GUEST VIEWPOINT: ‘Make-believe water’ bill would be disaster for Klamath

GUEST VIEWPOINT: ‘Make-believe water’ bill would be disaster for Klamath By Jim McCarthy Eugene Register-Guard July 11, 2015 2002 Klamath River fish kill. As the Klamath Basin’s drought continues another year, some ­— including both of Oregon’s U.S. senators — continue to claim that controversial legislation long stalled in Congress will solve the basin’s chronic water woes. These claims plainly …

Flip-flopped dam-removal plans on Evans Creek could start next week

Flip-flopped dam-removal plans on Evans Creek could start next week By Mark Freeman Mail Tribune July 6, 2015 WIMER — 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 they will show up already working under Plan B. A pending permit appeal …

Investigation Will Determine If Klamath Irrigators’ Group Misused Federal Funds

Investigation Will Determine If Klamath Irrigators’ Group Misused Federal Funds by Jes Burns OPB/EarthFix July 2, 2015 Chinook salmon photo courtesy USFWS. A government whistleblower protection office has authorized an investigation into alleged misuse of federal funds by a Klamath Basin irrigators’ group. Earlier this spring, two federal biologists filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. They said the Klamath …

Wyden legislation is not what the Klamath refuges need

Wyden legislation is not what the Klamath refuges need By Bob Sallinger and Jim McCarthy Oregonian Guest Opinion June 27, 2015 Parched canal in the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Brett Cole. In a recent guest column, Jason A. Atkinson and Michael Sutton assert that those eager to restore fish and wildlife habitat in the Klamath Basin National …

Harney groundwater worries halt new well permits

Harney groundwater worries halt new well permits By Mateusz Perkowski Capital Press June 23, 2015 New well permits are halted in Oregon’s Harney County due to groundwater worries. Water regulators have largely stopped permitting new agricultural wells in Oregon’s Harney Basin due to concerns about groundwater depletion. Groundwater pumping is exceeding the rate of recharge in the area, which has …

Dam Laws

Dam Laws The owner of a giant Eastern Oregon ranch again brings his issues — and checkbook — to Salem. By Emily Volpert Willamette Week June 17, 2015 Scott Campbell has never been one to let the law hold him back when it comes to his massive Eastern Oregon ranch. Campbell is best known as founder of Hannah the Pet …

Columbia River Treaty: State Department to Include Ecosystem Function in Negotiating Position

Center for Environmental Law & Policy | WaterWatch of Oregon | Pacific Rivers Council Save Our wild Salmon | Sierra Club | Columbia Institute for Water Policy For Immediate Release Thursday, June 4, 2015 Contacts – * Pat Ford (Save Our wild Salmon) 208-345-9067 pford@wildidaho.org (Boise) * Greg Haller (Pacific Rivers Council) 503-228-3555 greg@pacificrivers.org (Portland) * John Osborn MD (Ethics …

Feds: Columbia River Treaty’s future is a ‘priority’

Feds: Columbia River Treaty’s future is a ‘priority’ By Christine Pratt The Wenatchee World June 4, 2015 WASHINGTON, D.C.- 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. In a May 20 letter to Sen. Patty Murray, the State Department broke its relative silence on its …

Tribal members speak out against settlement

Tribal members speak out against settlement Some oppose land deal as too small By LACEY JARRELL 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. According to tribal member Ramona Mason, a Klamath-Shoshone who lives in Portland, she and other members …

Land for Klamath Tribes identified

Land for Klamath Tribes identified By LACEY JARRELL Herald & News May 30, 2015 The Klamath Tribes and U.S. Forest Service officials have mutually agreed upon a specific parcel of Fremont-Winema National Forest land that will be returned to the Tribes if Senate Bill 133, the Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015, is enacted by Congress …

Bottling water in a drought?

