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Crews begin removing Dillon Dam on the Umatilla River

It took 20 years of planning, studies and grant writing, but removal of the Dillon Diversion Dam is finally underway on the Umatilla River.

A pair of excavators rumbled over the dry, rocky riverbed Wednesday morning two miles downstream of Echo, while project managers watched from a clearing along the stream bank. One of the backhoes, fitted with a massive air chisel, moved into position and sliced into the aging concrete like a hot knife through butter.

“I’ve been on […]

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SW Oregon River Gets Special Protections With Designation

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – State officials have given a southwest Oregon river a special designation that could end an effort to build a nickel mine nearby.

The Statesman Journal reports (http://stjr.nl/2t26zW5) that Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to designate the North Fork Smith River as an Outstanding Resource Waters.

The designation is part of the Clean Water Act that allows states to protect pristine waterbodies.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality took public comments and supported the designation.

[…]

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Oregon Carves a Path for Water Transfers in the West

SINCE 1971, CRIS Converse and her family have relied on water from Oregon’s Whychus Creek to raise cattle and grow hay. Their Pine Meadow Ranch thrives, in part, because the family’s water rights date back to 1850, assuring access to water virtually without limit.

By the 2000s, however, concern for Oregon’s salmon populations had become a powerful movement. And salmon that had spawned in Whychus Creek for millennia couldn’t get past the Converse family dam.

So Converse agreed to sell […]

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Wild winter steelhead may be MIA; or just unseen in high water

BY BILL MONROE For The Oregonian/OregonLive Garth Wyatt, a biologist with PGE’s Clackamas River project, sorts a wild steelhead at a state-of-the-art station at North Fork Dam, east of Estacada. Hatchery steelhead are quickly and safely separated from wild fish, which are passed upriver to spawn. Hatchery fish are returned to the lower river for anglers. Garth Wyatt, a biologist with PGE’s Clackamas River project, sorts a wild steelhead at a state-of-the-art station at North Fork Dam, east of Estacada. […]

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Shortage forces Crater Lake to haul water

May 5, 2017

By Lee Juillerat for the Mail Tribune Despite an above-average snowpack, Crater Lake National Park is experiencing a water shortage.

Tanker trucks will begin hauling water to the park early next week after the Klamath Tribes called their water claim on the Wood River system, where the park normally gets its water supply. The tribes, which hold the most senior water right, called the claim to keep water in the streams after analyses showed flows in the […]

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Tribal chairman defends water call

CHILOQUIN —Don Gentry, chairman of the Klamath Tribal Council, isn’t shy about defending the water claims made by the Tribes to divert water on the Williamson and Sprague River systems in mid-April, nor in explaining the justification behind them.

The Klamath Tribes made the request for water to provide for maintenance of the streams and riparian areas and the lakes to provide for fish and other resources valuable to the Tribes, according to Gentry.

He sat down with the Herald […]

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Judge: More Water Must Be Released From Columbia, Snake Dams

AP March 27, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Oregon says that beginning next year, the government must spill more water from dams on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers to improve the chances that protected salmon will survive.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon said in a ruling Monday that the salmon continue to be imperiled and that the Army Corps of Engineers must spill more water for the fish at eight dams. However, he declined to […]

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New Zealand river granted same legal rights as human being

Thursday 16 March 2017 00.50 EDT

In a world-first a New Zealand river has been granted the same legal rights as a human being.

The local Māori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island has fought for the recognition of their river – the third-largest in New Zealand – as an ancestor for 140 years.

On Wednesday, hundreds of tribal representatives wept with joy when their bid to have their kin awarded legal status as a living entity was passed […]

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Study: warm ocean hurts salmon in U.S. Pacific Northwest

Source: Xinhua 2017-03-16 SAN FRANCISCO, March 15 (Xinhua) — A new study suggests that anomalous ocean conditions two years ago, which led to the lack of food for juvenile Chinook salmon, may have resulted in significant mortality that will show in their return this year to the Columbia River.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation values, which reflect warm and cold sea surface temperatures, suggest 2015 was one of the warmest nearshore oceans encountered by migrating Chinook salmon dating back to at least […]

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Idaho irrigators back bills fighting Oregon fish plan

BOISE — Idaho irrigators are backing four bills in the state Legislature challenging the State of Oregon’s attempt to reintroduce endangered fish into the Snake River watershed upstream of the Hells Canyon Complex of dams.

For decades, the Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon dams — which provide about 30 percent of Idaho Power Co.’s total energy — have blocked the migration of anadromous salmon and steelhead trout, which once spawned in the upstream channel and tributaries.

The original federal license […]

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