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Columbia River Treaty deadline could shift downstream flood risk management

LEWISTON, Idaho — The way dams and storage reservoirs on the Columbia River and its tributaries are managed could change dramatically in a short five years if negotiators from the United States and Canada don’t strike a deal.

At issue is the Columbia River Treaty, a transboundary agreement that has governed flood risk management and hydropower production for more than five decades. The treaty is evergreen, meaning it doesn’t have […]

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Growing number of toxic algae blooms worries Oregon Legislature

, Salem Statesman Journal March 15, 2019

Oregon lawmakers are scrambling to come up with a long-term plan for detecting and responding to harmful algal blooms in drinking and recreational water supplies.

The push follows several recent incidents, including a toxic algae bloom that shut down Salem’s municipal water supply for more than a month last year.

In that case, a bungled alert caused a brief panic, followed by a […]

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Phosphorus ‘mined’ from waste water

Capitol Press by GAIL OBERST

February 14, 2019

HILLSBORO, Ore. — An innovative process that turns wastewater into phosphorous fertilizer granules is simplifying Oregon’s complicated relationship with this essential nutrient.

On one hand, phosphorus is needed for all living things to grow, said Brett Laney, operations analyst for Clean Water Services, headquartered in Hillsboro.

On the other hand, too much phosphorous runoff can create aquatic “dead zones” and algae blooms, overwhelming wildlife habitats and fouling drinking water.

Clean Water Services, […]

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Bill aims to prevent Trump environmental “rollbacks”

By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI Capital Press February 7, 2019

A bill requiring Oregon government agencies to protect against “rollbacks” of federal environmental regulations has been dismissed as “political theater” by farm, ranch and timber organizations.

Under House Bill 2250, state natural resource agencies would have to monitor whether changes to federal air and water regulations have fallen short of standards enacted under the Obama administration.

The Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies would then recommend or take actions […]

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Report: Oregon’s 2018 proof of climate change

By David Steves, OPB

Published: January 31, 2019, 9:38 PM

Climate change is playing out in significant ways in Oregon, with evidence in the form of more severe wildfires, lower summer stream flows and diminishing winter snowpacks, according to the state’s fourth annual climate assessment report.

The report, issued Thursday by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, made it clear that climate change is no longer something to discuss as part of the Northwest’s future.

It’s happening now — […]

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Hoopa Valley Tribe wins lawsuit against aging Klamath River dams and PacifiCorp

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. — According to the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the federal court of appeals Friday unanimously sided with the Hoopa Valley Tribe, ruling that FERC, the states of California and Oregon, and PacifiCorp can no longer stall dam license conditions to protect fish.

For decades, the Hoopa Valley Tribe has urged aggressive actions to address the degraded water conditions in the Klamath River. PacifiCorp’s FERC license for operation of the Klamath Project which expired in 2006.

Mandatory conditions and […]

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Proposed groundwater drilling rule unsustainable

January 22, 2019

Klamath Falls Herald and News

Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) is gearing up to cripple the Klamath Tribes’ already limited ability to safeguard rivers, streams, springs and seeps in our treaty-protected homeland.

Sitting in the audience of a recent advisory committee meeting (a group of about 20 dominated by ranchers and farmers), I heard state employees announce that OWRD’s plan to reduce the tribes’ ability to “make calls” (stop agricultural irrigation) on wells within a mile […]

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N.E. Oregon makes progress on water puzzle

By GEORGE PLAVEN Capital Press Jan 3, 2019

It was a crisis more than 60 years in the making.

The Umatilla Basin in northeast Oregon is home to some of the state’s most productive farmland, famously growing more than 200 different crops including wheat, corn, potatoes and watermelon. Irrigation pivots dominate the countryside, transforming scrubby desert into lush, green fields.

The development of the region’s farms and cities, however, came at a price underground. As early as 1958, […]

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Apple pledges $9 million for Oregon water storage

By Associated Press

December 19, 2018

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Apple has pledged to spend nearly $9 million to help the city of Prineville build an underground water storage facility to help meet the demands of the company’s two data storage centers there.

Apple is Prineville’s largest water user and takes huge volumes of water to cool their facilities, where computers are in constant danger of overheating, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Wednesday.

It’s Apple’s second water conservation project in Prineville. […]

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Changes to dams on Columbia, Snake rivers to benefit salmon, hydropower and orcas

December 18, 2018 Seattle Times By and

After decades of arguments and court challenges, a landmark agreement supported by states, tribes and federal agencies is expected to change how water is spilled at Columbia and Lower Snake River dams to boost the survival of young salmon while limiting the financial hit to hydropower.

The agreement is to be recorded Tuesday […]

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