Recent Press Releases
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.
WaterWatch of Oregon Issues Warning to Protect Deschutes River, August 13, 2015
WaterWatch announced its intention to challenge the Central Oregon Irrigation District, North Unit Irrigation District, Tumalo Irrigation District, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over harm caused by their water use operations in the Upper Deschutes River. The conservationists allege that managing the Deschutes more like an irrigation ditch than a river has caused significant damage to river health. The challenge deals specifically with the stretch of the Deschutes between Wickiup Reservoir and the City of Bend.
Top Priority Dam Removal Nears Completion in Rogue River Basin, August 10, 2015
This week, work crews will start demolition work on Fielder Dam on Evans Creek that will restore access for native fish on a key spawning tributary of the Rogue River. Earlier, workers completed demolition on Wimer Dam, several miles upstream of Fielder Dam.
Columbia River Treaty: State Department to Include Ecosystem Function in Negotiating Position, June 4, 2015
Northwest conservation groups and the fishing community praised the U.S. State Department for including ecosystem function in the nation’s negotiation position as it prepares to negotiate the Columbia River Treaty with Canada.
Recent Press Clips
Groups seek settlement talks in spotted frog case, Bend 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, Bend 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, Bend Source, 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, Bend 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?
WaterWatch Guest Opinion: A realistic path forward for the Klamath Basin, Bend Bulletin, December 27, 2015
WaterWatch guest opinion lays out a realistic path to dam removal and a balanced water budget in the Klamath River Basin after the demise of the highly controversial Klamath agreements.
Some Salem households use millions of gallons of water – in a year, Statesman Journal, November 14, 2015
WaterWatch’s John DeVoe discusses the need for Oregon’s capitol city to prioritize water conservation.
Gov. Kate Brown asks for new approach to Nestle water deal, Oregonian, November 6, 2015
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will scrap its latest strategy to free up water for a Nestle bottled water plant in Cascade Locks, in favor of an approach that lets regulators consider the public impacts of relinquishing water in the midst of a drought.
Oregon, feds to map cold water fish refuges in Columbia, Willamette rivers, The Oregonian, November 3, 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency will launch a three-year effort to map cold water refuges in the Columbia and Willamette rivers and develop a plan to make sure enough cool spots exist to get migrating salmon and steelhead upstream to spawn.
Miners go to court over suction dredge moratorium, Mail Tribune, October 21, 2015
Miners have asked a federal judge to block Oregon’s upcoming moratorium on suction dredge mining in wild salmon rivers such as the Rogue, claiming federal mining laws trump state restrictions on federal lands.
Tribe files dam lawsuit amicus, The Triplicate, October 8, 2015
Soon after withdrawing support from the Klamath settlement agreements that have delayed the removal of four hydropower dams on the Klamath River, the Yurok Tribe filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit to force a federal agency to end eight years of delay over consideration of the dams’ fate.
Editorial: Legal Threat is a Wake Up Call, The Source Weekly, September 23, 2015
Bend’s Source Weekly urges local irrigation districts to end delaying needed changes to Upper Deschutes River water management, ensure they are taking appropriate steps to protect fish and wildlife, and make those efforts clear and indisputable.
In My View: Restore the Deschutes River to its natural flow, Bend Bulletin, September 17, 2015
Gail Snyder of Central Oregon LandWatch argues that we can have both agriculture and a healthy Deschutes River, but to ensure the long-term health of the river for all, we must reduce the amount of water taken out for irrigation.
Yurok Tribe pulls out of Klamath River agreement, Triplicate, September 17, 2015
The Yurok Tribe has announced it will be withdrawing from the Klamath Agreements, which have not been able to get the U.S. congressional approval needed for implementation. The Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Tribes of Oregon will also pull out from the deal if the agreements continue to languish in Congress.
Guest Opinion: Removal of obsolete dams benefits rivers, the public and landowners, Medford Mail-Tribune, September 6, 2015
Guest opinion by WaterWatch and Geos Institute discusses the tremendous benefits provided by the Rogue River dam removals and the state and federal programs that support this important work.
In My View: Water usage must change to help the Deschutes River, Bend Bulletin, August 27, 2015
Jeff Perin, owner of The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters and WaterWatch board member, makes the case against managing Upper Deschutes River flows solely for irrigation purposes, and urges taking action now to increase winter flows and restore the river’s health for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and the people of Central Oregon.
