Recent Press Releases
WaterWatch of Oregon Statement Regarding Announcement of a Klamath Basin Water Agreement
March 5, 2014
WaterWatch encourages and supports the continued progress of negotiations between The Klamath Tribes and off-Project irrigators regarding upper basin water issues. However, it is clear that the amount of water demand reduction identified in the agreement announced today will provide only a fraction of the water necessary to achieve a sustainable level of farm and fisheries production in the severely over-allocated Klamath Basin.
Conservationists, Fishing Interests Respond to U.S. Treaty Recommendation for Columbia River
December 13, 2013
Northwest conservation groups and the fishing community response to the final recommendation issued by the Bonneville Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand the purposes of the Columbia Treaty to include ecosystem function. Treaty decisions will have far-reaching impacts on the region’s environment, economy, and culture.
Victory for Oregon’s Rivers in Court of Appeals Ruling on Cottage Grove Water Right December 11, 2013
The Court of Appeals handed down a victory for the state’s irreplaceable rivers and fish populations, with a ruling overturning the City of Cottage Grove’s municipal water right certificate. WaterWatch staff attorney Lisa Brown successfully argued the case, resulting in a precedent-setting decision that closes a harmful loophole, and affirms protections for salmon, steelhead, and other fish.
Conservationists and Fishing Community Support Inclusion of Ecosystem Function in Modernized Columbia River Treaty December 9, 2013
In response to Rep. Hastings’ Congressional hearing in Pasco, WA on the Columbia River Treaty, Northwest conservationists, fishing groups, and businesses encouraged the State Department to move forward with negotiations with Canada to modernize the Columbia River Treaty.
Statement on Introduction of Crooked River Collaborative Water Security Act of 2013 November 21, 2013
WaterWatch statement of support for the Crooked River Collaborative Water Security Act of 2013, a framework for improving water management in the Crooked River. The legislation is based on an agreement that Senators Merkley and Wyden facilitated among a broad coalition of stakeholders, including WaterWatch.
Lawsuit Filed Against Forest Service Permit for City of Bend Water Project November 14, 2013
Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch of Oregon filed a lawsuit today in the Oregon Federal District Court seeking an injunction to prevent the U.S. Forest Service from authorizing the City of Bend to begin construction of a new pipeline that will allow for greatly increased water withdrawals from Tumalo Creek.
Governor Signs Bill to Protect Salmon Habitat August 15, 2013
Anglers, landowners, outdoor recreation businesses, and river advocates celebrated yesterday as Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 838. The bill takes steps to protect salmon habitat throughout Oregon through reasonable reductions in levels of harmful suction dredge gold mining.
Recent Press Clips
Klamath Tribes And Ranchers Seek Water Solutions In New Agreement, OPB, March 5, 2014
WaterWatch warns the agreement doesn’t go far enough in limiting the amount of water that people will want to withdraw — water that others want to remain in streams to help fish and wildlife.
Groups seek to remove old dams on Evans Creek, Mail Tribune, March 2, 2014
Two of Oregon’s worst wild fish barriers could be removed from Evans Creek as early as the summer of 2015 under a WaterWatch-led plan to open as much as 70 miles of prime spawning habitat.
In My View: The city is the cause of its own mistakes, Bend Bulletin, January 25, 2014
Attorney and Central Oregon LandWatch board member Charlie Ringo argues that the City of Bend should follow the law and not spend substantial sums of money on water projects before it gets the necessary approvals.
Parties To Negoiate Future Of Bend’s Water, OPB, January 23, 2014
During a hearing on Thursday at U.S. District Court in Eugene, parties involved in a fight over the future of Bend’s water supply announced that they have agreed to enter settlement talks.
After the Flood, Earth Island Journal, Winter 2014
Dams across the United States are being decommissioned and rivers restored to their natural flow. As scientists are learning, tearing down the barriers is just the first step in returning a river to health.
Pipe opponents fire back in Bend surface water suit, Bend Bulletin, January 15, 2014
Environmental groups opposed to Bend’s proposed surface water improvement project argue the city is attempting “to create a crisis where there is none” in a response filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene Monday.
Cottage Grove considers appeal, Register-Guard, January 14, 2014
If the city moves forward and appeals to the Oregon Supreme Court, it will be fighting a ruling sought by the Portland advocacy group WaterWatch that limits the Cottage Grove municipal water system to drawing 2 million gallons of water per day from the Row River.
Water fallout in Upper Basin, Herald & News, January 7, 2014
Last week, the Klamath County tax collector’s office sent out refunds to 115,288 acres worth of county landowners who had their water shut off in 2013 after the Klamath Tribes and Klamath Project irrigators made calls for water.
Ruling affects Cottage Grove water, Register-Guard, December 22, 2013
The city must create a plan to reduce water wastage by the Cottage Grove municipal water system and its customers, and also develop a plan to protect threatened spring Chinook salmon on the Row River, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled.