Bottling water in a drought? By Alison Vekshin Bloomberg News May 27, 2015 Nestle’s plan to bottle Oregon’s spring water is stoking a fight with lawmakers and environmental activists who say a corporation shouldn’t be allowed to profit from a natural resource as drought spreads across the state. The Oregon Water Resources Department is considering a proposal that would allow …

Major fish kill likely in Klamath River as salmon parasite thrives in drought

Major fish kill likely in Klamath River as salmon parasite thrives in drought By The Associated Press This July 23, 2002, file photo shows fishing boats in the mouth of the Klamath River as it empties into the Pacific Ocean near Klamath, California. Drought has produced conditions allowing deadly salmon parasites to thrive in the river, infecting nearly all the …

County formally requests promised Trinity River flows

County formally requests promised Trinity River flows By Will Houston Eureka Times-Standard May 19, 2015 The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to send a letter to the federal government making a formal request for its promised 50,000 acre-feet of Trinity River water in advance of another summer of drought and possible litigation. Passed as part of …

Oregon wildlife officials eye phased-in hunting, fishing fee increases

Oregon wildlife officials eye phased-in hunting, fishing fee increases By Jeff Barnard The Associated Press May 16, 2015 Lawmakers are considering how to plug a $32 million funding gap for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife through a combination of raising hunting and fishing license fees, devoting more state revenues to the department and cutting personnel. Sales of hunting …

Farmer v. farmer: Future of Oregon water at center of fight over new dam in Silverton

Farmer v. farmer: Future of Oregon water at center of fight over new dam in Silverton By Molly Harbarger The Oregonian/OregonLive May 16, 2015 Map by Dan Aguayo, Oregonian SILVERTON — Bruce Jaquet took over management of his 193-acre farm from his father. He bought the land from his great-aunt, passed down from her father, who originally bought the land …

State sets fish ladders at Opal Springs as top priority

State sets fish ladders at Opal Springs as top priority Steelhead show they want up the Crooked River By Dylan J. Darling The Bulletin May 10, 2015 The big effort to restore ocean-going fish runs in Central Oregon’s major rivers has put the focus on a small diversion dam a half-mile up the Crooked River from Lake Billy Chinook. Tucked …

Water storage denied for Tumalo reservoirs

Water storage denied for Tumalo reservoirs Tumalo Irrigation District applied to transfer water to reservoirs owned by Bend development company By Ted Shorack The Bulletin May 6, 2015 Oregon regulators have denied permanent water storage at two small reservoirs near Tumalo that developers have considered using for water skiing. The Oregon Water Resources Department determined last week the water-right transfer …

Tumalo Creek Ruling Protects Streams Throughout Oregon

For Immediate Release May 4, 2015 Contact: Kimberley Priestley, 503-295-4039 x3, kjp@waterwatch.org Tumalo Creek Ruling Protects Streams Throughout Oregon Water Ski Pond Development Deal Put Streams Statewide at Risk Last week, the Oregon Department of Water Resources dealt a blow to a scheme to use scarce Tumalo Creek water to create water-skiing ponds for a luxury home development in Central …

Rivers Recover Rapidly Once Dams Are Gone, Study Finds

Rivers Recover Rapidly Once Dams Are Gone, Study Finds by Cassandra Profita OPB April 30, 2015 When this photo was taken, about 3 million cubic yards of sediment had been flushed down the Elwha River since dam removal began in 2011. That’s only 16 percent of what’s expected to move downstream over five years. Katie Campbell/KCTS9 A new study sums …

Major Grant Awarded to Top Priority Rogue Basin Dam Removal Project

For Immediate Release April 28, 2015 Contacts: John DeVoe, WaterWatch of Oregon Executive Director, 971-322-5635 Bob Hunter, WaterWatch of Oregon Board Member, 541-778-3310 Brian Barr, Geos Institute Project Manager, 541-621-7226 Major Grant Awarded to Top Priority Rogue Basin Dam Removal Project Funding Means Salmon and Steelhead to Regain Access this Fall to 70 Miles of Habitat on Key Spawning Tributary …

