Fall Instream Newsletter Arriving in Mailboxes Now as WaterWatch Launches "Currents" E-Mail Digest

Dear Friend,

Welcome to the inaugural edition of our "Currents" e-mail digest, a new bi-weekly round-up of the latest news, media, and goings-on with WaterWatch programs, cases, and more. Thank you for your ongoing support of WaterWatch of Oregon! Here's what's new:

Fall 2023 Newsletter
Our latest edition of Instream is in mailboxes now and packed with 16 pages of content including staff-penned pieces on our instream water right victory on the Crooked River, removal of Lovelace and Takelma dams in the Rogue Basin, this summer's environmental disasters at Winchester Dam and subsequent enforcement action, our Stream of Consciousness and Water Briefs columns, a recap of the year's legislative session in Salem, and more. If you haven't received your copy yet let us know, or download a PDF of Instream here.

WaterWatch Auction Photo Gallery
Our annual Celebration of Oregon Rivers at the World Forestry Center on Sept. 23rd was a huge success! Special thanks to our sponsors who stepped up to support WaterWatch, and thank you to the members, supporters and friends who made it such a fun night of auctioneering for some truly incredible auction packages. If you missed the photos from Nina Johnson Photography we shared earlier on social media, there's more in Instream, and you can access the full gallery of Nina's photographs through the end of the year.

Oregon Water Partnership
As the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) continues to develop updated groundwater allocation rules, WaterWatch of Oregon and the organizations of the Oregon Water Partnership voiced their support for the agency's data-driven process — and urge them to finalize and implement it ahead of further groundwater depletion in the state. As the Oregon Capital Chronicle noted in an article this week, "Many of Oregon's 20 groundwater basins are being sucked dry faster than water can naturally be replaced."


Groundwater and Development
WaterWatch executive director Neil Brandt spoke with the Redmond Spokesman last month about proposed groundwater allocation rules, and made it clear that while Oregon's 1955 Groundwater Act requires the state to sustainably manage groundwater resources, the law has seldom been put into practice. "For years the state was basically handing out blank checks for groundwater," Brandt told the paper. "They were giving permits out to tap groundwater where we didn’t even know if water was available." Read the full article here.


Drift Creek Victory
In a big win for WaterWatch and instream water rights earlier this month, the Oregon Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a 2019 decision to deny the construction of a 70-foot dam on Drift Creek, a tributary of the Pudding River in Marion County. As KOIN 6 in Portland and KLCC in Eugene reported, the dam would have blocked fish passage and the resulting reservoir would have drowned several family farms upstream. The dam proposal itself would have also violated an earlier instream water right secured for Drift Creek.


WaterWatch in The Osprey
WaterWatch's Southern Oregon Program Director Jim McCarthy authored a special report on Winchester Dam beginning on page 14 of the fall issue of The Osprey, one of the Pacific Northwest's most durable publications on the conservation, management, and habitat of wild Pacific salmon and steelhead. Covering the timeline from this summer's environmentally calamitous repairs on the dam to the state's subsequent enforcement actions, Jim's article also provides context and numbers on previous repair escapades and lax enforcement.

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