U.S. sets stance for Columbia River bargaining, Associated Press, December 13, 2013
The United States has staked out its position for potential negotiations with Canada over a treaty governing hydropower and flood control on the Columbia River and seeks to keep more of the energy produced at dams.The final recommendations, sent by U.S. regulators to the State Department on Friday, also call for making ecosystem improvements a third primary purpose of the treaty — in addition to flood control and production of hydropower.
Wyden, Merkley intro Crooked River water bill, KTVZ, Nov. 21, 2013
Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined with Crooked River stakeholders Thursday to introduce the Crooked River Collaborative Water Security Act of 2013, which would provide a framework for improving the management of water in the Crooked River while creating opportunities for economic growth and new jobs in Central Oregon.
There’s a redd revival on the Rogue, Mail Tribune, Nov. 19, 2013
The removal of Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue River is doing what biologists hoped it would – creating more spawning opportunities for salmon.
Bend water project opponents go back to court, KTVZ, Nov. 14, 2013
Repeating a move that proved successful a year ago, Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch of Oregon filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court, seeking an injunction to again block the city of Bend’s Surface Water Improvement Project.
Instream solutions are a necessity for the Upper Deschutes, Bend Bulletin, Nov. 4, 2013
Following a major fish kill near Bend, WaterWatch’s Kimberley Priestly advocates for solutions to improve streamflows in the Upper Deschutes River.
A Record Year For Columbia River Fall Chinook, Northwest Public Radio, Sept. 11, 2013
Fall chinook have kept fish counters at Bonneville Dam busy. With several weeks left in the strongest part of this year’s run, numbers are already close to beating the previous record set 10 years ago.
For North Coast’s rivers, relying on luck is not a plan, San Francisco Chronicle Guest Opinion, Sept. 11, 2013
Rep. Jared Huffman argues for better water management for Klamath River salmon.
How the West Won its Water Back, 1859 Oregon’s Magazine, September/October 2013 Executive Director John DeVoe discusses WaterWatch’s history, ongoing work, and conservation victories.
Drought is causing duck die-off from disease: Klamath Basin marshes drying up, Associated Press, August 29, 2013
The drought that has forced irrigation shutoffs at cattle ranches in the upper Klamath Basin is also causing hardship for waterfowl on national wildlife refuges in the region.
Reverse effect: Wildfire smoke can cool rivers, Herald & News, August 27, 2013
As salmon enter West Coast rivers, a big wildfire season could lend an unexpected hand.
Trinity River flows to be released, Eureka Times-Standard, August 22, 2013
Trinity River water will be released to protect Klamath River salmon after a federal judge lifted his order halting the flows.
The Jefferson Exchange: Klamath Task Force, Jefferson Public Radio, August 22, 2013
WaterWatch’s Jim McCarthy joined JPR’s Jefferson Exchange to discuss Klamath water issues.
Klamath River may be an option to improve salmon conditions, Herald & News, August 14, 2013
With uncertainty shrouding the supply of emergency water from the Trinity River, additional focus turns to the mainstem Klamath River — the other water source usable to help prevent a fish kill.
Judge halts Klamath River flows, for now; order on salmon releases in effect through Friday, Times-Standard, August 14, 2013
A U.S. District Court judge in Fresno halted water releases meant to prevent a fish kill on the lower Klamath River on Tuesday.
Clackamas Watershed Collects Pollutants And Drinking Water, OPB, August 12, 2013
WaterWatch’s John DeVoe talks with OPB about the risks to struggling fish runs in the Clackamas River if local municipalities go forward with a planned expansion of water withdrawals.
Big Bite, Big Fight, Mail Tribune, July 26, 2013
Thanks in large part to Rogue River dam removals, cutthroat trout are staging an astounding rebound in the upper Rogue – and anglers are thrilled.
Watershed warning delivered, Register-Guard, July 27, 2013
WaterWatch’s John DeVoe discusses water and climate change in the wake of a scientific report on possible Oregon impacts: “Oregon water is managed under a system of rules that was largely designed to fit a different era. To meet the challenge of climate change we’re going to have to change the system.”
Domestic wells affected by irrigators, Herald & News, July 23, 2013
The last decade of unsustainable groundwater pumping in the Klamath Basin – adopted in place of much-needed permanent water demand reduction – is taking a toll on non-agricultural wells.
Fish vs. Farmers In Conflict Over Klamath River, San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2013
There may not be enough cold water in the Klamath River’s waterways to keep huge numbers of soon-to-be spawning salmon alive, according to government regulators and fishery biologists.
Klamath Basin Task Force Will Be Coordinated By Governor’s Office, OPB, July 8, 2013
Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation joined Gov. John Kitzhaber Monday to announce the creation of a task force to work on long term solutions to water and power issues in the Klamath River Basin. WaterWatch has been invited to join the group.
State legislature approves handing out fewer suction dredge mining permits, Statesman Journal, July 8, 2013
A bill that would scale back the number of suction dredge mining permits issued in Oregon has passed the House and Senate and heads to the desk of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
Key wildlife refuge hit hard in Klamath Basin’s water wars, Oregonian, July 7, 2013
The 54,000-acre Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge at the Oregon-California border hasn’t had water delivered since March. The canals that supply it are empty. And the marshes for waterfowl traveling the Pacific Flyway have largely dried up, marking the earliest dry date in 70 years.
