Uncharted Waters: As Groundwater Dwindles, Powerful Players Block Change

By Christopher Flavelle  |  Produced by Claire O’Neill, Matt McCann and Umi Syam  |  Edited by Lyndsey Layton and Douglas Alteen  |  Research contributed by Julie Tate  |  Nov. 24, 2023  |  New York Times Some of the people fighting efforts to conserve a vital resource that’s disappearing across the United States include the owners […]

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Court of Appeals Denies Proposed Drift Creek Dam But Water District Intends to Appeal

By Bill Poehler  |  Nov. 17, 2023  |  Salem Statesman Journal The Oregon Water Resources Commission and the Court of Appeals have prohibited the dam, saying it might harm cutthroat trout that spawn in the creek. Oregon’s Court of Appeals this month upheld a previous ruling prohibiting construction of a new dam south of Silverton

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Oregon Water Officials Say Permitting Must Change to Keep Tens of Thousands of Wells from Going Dry

By Alex Baumhardt  |  Nov. 13, 2023  |  Oregon Capital Chronicle The cost of digging deeper wells could climb into the hundreds of millions if the state does not revamp groundwater permitting, officials told lawmakers. The Oregon Water Resources Department must update its 68-year-old rules for permitting new wells or double down on regulating existing

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Oregon Water Partnership Praises Proposal to Modernize State Groundwater Allocation Rules

Nov. 6, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For information please contact: Tommy Hough, WaterWatch of Oregon, tommy@waterwatch.org Oregon Water Partnership Praises Science-Based Proposal to Modernize State’s Groundwater Allocation Rules As groundwater depletion becomes an even greater crisis throughout Oregon and the U.S., the Oregon Water Resources Department has developed science-based rules to put Oregon on a

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Denial of Permit to Build Dam on Drift Creek Marks Major Legal Victory for Instream Water Rights

Court upholds Oregon Water Resources Commission determination that the dam would harm fish and habitat. Good news: WaterWatch of Oregon has won the latest round in its fight to stop construction of a 70-foot-high dam on Drift Creek, a tributary of the Pudding River in Marion County. On Wednesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld

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Judge Grants Injunction to Prevent Water Diversion, Ensure Kern River Be Allowed to Flow

By Ian James  |  Nov. 1, 2023  |  Los Angeles Times Environmental activists in Bakersfield, a city of over 400,000 in California’s southern San Joaquin Valley, have won an initial victory in their legal fight to keep water flowing in the Kern River, which for many years was reduced to a dry, sandy riverbed. A

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Oregon Court of Appeals Protects Drift Creek from New Dam, Strengthens Instream Water Rights

Nov. 2, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For information please contact: Tommy Hough, WaterWatch of Oregon, tommy@waterwatch.org Brian Posewitz, WaterWatch of Oregon, brian@waterwatch.org Oregon Court of Appeals Protects Drift Creek from New Dam, Strengthens Instream Water Rights Also recognizes harm done to waterways by in-channel dams and reservoirs. Salem, Oregon  —  In a major win for

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Disastrous Dam Repair on North Umpqua Sparks Massive Fish Kill, Pollution Spills, State Senate Inquiry, and $27.6 Million Fine

By Jim McCarthy  |  Oct. 30, 2023  |  The Osprey At least 550,000 juvenile Pacific lamprey were killed this summer due to the botched repair of Winchester Dam on Oregon’s North Umpqua River. On October 6th, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) filed a $27.6 million claim for recovery of damages in the

Disastrous Dam Repair on North Umpqua Sparks Massive Fish Kill, Pollution Spills, State Senate Inquiry, and $27.6 Million Fine Read More »

Winchester Water Control District Fined $100,000 by State DEQ

By Gloria Coleman  |  Oct. 27, 2023  | Roseburg News-Review The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued two enforcement orders to pay civil penalties Thursday morning, one against the Winchester Water Control District and one against TerraFirma Foundation Repair Inc. Both of these fines are related to water quality violations during repairs on the Winchester