Artificial beaver dam bill advances Oregon House

Artificial beaver dam bill advances Oregon House By Mateusz Perkowski Capital Press April 24, 2015 A proposal to streamline permitting for fake beaver dams has progressed in the Oregon House. A bill intended to promote artificial beaver dams in Oregon’s Malheur Lake drainage basin has crossed a key legislative hurdle despite misgivings from some environmentalists. Artificial beaver dams are meant …

Tribes call for water

Tribes call for water Water shutoffs could begin as early as next week By LACEY JARRELL Herald & News April 24, 2015 Called-on streams: Crooked Creek Deep Creek Irving Creek Jackson Creek Larkin Creek Lower Sprague River Sand Creek Scott Creek Sycan River Upper Sprague River Wood River Since Monday, water calls have been made on 10 Basin streams, including …

Klamath Tribes seek parts of Fremont-Winema National Forest after failed land deal

Klamath Tribes seek parts of Fremont-Winema National Forest after failed land deal Kelly House The Oregonian April 24, 2015 The Lower Williamson River runs through the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Much of the forest was part of the Klamath Indian Reservation before the federal government terminated the tribes and took their land. After a failed private land deal that would have …

Judge Affirms Ruling Favoring Wildlife on Klamath Refuges

For Immediate Release April 16, 2015 Contacts: Jim McCarthy, WaterWatch of Oregon, 541-708-0731 Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, 503-380-9728 Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild, 503-283-6343 Chris Winter, Crag Law Center, 503-701-6002 A copy of the ruling can be found here. Judge Affirms Ruling Favoring Wildlife on Klamath Refuges U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service given August 2016 deadline to complete plan to …

Evans Creek dams on track for removal this summer

Evans Creek dams on track for removal this summer By Mark Freeman Mail Tribune April 11, 2015 Fielder Dam and its antiquated fish ladder is targeted for removal from Evans Creek. ROGUE RIVER — Two of Oregon’s worst wild fish barriers are on track to be jettisoned from Evans Creek this summer under a plan to open as much as …

No water for Lower Klamath refuge

No water for Lower Klamath refuge By LACEY JARRELL Herald & News April 10, 2015 Parched Lower Klamath NWR, Sept. 20, 2013 Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge managers plan to make the most out of the water they have now. It’s likely they won’t get any more. According to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) 2015 Operations Plan released Tuesday, Lower …

WaterWatch of Oregon Statement Regarding the 2015 Klamath Project Operations Plan

For Immediate Release April 8, 2015 WaterWatch of Oregon Statement Regarding the 2015 Klamath Project Operations Plan Yesterday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released the 2015 Klamath Project Operations Plan, setting irrigation season water delivery amounts for agribusiness operations and national wildlife refuges within the massive federal Klamath Project along the Oregon-California line. Yet again, the Bureau’s plan provides no …

Farmers on Oregon-California border might get less water than they expect

Farmers on Oregon-California border might get less water than they expect By Jeff Barnard The Associated Press Apr 8, 2015 GRANTS PASS — Farmers on a federal irrigation project straddling the Oregon-California border are slated to get 65 percent of the water they expect in a wet year this growing season due to the lack of mountain snowpack that feeds …

Water Allocations Not Enough for Wildlife

Water Allocations Not Enough for Wildlife By Connor Giampietri KDRV News April 8, 2015 MEDFORD, Ore. – A new report shows it’s expected to be another tough year for farmers in the Klamath Basin. The report shows farmers on the federal irrigation project straddling the Oregon-California border are slated to get 65% of their full amount of water for the …

Fake beaver dam bill divides environmentalists

Fake beaver dam bill divides environmentalists Mateusz Perkowski Capital Press April 1, 2015 Legislation that would encourage landowners to build artificial beaver dams as part of a pilot project has run into opposition from some environmentalists. SALEM — A bill meant to encourage the construction of artificial beaver dams in Oregon’s Malheur Lake drainage basin to improve stream conditions has …

Lake Abert Dries Up

Lake Abert Dries Up, OPB, March 19, 2015 WaterWatch staff attorney Lisa Brown discusses our work to rescue Lake Abert on the Oregon Field Guide.