Water Commission Approves Temporary Rules For Klamath Water Use OPB, July 1, 2013
The Oregon Water Resources Commission has approved temporary rules that prioritize drinking water for people and cattle in the Klamath Basin.
Senate Committee Hearing: Power rates may drop for irrigators, Herald & News, June 21, 2013
Solving water crises in the Klamath Basin may need more time, more inclusion and a lower price tag.
Senator: Price tag too high on Klamath Basin deals, Associated Press, June 21, 2013
Drought has again brought the water struggles of the high-desert Klamath Basin to national attention, but an Oregon senator says Congress won’t pony up the dollars many in the region sought to help reduce tensions and economic damage during dry spells.
Klamath Tribes and federal government put out historic call for water rights in drought-stricken Klamath Basin, Oregonian, June 10, 2013
The Klamath Tribes and the federal government called their water rights in southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin for the first time Monday, likely cutting off irrigation water to hundreds of cattle ranchers and farmers in the upper basin this summer.
Klamath Basin water plan won’t harm protected fish, federal scientists say, Associated Press, June 3, 2013
A new plan for balancing scarce water in the Klamath Basin between fish and farms won’t harm salmon or other fish protected by the Endangered Species Act, federal scientists said Monday.
Op-Ed: What are the facts about the KBRA, dam removal and tribal rights?, Times-Standard, May 30, 2013
Yurok/Hoopa tribal member Dania Rose Colegrove writes in favor of Klamath dam removal, but against giving up tribal water rights.
Civil Suit Demands Changes At Evans Creek Dam, Mail Tribune, April 18, 2013
WaterWatch has filed a federal suit against the owners of a defunct Evans Creek irrigation dam near Rogue River, arguing that the dam must be fixed or removed to allow safe passage of protected coho salmon.
Legal Hook, Mail Tribune, April 14, 2013
Some 157 miles of the Rogue River flows freely again because of WaterWatch’s Bob Hunter.
Oregon lawmakers consider moratorium on motorized mining, Oregonian, April 14, 2013
Moratorium would ban motorized mining on the full length of rivers and creeks that contain habitat for ocean-traveling salmon and bull trout.
Conservation groups to file lawsuit over Klamath River water flow, Associated Press, April 4, 2013
WaterWatch and Oregon Wild warned federal agencies Thursday they plan to sue to get more water devoted to protected salmon in the Klamath River.
Bill would add to point of diversion requirements, Capital Press, March 5, 2013
WaterWatch bill to protect fish and streams from a harmful regulatory loophole gets committee hearing.
Protecting Oregon’s rivers, Register Guard, March 4, 2013
The Register Guard editorializes in support of SB 401, a bill expanding the number of Oregon river segments protected by the State Scenic Waterways Act.
Evans Creek dams are on state’s list, Mail Tribune, March 4, 2013
Rogue Basin’s Wimer, Fielder dams cited as two of top ten impediments to fish in state.
County withdraws from KBRA, Herald & News, Feb. 26, 2013
Klamath County Commissioners plan to remove themselves and the county from the moribund Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
Scenic rivers run through it, Mail Tribune, Feb. 22, 2013
The Mail Tribune Editorial Board argues in support of SB 401, a bill that would add segments of the Rogue, South Umpqua, Illinois, and other rivers to the Scenic Waterways list, calling proposal “a modest step to protect Oregon’s most precious and vulnerable waterways.”
Water proponents split over annual fee proposal, Capital Press, February 21, 2013
Sens. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland, and Bill Hansell, R-Pendleton, are lining up on opposite sides of SB217, a bill to establish a water right management fee.
Steve Duin: Roll on, Oregon House Republicans, roll on, Oregonian, Feb. 20, 2013
A plan to divert Columbia River water for Eastern Oregon farmland misses the complex balancing act behind the river’s management for other uses.
Senate Bill Would Expand Protections for Oregon’s Rivers, KLCC, Feb, 20, 2013
A bill introduced in the legislature by Senator Alan Bates of southern Oregon would expand protections for the state’s rivers. It has the support of environmentalists and recreationalists.
Kitzhaber, farmers, environmentalists sign deal to add more water for Umatilla Basin irrigation, Oregonian, Feb. 15, 2013
Gov. John Kitzhaber and a task force of farmers, environmentalists and government regulators agreed Friday to move forward on a short-list of projects that could provide more irrigation water for the water-short Umatilla Basin.
Leonard Masten: In Klamath, Politics Defeat Science and Common Sense, Herald & News, Feb. 3, 2013
Recent claims of retribution by government scientists come as no surprise. The Klamath Bureau of Reclamation has used bad science in the past.
2013 could be a watershed year for water in Oregon, Capitol Press, Jan. 8, 2013
Lawmakers will gather in Salem Jan. 14 to kick off the 2013 Oregon Legislature with an eye on water.