15
Mar
09

Water Works of Oregon (Healthy Rivers by what means?)

Low Water Eagle Creek, Oregon

Low Water Eagle Creek, Oregon

 

Ran into Water Works of Oregon at the Albany Expo and gathered up materials. The message seemed clear: yet another crisis of habitat and yet another legislature caving into growth and  agri interests. According to WWO, the Instream Water Rights Act of Oregon has helped but has not gone far enough. So, the answer for fish and fowl and wildlife (and recreationist) is to force a reduction in the water drawdown allocations to help maintain levels that will sustain the habitat.

That is the crux of the problem: wanting the water levels that will offset nature’s varieties and attempt to sustain life even if nature isn’t helping in the game. The bottom line is agriculture will take the hit an WWO is calling for buy outs and force outs to protect the habitat. Hmmm? WWO has identified the drainages and I would agree with their vulnerability. I am not sure a picture of a kayaker is compelling to most non-urban Oregonians. Is the value of 100 kayakers ability to access moving waters superior to farmers or ranchers that manage crops? The argument would be that those ranchers are perhaps evil out of state agri interests and Oregonians should have superior and natural opportunities. But, are all those ranchers representing out of state interests? No. Many actually settled those lands back 150 years ago or so, when most activist’s families were safely ensconced in urban comforts.

So, the concept of incentives (buy outs, paid to save or return) is a good plan. Also, a review of two things: what excesses are taking place now and why in the hell does Governor Ted sit on his non-leadership ass and not gain the bully pulpit. When in fact does he speak toward anything of substance? Also, excuse my annoyance with Portland Urban Angst Ridden Enviro’s. They are so insulated and self absorbed that I hesitate to align with them in any way, because I suspect they’d easily throw the baby out with the bathwater for feel good agenda’s, with little regard for anyone they deem unworthy. Here, perhaps, there is room to agree it is obscene to draw down any drainage and over allocate limited resources even in high water years. State agencies need to better manage nature’s fickle ways. Dams were an effort to do that with reservoirs, etc. We have seen the consequences of that.

What is the balance? I don’t think it should be kayakers v. ranchers, but rather sustained habitat v. rancher….responsible rancher).  WWO’s puts forth  the message that Oregon State agencies do not advocate on our behalf re water rights. There is the point. We are looking outward to Pebble Mine and every other climate change obsession and right here in our own backyard are the key issues for our fisheries health. I have much more to learn about this topic and know several sights like Oregon Fly Fishing Blog and The Big Pull have been highlighting these problems…I want to see a definitive study of the consequeces to agriculture. I don’t see that from enviro’s because I suspect they do not care and only care about the end game and to hell with the insensitive farmers and ranchers? Well WWO does seem to have a plan, but it sounds like it requires our pressure toward those bureaucrats, who are insulated from representative government. 

http://www.waterwatch.org/healthy-rivers 

 http://www.earthshare-oregon.org/our-groups/profiles/waterwatch/      


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