Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge Sump 1B is filling with water

DU Regional Biologist Amelia Raquel stands in a field of smartweed at Sump 1B in the Tule Lake Wildlife Refuge.

Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Tule Lake Irrigation District (TID) opened the canal between Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge (TLNWR) Sump 1A and 1B on Sept. 25, allowing Sump 1B to begin refilling.

“This will hopefully have at least two benefits, said DU Regional Biologist Amelia Raquel. “One is getting water on 1B and allowing birds access to food, and two to begin at least a partial drawdown of Sump 1A to help compact the soil. A drawdown at this point in the season will do little to nothing for vegetation growth in Sump 1A for this year, but could help with drying out and consolidating some of those areas that are severely sedimented and set up conditions for submerged aquatic plants to flourish next year.”

Raquel said because 1A and 1B are connected, the water level will eventually balance out between the two areas, which may take anywhere from two to four weeks.

TLNWR, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, the Tule Lake Irrigation District (TID) and Bureau of Reclamation worked to secure funding to conduct the drawdown on Sump 1B this summer. The drawdown resulted in a great response of smartweed and goosefoot, both of which are important waterfowl foods, now accessible with water flowing into the unit.

Since 2015, Ducks Unlimited has spent over $800,000, benefitting more than 6,500 acres in the Klamath Basin, improving habitat that benefits waterfowl, wildlife and people.