Feds release extra water to save Klamath salmon from disease, Associated Press, August 21, 2015
With water scarce in Northern California’s Klamath Basin, a federal agency is again releasing Trinity River water into the Klamath River to prevent a repeat of the 2002 fish kill that left tens of thousands of adult salmon dead.
Tribes call on bureau to release fish-kill prevention flows this week, Eureka Times-Standard, August 17, 2015
The Hoopa Valley Tribe and Yurok Tribe believe that the federal government’s proposed Trinity River releases fall short of what is needed to protect Klamath Basin salmon.
Feds threatened with second suit over Deschutes River management practices, Oregonian, August 13, 2015
WaterWatch has issued notice to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and three Bend-area irrigation districts of its plans to sue unless the agencies begin leaving more water in the river for frogs and other wildlife.
State will test fish-passage mitigation bank, Mail Tribune, August 7, 2015
State fish managers will test-drive a new, big-picture approach to fixing fish-passage barriers by bypassing otherwise required work on some bridges and culverts. WaterWatch and allies are closely monitoring the pilot project for negative impacts to fish.
2 Of Oregon’s Worst Dams For Fish Are Coming Down, OPB, August 5, 2015
WaterWatch-led effort to remove the Rogue Basin’s Wimer and Fielder dams to benefit salmon nears successful completion.
Is Lake Oswego too thirsty for the Clackamas to handle?, KGW.com, August 4, 2015
Lake Oswego wants the ability to take another 22 million gallons a day from the Clackamas River. Conservationists fear fish won’t survive.
‘Mitigation banking’, Mail Tribune, August 2, 2015
WaterWatch is looking warily at this pilot project to ensure that agencies don’t write off salmon habitat in small streams in favor of larger, more visible projects.
Opinion: It’s Time to Acknowledge KBRA Isn’t a Solution, Two Rivers Tribune, July 28, 2015
WaterWatch’s Jim McCarthy argues that tribal and coastal communities dependent on Klamath River salmon deserve better than the vague promises of the long-stalled of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA).
Basin water pact stalled in Senate, Herald & News, July 12, 2015
With the bloated bill to enact the Klamath Basin water agreements still stalled in Congress, supporters admit that Klamath dam removal – the main selling point for the package – is inevitable even if the legislation fails to become law.
‘Make-believe water’ bill would be disaster for Klamath, Register-Guard, July 11, 2015
Guest opinion by WaterWatch’s Jim McCarthy rebuts claims that long-stalled federal legislation in the U.S. Senate will resolve the Klamath River Basin’s water woes.
Flip-flopped dam-removal plans on Evans Creek could start next week, Mail Tribune, July 6, 2015
Construction crews next week plan to move into the Evans Creek drainage in preparation for removing the two worst remaining fish-killers in the Rogue River Basin, but a pending permit appeal blocking the demolition of Fielder Dam means crews will first start to dismantle Wimer Dam as part of the $688,900 project to open more than 70 miles of spawning grounds in the upper Evans Creek drainage for wild salmon and steelhead.
Investigation Will Determine If Klamath Irrigators’ Group Misused Federal Funds, OPB, July 2, 2015
A government whistleblower protection office has authorized an investigation into alleged misuse of federal funds after two federal biologists filed a complaint accusing the Klamath Water and Power Agency of using money for drought-stressed fish to pay for things like office space, travel and employee salaries.
Guest Opinion: Wyden legislation is not what the Klamath refuges need, Oregonian, June 27, 2015
In a joint Oregonian guest opinion, WaterWatch and Portland Audubon urge the public to participate in the upcoming public process to decide the future of the Klamath refuges, and help make the case that wildlife like eagles, ducks, and geese must take priority over agribusiness on our national wildlife refuge lands.
Harney groundwater worries halt new well permits, Capital Press, June 23, 2015
Water regulators have largely stopped permitting new agricultural wells in Oregon’s Harney Basin due to concerns about groundwater depletion. The action came after WaterWatch protested several approvals last year.
Dam Laws, Willamette Week, June 17, 2015
The owner of a giant Eastern Oregon ranch again brings his issues — and checkbook — to Salem to push for a bill harmful to fish and the public interest.
Tribal members speak out against settlement, Herald & News, June 4, 2015
Members of the Klamath Tribes are speaking out against the Klamath water settlements and the new land base being written into them.
Feds: Columbia River Treaty’s future is a ‘priority’, Wenatchee World, June 4, 2015
The U.S. State Department will include the region’s key recommendations in future negotiations with Canada over how to modernize the Columbia River Treaty.