedes fish access to several miles of upstream habitat located in the Winema National Forest, and prevents high quality, cold, clear water from flowing down the remaining 17 miles of Sevenmile Creek to the National Wildlife Refuge.

Since 2004, the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust has tested the results of improving flows in Sevenmile Creek. Keeping water in the stream has improved habitat and provided a critical migratory corridor for endangered and threatened species. Through habitat monitoring, there has been a demonstrated linkage between keeping water flow in stream and improvements to fish habitat. With increased flows, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has reported dramatic increases in the occurrence of redband trout.

Through the sale of Water Restoration Certificates® BEF will facilitate the implementation of a project that restores approximately 1.2 billion gallons of water per year to a critical and previously dewatered stream system. The transaction will be completed on a voluntary basis with the landowner. The property will continue to be operated as an active cattle ranch with dryland grazing helping preserve the local agricultural economy while still meeting the needs of endangered species.

Your investment will return substantial brand equity, significant public relations interest, and stakeholder support. Funds will restore water to critical river and wetland habitat and will generate credit for millions of gallons of water restored to the environment.