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Southern Oregon Dam Operators Now Face Water Pollution Fines on Top of Millions for Fish Kills

By Alex Baumhardt  |  Oct. 27, 2023  |  Oregon Capital Chronicle The operators of Winchester Dam in Oregon face more than $134,000 in fines for water violations on top of $27.6 million for killing lamprey. The operators of a southern Oregon dam and the company that repaired it face additional fines for violating state permits

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Arrowhead Bottled Water Company Sues to Continue Piping from California Forest

By Ian James  |  Oct. 27, 2023  |  Los Angeles Times The company that sells Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water is suing to challenge California regulators’ recent ruling that the company must stop taking much of the water it pipes from the San Bernardino National Forest for bottling. BlueTriton Brands filed the lawsuit this month in

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Oregon Fines Winchester Dam Owners $134,000 for Water Quality Violations

By Zach Urness  |  Oct. 26, 2023  |  Salem Statesman Journal The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued fines totaling over $134,000 against the operators of Winchester Dam on the North Umpqua River outside Roseburg on Thursday for water quality violations. DEQ fined Winchester Water Control District and TerraFirma Foundation Repair Inc. for discharging concrete

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DEQ Fines Winchester Dam Owners for Water Violations from Dam Repair

By Taylar Ansures  |  Oct. 26, 2023  |  KOBI News The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued two enforcement orders for the Winchester Water Control District and contractor TerraFirma for violations that happened during Winchester Dam repairs over the summer. According to DEQ, Winchester Water Control District is being fined $106,778 for violating at least

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Oregon Announces More Fines Over Botched 2023 Winchester Dam Repairs

Oct. 26, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information please contact: Jim McCarthy, WaterWatch of Oregon, jim@waterwatch.org Kirk Blaine, Native Fish Society, kirk@nativefishsociety.org Tommy Hough, WaterWatch of Oregon, tommy@waterwatch.org Oregon Announces More Fines Over Botched 2023 Winchester Dam Repairs Second water quality enforcement action in three years against North Umpqua’s biggest fish killer. Winchester, Oregon 

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Inside Poland Spring’s Hidden Attack on Water Rules It Didn’t Like

By Hiroko Tabuchi  |  Oct. 24, 2023  |  New York Times When Maine lawmakers tried to rein in large-scale access to the state’s freshwater this year, the effort initially gained momentum. The state had just emerged from drought, and many Mainers were sympathetic to protecting their snow-fed lakes and streams. Then a Wall Street-backed giant

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State Signals It’s Likely to Deny Redmond’s Application for Future Groundwater

By Joe Siess and Tim Trainor  |  Oct. 16, 2023  |  Redmond Spokesman The state, which has proposed new rules to Oregon’s groundwater permitting process, has signaled the city of Redmond’s application for a future groundwater permit would likely be denied. The Oregon Water Resources Department is reviewing the city’s application and taking a second

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$27.6 Million Lawsuit Filed for Lamprey Loss During Winchester Dam Repairs

By Gloria Coleman | Oct. 7, 2023 | Roseburg News-Review The Winchester Water Control District and associated contractors are facing a more than $27.5 million claim, which was filed Friday in Douglas County Circuit Court, for their role in the loss of juvenile Pacific lamprey during recent repairs of the Winchester Dam. “The number of

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Oregon Demands $28 Million for Massive Fish Kill and Water Violations at Winchester Dam

By Alanna Mayham  |  Oct. 6, 2023  |  Courthouse News The multimillion-dollar claim by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Friday arrives after weeks of advocacy over dam repairs that killed at least 550,000 Pacific lamprey. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a $27.6 million claim for recovery damages against the

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Oregon Seeks $27 Million for Dam Repair it Says Resulted in Mass Death of Pacific Lamprey Fish

By Claire Rush | Oct. 6, 2023 | Associated Press Oregon officials are seeking more than $27 million in damages over dam repairs they say killed more than half a million Pacific lamprey fish in what they’ve described as one of the largest damages claims for illegal killing of wildlife in state history. In a

