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Getting their feet wet: Intel and other big firms begin to fund Willamette River restoration work

It’s a hot day in late July, and Matt Blakely-Smith is leading a tour of the Greenbelt Land Trust’s latest restoration project at Horseshoe Lake, a 236-acre piece of former farm property that wraps around a bend in the Willamette River between Corvallis and Albany.

The nonprofit environmental group has brought in a local excavating firm to take out two raised farm roads that form a dam across the arms of Horseshoe Lake, a cut-off oxbow that once was […]

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, Salem Statesman Journal

May 29, 2019

Billions of gallons of water have been hidden behind the Willamette River Basin’s 13 dams since they were constructed starting in the 1930s.

For 30 years, powerful interests including cities, farmers and industry have been slugging it out for access to that water, which has yet to be designated for a use. Fisheries and environmental groups […]

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‘Extreme draining’ of Oregon reservoir eliminates invasive species, helps endangered salmon

Turns out, if you want a river to act like it did before it was dammed, you just have to drain the reservoir the dam created.

Letting a river return to its natural course, even if only for a brief period, has other benefits, too. Invasive species disappear and endangered species, like the imperiled salmon of […]

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Fixing The Willamette’s Toxic Algae Problem Could Start At Ross Island

It’s not unusual for toxic algal blooms to close a lake or pond. And in recent years, these algae have been contaminating another type of swimming spot: the Willamette River. In early August, the Oregon Health Authority advised Portland residents to keep themselves and their pets out of the water in certain areas.

Such warnings have become increasingly common along Portland’s stretch of the Willamette, and most of the blooms have been traced back to one location: the lagoon on […]

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A coalition of environmental advocacy groups is suing a pair of federal agencies over “missed deadlines, postponed actions, and poor communications” regarding the embattled Chinook salmon and steelhead populations in the Willamette River, the groups said in a statement Monday.

The lawsuit was filed in Portland district court by the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, WildEarth […]

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EDITORIAL: Agriculture the most important use of water

Capital Press

November 23, 2017

When it comes to farming in the West, all you have to do is add water.

With water, the West has blossomed. Take a look at the vast Columbia Basin in Washington and the Snake River valley in southern Idaho. And the Central Valley in California. And all of Eastern Oregon.

Anywhere water is available, the predominant color is green, with high-value and high-yield crops dotting the countryside. Without water, the countryside is brown or […]

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Corps takes another look at stored Willamette River Basin water

Eric MortensonCapital Press

Published on November 15, 2017

Willamette Valley farmers and ranchers would have rights to about 250,000 acre-feet of irrigation water annually under a reallocation plan suggested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon Water Resources Department.

The proposal is the latest attempt to decide who gets access to the water stored behind 13 federal dams in the basin. For agriculture, even in the wet Willamette Valley, water availability in spring and summer is […]

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Underground river: Pipeline to bring water to westside

Jim Redden and John William Howard

November 2, 2017

Westside suburbs are mounting a $1.2 billion project to take drinking water from the Willamette River, with a Portland company playing a major supporting role.

Northwest Pipe Co. has so far provided all of the pipe for the Willamette Water Supply Program, one of the largest public infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the region.

When it is completed, the project will draw water from the Willamette River in Wilsonville and provide […]

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Salem to sell unused water rights

Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal 5:14 p.m. PDT May 24, 2016

The city of Salem has agreed to sell part of its water rights on the Willamette River to the fast-growing city of Hillsboro.

If the deal goes through it will earn Salem $16.2 million, which will be used to improve the city’s water infrastructure.

“We don’t have any immediate need for it. We don’t have any long-term need for it. It’s a great way to turn it into cash,” Salem […]

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Fed regulators divvying up Oregon’s stored water

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Federal regulators are divvying up the water stored behind 13 dams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

The Capital Press reports that the dams provide flood control during rainy winter months, but they also hold water that’s designated for use by irrigators, municipalities, industries, recreationists and fish during the spring and summer months.

The U.S. Army corps of Engineers, which operates the dams, wants to determine how much water is allocated for each use by mid-2017.

The agency […]

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