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Race to the bottom: How Central Oregon groundwater sells to the highest bidders

By Emily Cureton Cook | July 19, 2022 | OPB In Oregon’s fastest-growing region, more residents are struggling to reach an affordable water supply. A developer’s quest to keep pumping tests what state officials are willing to do about it. Editor’s note: This is the third story in a series about how Oregon officials managing groundwater supplies have fueled crises …

Columbia River Treaty Non Governmental Organizations Letter

American Rivers ● Association of Northwest Steelheaders ● Audubon Society of Portland ● Center for Biological Diversity ● Center for Environmental Law and Policy ● Columbia Riverkeeper ● Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light ● Endangered SpeciesCoalition ● Engineers for a Sustainable Future ● Faith Action Network ● Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs ●Great Old Broads for Wilderness ● Idaho …

Stricter groundwater regulations contemplated for Oregon

Mateusz Perkowski | Capital Press | June 17, 2022 SALEM — Oregon water regulators want to impose stricter rules for drilling new irrigation wells next year to preserve groundwater levels and prevent over-pumping. A preliminary analysis of available data suggests that little groundwater across the state is available for new allocations, said Ivan Gall, field services division administrator at the …

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Race to the bottom: Draining Summer Lake

By Emily Cureton Cook (OPB) | March 28, 2022 5 a.m. Oregon has protected land at Summer Lake Wildlife Area since 1944. Water is another story. Under current water rights, vital springs could run dry within a generation. Editor’s note: This is the second story in an ongoing series about how Oregon officials managing groundwater supplies have fueled crises and …

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Race to the bottom: How big business took over Oregon’s first protected aquifer

By Emily Cureton Cook (OPB) | March 16, 2022 6 a.m. In Malheur County’s Cow Valley, state regulators have ignored known issues with overpumping groundwater, leaving the region at risk of economic and ecological damage that will be difficult to reverse. Editor’s note: This is the first story in an ongoing series about how Oregon officials managing groundwater supplies have …

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‘The state must do more.’ Lawmakers weigh how to protect dry Lake Abert

By Rob Davis | The Oregonian/OregonLive  | Published: Jan. 25, 2022, 7:00 a.m. State lawmakers and environmental groups responded to an investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive into the state’s failure to protect Lake Abert, Oregon’s only salt lake, by promising oversight hearings and calling for immediate action to restore the migratory bird stop that has run dry twice in the last …

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Oregon’s Lake Abert is ‘in deep trouble.’ The state shut down its effort to figure out why

By Rob Davis | The Oregonian/OregonLive | Published on Jan 16, 2022  When Oregon’s only saltwater lake mysteriously dried up in 2014, turning a vibrant landscape teeming with migratory birds into a desiccated, abandoned salt pan, state environmental regulators mobilized. Lake Abert, a 64-square-mile lake in south central Oregon’s high desert, had gone almost completely dry for the first time …

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Largest Dam Removal in US History Set to Begin

By BO EVANS | EW Scripps | bo.evans@scripps.com HORNBROOK, Calif. — The Iron Gate Dam, one of four dams on the Klamath River, will be removed in 2023. It will be the largest dam removal in U.S. history. For Pachomio Feliz, the waters of the Klamath River and Pacific are life. He’s a member of the Yurok Tribe. “This is …

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Big tech data centers spark worry over scarce Western water

By ANDREW SELSKY and MANUEL VALDES THE DALLES, Ore. (AP) — Conflicts over water are as old as history itself, but the massive Google data centers on the edge of this Oregon town on the Columbia River represent an emerging 21st century concern. Now a critical part of modern computing, data centers help people stream movies on Netflix, conduct transactions …

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Environmental coalition demands state reject proposed Easterday Dairy

By Bryce Dole | East Oregonian | August 26, 2021 BOARDMAN — A coalition of environmental groups is calling on Gov. Kate Brown to reject a permit application for the proposed Easterday dairy in Boardman. In a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 24, leaders from the Stand Up for Factory Farms Coalition said the dairy will exacerbate a variety of environmental …

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Listen to WaterWatch’s own Jim McCarthy featured on this week’s OPB’s “Think Out Loud!”

Klamath Basin drought: Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex By Elizabeth Castillo (OPB) Broadcast: Tuesday, July 13 This week, David Miller from Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud” interviewed WaterWatch’s own Southern Oregon Program Director, Jim McCarthy, about our longstanding work to protect and restore waterfowl and wetlands on the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges, then took a deep dive …

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Cheese in the desert: Why mega-dairies are piping water onto Oregon’s shrub-steppe

By Dawn Stover | Columbia Insight | May 6, 2021 Cody Easterday is still waiting for the Oregon Department of Agriculture to approve his application, submitted in June 2019, for a Confined Animal Feeding Operation near the city of Boardman (pop. 3,340), 165 miles east of Portland. Easterday, a 49-year-old rancher whose family owns a huge agricultural operation in Washington …

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Oregon water allocation may complicate ‘live flows’ irrigation

By Mateusz Perkowski | Capital Press | Jan. 8, 2021 Oregon irrigators may face complications from the commitment of about 1 million acre-feet of water behind Willamette Valley dams to in-stream environmental purposes. Until now, state water regulators have treated water released from the 13 dams as “live flows,” which can be accessed by irrigators with surface water rights in …

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Oregon irrigators gain access to Willamette dam water

By Mateusz Perkowski | Capital Press | Jan. 8, 2021 Farmers, under new federal law, have gained access to about 328,000 acre-feet of water stored behind 13 dams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. However, they’d be wise to wait until further regulatory processes are finished before installing irrigation structures to take advantage of the newly available water, experts say. “We’re not …

