Saturday, April 24, 2010

Action for Oregon Rivers

Conservation of wild fish and health rivers starts with water and you.

To better understand and meet the water resource needs in Oregon, the Legislature has directed the state of Oregon to develop Oregons first Integrated Water Resources Strategy. (IWRS) This plan will initially address water quality and quantity in stream and out of stream needs for people, agriculture, recreation, and endangered anadromous species.

Tee water resource department is holding pubic meeting throughout the state of Oregon to hear recommendations and feedback from the public on water issues that are important to us. I attended a meeting a few weeks ago in Gresham, it felt good to have a voice for rivers and wild fish. Here is a link to meeting that will be held in Oregon. If you can't attend a meeting submit your comments at: .

Here are just a few Key points that Waterwatch of Oregon recommends making for more key points contact Waterwatch:

1. Oregon rivers need more protection.
Urge the state to adopt instream water rights on all streams across the state. Over 1400 stream reaches in Oregon are protected by "instream water rights," but hundreds of others are not.

Urge the state to protect peak and ecological flows before allowing new storage projects. In recent years Oregon has seen a land rush mentality with regard to building new water storage projects. These storage projects which would grab the last of Oregon's unallocated winter water. Currently the state does not protect "peak and ecological flows" when issuing new storage permits.

Urge the state to both identify peak and ecological flows needed by fish and rivers, and to protect those flows before allowing new storage.

Urge the state to protect more of Oregon's beloved streams though scenic waterway designation. State scenic waterway designation protects rivers and streams from being drained dry and also from the building of new dams. The state has not issued any new scenic waterways in nearly two decades.
2. The state needs to better manage Oregon's rivers.
Oregon is lucky to have many good river and stream protection laws on the books. However, the state does not utilize these tools to the full advantage of Oregon’s waterways.

Please urge the state to use its existing authorities to:
Require measurement of all diversions in the state. Unless the state knows how much water is being diverted, and when, it cannot adequately manage our water resources.
Require water use efficiency standards for municipal and irrigation uses. Oregon's water rules call on the state to establish basin efficiency standards for water use, but the state has never done so. Oregon's streams and rivers are already over-tapped; requiring efficient water use is one step to meeting new demand without putting further strain on our rivers.

To read more about the (IWRS) go to the Water Resource Department website or if you have questions about water issues or want to get involved go to Waterwatch of Oregons website . Since 1985 Waterwatch of Oregon has fought to protect and restore water flows in rivers for us and wild fish.