Your support is protecting and restoring streamflows, securing balanced water policies for the state and removing obsolete dams from Oregon's rivers. All of these measures help Oregon's rivers adapt to the effects of climate change. For species and people dependent on Oregon's rivers, your support of WaterWatch's projects is critical. Thanks to you, WaterWatch can report real progress for Oegon's rivers over the past few months. Consider these projects made possible with your support:
- On the North Fork Smith River, one of the most pristine watersheds in the West, WaterWatch led a successful challenge to Red Flat Nickel's attempt to secure water rights for exploratory nickel mining in the headwaters of the watershed.
- WaterWatch went to Washington DC with a coalition of river and faith based groups to advocate for modernization of the Columbia River Treaty with Canada. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the way the Columbia River is managed and to include ecosystem function as a purpose of the Treaty, along with hydropower and flood control. We met with the State Department, members of the Obama Administration and the Northwest Congressional delegation.
- On the McKenzie River, WaterWatch continued its successful challenge to a speculative attempt to withdraw 22 million gallons of water each day from the river atthe expense of fish.
- In the courts, WaterWatch defended a new fish protection standard in briefing to the Oregon Supreme Court, argued in the Oregon Court of Appeals to protect the lower Clackamas River and four runs of ESA listed salmon and steelhead there and supported a winning case in the Oregon Supreme Court that will focus fish passage across Oregon on the biological needs of fish.
- In the Rogue River Basin, WaterWatch passed important milestones in the projects to remove Fielder and Wimer Dams from Evans Creek, the fourth and eighth worst fish passage barriers in Oregon according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Removal will provide unimpeded access to almost 70 miles of high quality habitat upstream for migratory fish.
- On the Kilchis River, a pristine salmon and steelhead stream on the Oregon Coast, WaterWatch is challenging a proposal by a local city that would completely dry up the river in the summer, killing fish and everything that depends on the river.
Your support makes progress like this possible. Thank you!
The project to fix the Gold Hill Irrigation District's (GHID) diversion dam on the Rogue River will compliment and leverage the benefits to fish and the Rogue River from the recent removal of 4 major dams in the Rogue Basin - Savage Rapids Dam, Gold Ray Dam, Gold Hill Dam and Elk Creek Dam. The GHID project helps continue one of the most successful river restoration campaigns in the nation.
In 2011, WaterWatch and GHID entered into an agreement to secure funding to improve fish passage at the GHID dam and diversion on the Rogue River. WaterWatch secured a grant from Oregon and retained an engineer to develop designs. With the cooperation of GHID, and the input and review of a technical team, three alternatives were developed, and reviewed. With the support of the technical team, an alternative was selected by GHID to address the fish passage issues at its diversion.
In 2013, WaterWatch entered into a second agreement with GHID to assist in securing funding for implementation of the selected alternative. While some funding was secured, these funds turned out to be less than the bids that came in. The project was therefore broken down into two phases and the funds secured were used to implement key components of the project in 2014. This past summer, a fish salvage operation was conducted. Then, construction proceeded to install pipe and modify the diversion to make it friendly for salmon and steelhead and to modernize the water diversion. The project also includes improtant public safety improvements that will allow for safer access to the Rogue River in this area. Finally, the project will leave more water in the Rogue River in the vicinity of the diversion.
This first phase is now completed and WaterWatch is continuing to work with GHID to secure the additional funds needed to complete Phase II of the project as originally designed in 2015.
We need your help to complete this ecologically important project in 2015.
Your support protects and restores streamflows in Oregon's rivers, helps remove obsolete dams and secures balanced water polices for the state of Oregon. Need evidence of the impact of your donation? Read on.
Since our last report WaterWatch has the following accomplishments to report:
McKenzie River: WaterWatch stopped an attempt to acquire 22 million gallons of water per day from the river at the expense of native fish in the McKenzie.
Malheur Lakes Basin: WaterWatch challenged Oregon's giveaway of groundwater that may affect lakes and springs needed by migratory birds at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Why do we say "may affect"? Because Oregon lacks the data to know if the groundwater giveaway is sustainable or will injure surface waters in the refuge, yet continues to approve more groundwater rights in the area.
Klamath Basin: WaterWatch challenged the failure of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to complete by a statutory deadline comprehensive conservation plans at the National Wildlife Refuges in the Klamath Basin. WaterWatch also released a report that documents how these refuges, some of the most important in the nation for migratory birds, could receive water using existing water rights.
Rogue Basin: WaterWatch continued to pass milestones on the project to remove obsolete Wimer and Fielder Dams from Evans Creek and restore fish passage to up to 70 miles of high quality habitat for steelhead and salmon.
N. Fork Smith River: WaterWatch joined 17 groups in challenging a proposed nickel mining operation in the headwaters streams of the N. Fork Smith River.
Fish Passage Standards: WaterWatch participated in an Oregon Supreme Court victory that clarified requirements for fish passage at small dams across the state. Now, passage will be based on the biological needs of fish.
These are just a few of the accomplishments we can report from the past four months. Your support makes these types of accomplishments possible. Thank you for protecting and restoring Oregon's rivers.