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Change is Coming to Harney Basin Agriculture

By Matuesz Perkowski | The Other Oregon | Dec. 24, 2020 Agriculture in Oregon’s Harney Basin faces a situation akin to being chased by an aggressive dog, according to farmer Mark Owens. Irrigators realize it’s going to hurt, he says, but they won’t know how much until it actually bites them in the ass. “Change is on the way and …

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Fishing, environmental groups file suit in Eugene over Umpqua River dam

Gillian Flaccus | Associated Press | Nov. 11, 2020 A coalition of environmental and fishing groups are suing a water district in southern Oregon over an aging, privately owned dam that they say hinders the passage of struggling salmon populations in the pristine North Umpqua River. The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, asks a judge to …

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Oregon water regulators asked to limit ‘stockwatering exemption’

By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI | Capital Press | Oct 8, 2020 Critics of large dairies are asking Oregon water regulators to limit new groundwater pumping by such operations within 257 square miles of Umatilla and Morrow counties. A coalition of environmental groups and others called Stand Up to Factory Farms has submitted a petition asking the Oregon Water Resources Department to restrict …

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Guest View: Fish need to feel the flow

by Brian Posewitz | June 13, 2020 | Register Guard The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns 13 reservoirs on major tributaries to the Willamette River, including well-known reservoirs such as Fern Ridge on the Long Tom, Lookout Point on the Middle Fork of the Willamette, Cougar on the South Fork of the McKenzie and Detroit on the North Fork …

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WaterWatch Statement: Seeking Justice

WaterWatch of Oregon stands among those calling for racial justice and accountability after the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other people of color at the hands of law enforcement and/or white supremacists. The brutal and horrific killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer compels us to express solidarity with black people across the …

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Debate Over Canal Piping Heats Up

Conservationist urges irrigation districts to focus on water markets by Michael Kohn | April 10, 2020 | Bend Bulletin For decades, Rob Rastovich relied on flood irrigation to water the hay fields on his family-owned ranch outside Bend. The system was archaic and wasted large amounts of water, which ran off the edge of his 200-acre ranch. Today his system is …

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Lawsuit targets shrinkage of Willamette Basin water for salmon

Environmental groups say the Army Corps of Engineers’ reallocation plan will hurt threatened fish species by Emily Green | March 20, 2020 | Street Roots  The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a drastic cut to the volume of water stored among its 13 dams and reservoirs in the Willamette River Basin that goes to supporting fish flows. Environmentalists are …

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Murmurs: Businesses Seek Relief From Tax Measures (See: Salmon Wars Continue)

By WW Staff | March 18, 2020 | Willamette Week   BUSINESSES SEEK TAX MEASURE RELIEF: Oregon business groups, facing crushing pressure from COVID-19 impacts, on March 17 proposed 14 steps the state could take to help. Among the biggest: “Delay implementation of the new corporate activities tax, at least for the first quarter of 2020, so those funds can be diverted …

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Guest Opinion: Bill Brings Waterway Concerns

by WaterWatch of Oregon Staff | 5 Aug 2019 | Bend Source Weekly On Sunday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a press release that House Bill 2437 is one of the bills that she may veto before Aug. 9. WaterWatch of Oregon is urging the Governor to indeed veto this bill. We also want to use this opportunity to clarify …

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Future of Oregon Water Resources in Peril

The state has done little to prevent water scarcity as climate change and population growth take hold by Emily Green | 5 Jul 2019 | StreetRoots 2015 was not a good year for water in Oregon. It was the third year in a row of drought. As spring and summer slogged on, 25 counties across the state entered into a state …

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Lawmakers Ponder Shrinking Oregon’s Wetlands

The two bills present a test for Gov. Kate Brown. By Nigel Jaquiss | 12 Jun 2019 | Willamette Week Last month, Portland commemorated the 71st anniversary of the Vanport Flood, which killed 15 people and displaced 40,000 from a black neighborhood in North Portland. But state officials may not have learned all the lessons of that disaster. Vanport was …

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Vanport Flood’s legacy in Columbia River dams: Guest opinion

Vanport Flood’s legacy in Columbia River dams: Guest opinion Updated May 30, 1:36 PM; Posted May 30, 1:15 PM Vanport Flood (LC- Oregon Historical Society) The Oregonian/OregonLive By John DeVoe A building on Second Avenue in Portland has two small markers: One says “High Water Mark – 1894.” That marker is about at my shoulder level. The second marker says “High Water Mark …

Conservation groups to file lawsuit over Klamath River water flow

Conservation groups to file lawsuit over Klamath River water flow By The Associated Press April 4, 2013 GRANTS PASS — Two conservation groups warned federal agencies Thursday they plan to sue to get more water devoted to protected salmon in the Klamath River. Oregon Wild and WaterWatch of Oregon filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue. They object to …

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Klamath Advocates Condemn Destruction of the “Everglades of the West”

Klamath Advocates Condemn Bureau of Reclamation’s Willful Destruction of the “Everglades of the West” Conservationists Call on Gov. Kate Brown, Senators Wyden and Merkley to Stop Likely Catastrophic Waterfowl Die-Off, Hold Bureau Accountable for Longstanding Waste and Abuse Contacts: Jim McCarthy, WaterWatch of Oregon, (541) 708-0731 Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, (503) 380-9728 Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6342 March …

State should slam shut loophole that allowed dairy to tap aquifer

State should slam shut loophole that allowed dairy to tap aquifer Statesman Journal Editorial Board   March 24, 2018 Water is a finite natural resource. So Oregon taxpayers should never have to read that state officials have no idea how much water a commercial operation is taking out of an endangered aquifer.