Judge’s Ruling Favors Wildlife on Klamath Refuges

For Immediate Release March 5, 2015 Contacts: Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, 503-380-9728 Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild, 503-283-6343 Jim McCarthy, WaterWatch of Oregon, 541-708-0731 Chris Winter, Crag Law Center, 503-701-6002 Copy of ruling available here Judge’s Ruling Favors Wildlife on Klamath Refuges U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service required to complete plan to ensure commercial agribusiness doesn’t harm wildlife; given August …

Feds must create conservation plans for Lower Klamath, Tule Lake wildlife refuges

Feds must create conservation plans for Lower Klamath, Tule Lake wildlife refuges By Kelly House The Oregonian March 5, 2015 Red-tailed Hawk Federal fish and wildlife managers must complete a plan to ensure commercial activities at two Northwest federal wildlife refuges do not harm wildlife, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled. Magistrate Judge Mark Clark’s preliminary injunction Thursday calls …

Water settlement comes into question

Water settlement comes into question Tribes remain hopeful that Congress will approve legislation By LACEY JARRELL Herald & News March 5, 2015 Three Basin tribes have begun a mediation process that could end in termination of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). “Our concern is that legislation has not passed. We are unable to obtain our bargained-for benefits,” said Karuk …

WaterWatch of Oregon Announces Hire of Brian Posewitz

For Immediate Release February 19, 2015 WaterWatch of Oregon Announces Hire of Brian Posewitz Brian Posewitz has joined WaterWatch as Staff Attorney. WaterWatch is thrilled to announce longtime general litigation and water attorney Brian Posewitz has joined the organization as a staff attorney, starting in February 2015. An attorney in Oregon since 1991, Brian brings 24 years of legal experience …

Government Whistleblowers Say Klamath Irrigators Misusing Federal Funds

Government Whistleblowers Say Klamath Irrigators Misusing Federal Funds by Jes Burns OPB February 18, 2015 The Klamath Basin has seen many water shortages over the years. Photo by Devan Schwartz / EarthFix Two government biologists say millions of dollars in federal funds intended to secure water for fish in the Klamath Basin were instead used to directly compensate local farmers …

ODFW commission picks Curt Melcher to run agency

ODFW commission picks Curt Melcher to run agency By Kelly House The Oregonian/OregonLive February 13, 2015 Curt Melcher, a longtime Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife employee who has led the agency on a temporary basis for the past five months, will be its next director. Melcher, 51, has spent all of his 28-year career in the agency, beginning as …

Nine-month construction delay on West Linn water treatment plant angers neighbors, surprises project managers

Nine-month construction delay on West Linn water treatment plant angers neighbors, surprises project managers by Michael Bamesberger The Oregonian/OregonLive February 12, 2015 The Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership, which is about half-way completed, will deliver Clackamas River water to both communities next year. Last month, neighbors in West Linn’s Robinwood neighborhood were surprised to learn construction work on the water treatment …

Oregon Court of Appeals sides with salmon in lawsuit over Clackamas River water use

Oregon Court of Appeals sides with salmon in lawsuit over Clackamas River water use The Associated Press January 5, 2015 The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that the state Water Resources Department failed to limit the amount of water cities and water districts can draw from the lower Clackamas River so that there would be enough water left in …

2014 Oregon Legislature Short Session Ends With a Whimper

2014 Oregon Legislature Short Session Ends With a Whimper The Oregon Legislature’s 2014 short session, limited to 35 days, proved once again that politicians should not attempt large-scale policy changes within short time windows. With over three hundred bills to consider and move out of the original chamber of origin within two weeks, the initial pace was nothing short of …