The effects of this year’s drought in the Pacific Northwest were ugly for many farmers growing malting barley in dryland regions east of the Cascades. Prolonged hot and dry weather shriveled the Oregon crop by 72%, from 2.1 million bushels last year to 608,000 bushels as yields tumbled from 72 to 32 bushels an acre, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
I’m concerned about a narrative circulating accusing Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID) of irresponsible irrigation management and shaming the district for being a senior water rights holder. The accusations aren’t based on science or facts, but rather on emotion and personal opinions.
The legal dispute pits the enforcement of state water rights against the federal government’s obligation to operate the Klamath irrigation project in compliance with the Endangered Species Act.
This summer’s heat wave in the Pacific Northwest brought temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit to Oregon, and that led to a condition called “foliage scorch,” in which leaves prematurely browned, said Chris Still, a professor at the Forest Ecosystems & Society department at Oregon State University.
The Oregon Farm Bureau has hired attorney Lauren Smith to serve as director of government affairs, lobbying on behalf of the state’s farmers and ranchers.
Kate Fitzpatrick, the executive director of the Deschutes River Conservancy, a nonprofit whose mission it is to restore water to the Deschutes River, said low flows in winter limit fish habitat and also create a disconnect with floodplain areas, impacting frog habitat and river function.
While economic assistance will be essential to address the impacts of closures and restrictions on our salmon fisheries, it is vitally important that federal, state, tribal, and local governments continue to work together to recover and restore salmon populations and develop management strategies to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of our salmon fisheries
The two districts, both starved for water since Wickiup Reservoir emptied in August, have access to water for about two weeks until the end of the irrigation season.
This opportunity for NUID comes as the Central Oregon Irrigation District shuts off its water for the season.