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ODFW Cites “Significant and Preventable” Fish Kill in $27 Million Complaint Against Winchester Dam

Oct. 6, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Tommy Hough, tommy@waterwatch.org Jim McCarthy, jim@waterwatch.org Department of Fish and Wildlife Cites “Significant and Preventable” Fish Kill in $27 Million Complaint Against Winchester Dam Huge financial penalty among the largest issued by an Oregon state agency. Salem, Oregon  —  Citing the “significant and preventable” death of at least

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Second Rogue Basin Dam Removal Project in One Year Nears Completion

Oct. 4, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContacts:Jim McCarthy, WaterWatch of Oregon Steve Soesbe, Siskiyou Field InstituteScott Wright, River Design Group Second Rogue Basin Dam Removal Project in One Year Nears Completion Collaborative effort in Illinois sub-basin benefits salmon and steelhead, increases resiliency to climate change. Selma, Oregon  —  Work crews have finished demolition of a 13-foot

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Central Oregon Cities Poke Holes in State Plans to Tighten Groundwater Rules

By Emily Cureton Cook  |  Oct. 2, 2023  |  Oregon Public Broadcasting Oregon water managers are considering the most consequential water policy changes the state has seen in decades. These changes would crack down on new groundwater rights, making it more difficult for people to drill wells. Advocates say this is critical to protect the

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ODFW Official Acknowledges “Hundreds of Thousands” of Fish Deaths in Winchester Dam Disaster

Sept. 29, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For information please contact: Jim McCarthy, WaterWatch of Oregon, jim@waterwatch.org Tommy Hough, WaterWatch of Oregon, tommy@waterwatch.org Wildlife Official Acknowledges “Hundreds of Thousands” of Fish Deaths in 2023 Winchester Dam Disaster Senate committee probing whether state officials hold dam’s operations and maintenance to appropriate statutory, regulatory standards. Salem, Oregon  —  This Wednesday,

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State Considers Penalties, Fines After Umpqua River Dam Repair Kills Thousands of Fish

By Alex Baumhardt  |  Sept. 27, 2023  |  Oregon Capital Chronicle The operators and renovators of a controversial dam on the Umpqua River in southern Oregon could face state fines and civil penalties following repairs that killed hundreds of thousands of fish and resulted in environmental violations. The privately owned Winchester Dam north of Roseburg

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Our 2023 Celebration of Oregon Rivers Auction Event Was Everything We Hoped For

As always, we had a wonderful time seeing so many long-time friends and WaterWatch supporters last Saturday at the World Forestry Center as we auctioned off dozens of one-of-a-kind donor packages at our 21st Annual Celebration of Oregon Rivers. Because of your generosity and support we have an even stronger hand heading into the next

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Harney County’s Groundwater Crisis Draws Oregon Policymakers, Private Investors

By Emily Cureton Cook  |  Sept. 27, 2023  |  Oregon Public Broadcasting Oregon water regulators are poised to change how they protect overdrawn aquifers. The Oregon Water Resources Commission will consider a number of policy reforms at a two-day meeting this week in Harney County, a setting that’s become emblematic of state mismanagement of groundwater. The

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Conservation Groups Call for End to Aging Umpqua River Dam After Emergency Fish Salvage

By Alex Baumhardt  |  Sept. 18, 2023  |  Oregon Capital Chronicle The 133-year-old Winchester Dam, which essentially provides a private lake for 100 “influential” people near Roseburg, has a history of environmental violations. For two days in early August, a dozen staff from the natural resources department of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe

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Judge Finds Feds Violated Law by Favoring Irrigators in the Klamath Basin

By Alanna Mayham  |  Sept. 11, 2023  |  Courthouse News Service Monday’s order upholds the notion that irrigators’ rights come after the Bureau of Reclamation’s obligations to protected fish species and tribal rights in the Klamath Basin. A magistrate judge in Oregon sided with the Klamath Tribes on Monday in finding that the U.S. Bureau

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