Recent Press Releases
Agreement Reached to Protect Upper Deschutes River, October 28, 2016
WaterWatch, the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and several irrigation districts today reached an interim agreement to temporarily boost flows in the Upper Deschutes River to reduce harm to the Oregon spotted frog, a threatened species protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. The deal also requires the Bureau of Reclamation and the water districts to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a long-term plan on a set timeline that will further reduce harm to the frogs.
Statement Regarding Ongoing Upper Deschutes River Lawsuit, March 24, 2016
U.S. District Court Judge Aiken indicated during a March 22 hearing that she would deny WaterWatch of Oregon and Center for Biological Diversity’s request for immediate changes to flows in the Upper Deschutes River to prevent ongoing harm to the threatened Oregon Spotted Frog as well as other wildlife and fish. The groups have now asked the judge to move the case forward with a schedule for mediation and ultimately, for trial.
WaterWatch Welcomes Advance of Klamath Dam Removal, February 2, 2016
WaterWatch praised Oregon and California’s elected leaders and the Obama Administration for prioritizing the agreement to remove the four lower Klamath River dams. The long delayed restoration effort will no longer be held hostage to a failed water agreement in Congress.
WaterWatch Applauds Designation of Two New State Scenic Waterways, January 27, 2016
Statement welcoming Governor Kate Brown’s announcement designating portions of the Chetco and Molalla rivers as State Scenic Waterways after a lengthy process with considerable public input and support. The two iconic waterways are the first designated under the Act since 1988.
Lawsuit Filed to Stop Harm to Deschutes River, January 11, 2016
WaterWatch filed suit in federal district court against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and several irrigation districts over harm caused by their water use operations in the Upper Deschutes River. Managing the Upper Deschutes like an irrigation ditch rather than a river has caused significant damage to the river’s health, including harm to the Oregon spotted frog, a threatened species under federal law.
Recent Press Clips
Rescue effort aims to save stranded Deschutes River fish, Bulletin, October 14, 2016
Volunteers and contractors spent part of this week shocking, netting and moving stranded fish from dry channels of the Upper Deschutes River near Bend in what’s become an annual fish rescue.
Klamath Irrigators Should Not Have Gotten $32M From Federal Agency: Report, OPB, October 13, 2016
A new audit finds that Klamath irrigators should not have received millions of dollars in taxpayer money intended to benefit fish and wildlife.
Editorial: Short on aquifer information, Baker City Herald, September 21, 2016
In the wake of revelations about widespread mismanagement of groundwater, the Baker City Herald calls for increased funding for groundwater studies and fees on water users to help pay for the work.
Editorial: Water, water everywhere, Register-Guard, September 14, 2016
The massive amount of water being pumped from Oregon’s underground reservoirs, much of it for agricultural uses in Eastern Oregon, with little oversight or control, should set off enough alarm bells to wake the dead.
Editorial: State regulators must stop approving wells when water levels are unknown, Oregonian, September 10, 2016
The Oregonian’s editorial board says that the state’s practice of approving wells in untested basins must stop. And state lawmakers must act quickly to focus on the crisis they’ve failed to address for years.
Grover: Eastern Oregon is running out of water, East Oregonian, September 9, 2016
Farmer and writer Dorys Grover argues that aquifers are running out of water because Oregon has and is giving away its underground water supply to large city populations, farmers and livestock owners. There is a critical need for better water management, and leadership from the state legislature.
Special Report: Draining Oregon, Oregonian, August 26, 2016
In-depth analysis of state water management found farmers in a quarter of eastern Oregon, the driest part of the state, are allowed to pump more underground water each year than rains deposit. The water giveaway threatens economic chaos and hurts fish and wildlife.
Groups seek settlement talks in spotted frog case, Bulletin, March 24, 2016
WaterWatch and Center for Biological Diversity, which are suing to change water management practices in the Upper Deschutes River, are asking a federal judge to set dates for both sides to meet out of court to see whether they can come closer to settling the matter without a trial.
Judge To Hear Water Case For Upper Deschutes, OPB, March 20, 2016
A federal judge in Eugene will hear a case on March 22 about water management in the Upper Deschutes River.
Doug La Placa: It’s time to save the Upper Deschutes, Bulletin, March 19, 2016
We know we don’t have to keep living with the dire condition of the Upper Deschutes River and the ongoing harm the current water management causes to our local economy. If we know we can do better, we should. And we should do it now.
Craig Lacy: Just Add Water, Source Weekly, March 16, 2016
After decades of failed “collaborative” efforts to restore flows in the Upper Deschutes, it’s no wonder that lawsuits have been filed. If we want to have a healthy river that supports fish and wildlife and serves everyone, not just irrigation districts, it’s time to act now before it’s too late.
WaterWatch Guest Opinion: Senators put pork before Klamath Basin water, Register-Guard, February 27, 2016
WaterWatch calls on Oregon Senators Merkley and Wyden to drop a legislative rider authorizing taxpayer-funded sweetheart deals that would dramatically reduce water pumping costs for irrigators in a basin plagued by runaway water use.
On the Klamath, a surprising win for river advocates, High Country News, February 5, 2016
Dam removals on the Oregon-California border move forward without expensive and lopsided water deals for irrigators.
Editorial: WaterWatch has a valid point about the Deschutes, Bulletin, January 31, 2016
In the matter of the lawsuit filed over the Oregon spotted frog, WaterWatch has a point: Why hasn’t there been more progress on Upper Deschutes River flows?