Oregon WildBlogOregon Wild Blog RSS
News, notes, trip reports, and the lighter side (of the wilder side) of the Oregon environmental and conservation movement.
In a strange twist, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) has become the greatest impediment to the proposed removal of Klamath River dams.
The billion-dollar KBRA isn't going anywhere, gives false hope to interests which would benefit from it, and is causing state and federal agencies to ignore worsening conditions for wildlife and endangered species in the basin for fear of upsetting the deal.
As long as there appears to be some hope for the KBRA and the money that would come with it in Congress, government agencies and stakeholders in the Klamath Basin will continue to allow PacifiCorp to continue with their fish-killing status quo. No Act of Congress is necessary to remove the dams.
YES! Lower & warmer flows, higher temps, and drier ground. Climate change in the Klamath brings rough predictions for the basin's fish, wetlands, and wildlife.
[This summer Oregon Wild has had the great pleasure of hosting a handful of outstanding interns. Supportive of both our development and conservation programs, they’ve been doing research, outreach, and more. Among the tasks our Healthy Rivers intern, Dylan Cerling, completed this summer was a summary of recent research on climate change impacts to the Klamath Basin, including the latest study be the University of Oregon and National Center for Conservation Science and Policy. Below is Dylan’s helpful, but frightening summary on what we might expect in the Klamath. (This summary is not for public use or reproduction.)]
Both the causes and effects of climate change are complex; models by their very nature may fail to account for certain processes or predict certain outcomes. However, models consistently suggest that the net effect of climate change on fish and wildlife, and their habitats in the Klamath Basin will be harmful, as water levels both drop and become more variable, and stream temperatures rise.
By the year 2100, anthropogenic global climate change is, depending on regulatory actions, estimated to raise global temperatures from 1.1 to 6.4 degrees C. While the Klamath Basin has temperatures and precipitation levels that vary widely according to geography and season, it is a generally dry region and climate change is expected to exacerbate this status. Predictions of yearly precipitation are variable under different models; but even so, all models agree that warmer season precipitation will decline.
Awesome video culminating an amazing journey for the iconic northwest fish.
Got an e-mail from Save Our Wild Salmon today with a pretty amazing video.
Most of us have heard about the unbelievable journey that many salmon take to return to their spawning grounds. These native salmon travel from the ocean to the same river where they hatched. On the way, they have quite a bit to overcome.
Some of the obstacles blocking the return of salmon are man made. Massive dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and dozens of dams on tributary streams change the migration routes for salmon in astonishing ways. These fish also have to swim through polluted streams and past gill-nets.
Other obstacles are natural. Check out the video after the jump.
A couple of interesting anecdotes from the dammed rivers in Oregon.
Back in 1994, Oregon Wild (then ONRC) released our 15 Damnable Dams report. The cover was emblazoned with this quote:
"Historically, questions about dams have been limited to where or whether to build them in the first place. Given what we now know, it is time to change the terms of the debate. It is time to ask whether or not existing dams should be allowed to remain."
Since publication of the Damnable Dams report, we've seen progress and stagnation in the fight to remove large dams in Oregon. In a three-year dam busting binge that would make Ed Abbey proud, Savage Rapids Dam and Gold Hill Dam on the main stem Rogue River and Elk Creek Dam on a major tributary have all been demolished. And this year, Gold Ray Dam is expected to get yanked. Once that happens, Lost Creek Dam will be the only major dam on the Rogue River allowing it to flow freely below Lost Creek for 157 miles to the ocean.
Could Savage Rapids dam removal teach us something about the Klamath?
This past weekend boaters cautiously enjoyed a new stretch of the Rogue River. Where Savage Rapids Dam (the number one fish-killer on the Rogue River) once stood is a new set of Class II rapids, with enough bumps and drops to remind the river’s first boaters that this is indeed, the Rogue.
The Savage Rapids Dam experience took WaterWatch expert, Bob Hunter over 20 years. Bob reflects on the time it took to remove the dam in a recent profile the Medford Mail Tribune did on the longtime Oregon attorney, “I kept thinking we had something in place to start moving forward, then it would get derailed.” Hunter likens the experience to a see-saw. Dam removal processes are certainly not simple, speedy processes. They take time, funding, and years of negotiation to successfully manage the needs of diverse stakeholders. However, what Hunter’s experience indicates is that there is indeed a way to get to dam removal without sacrificing the ecological integrity of a region.
Surviving the scorcher by taking a dip, how to cool down on a global scale, a call to support national parks, responsible hiking, and playing with mud
Beat the heat
As the promised heat wave arrives in Oregon these next few days, be sure to prepare yourself properly to conquer the scorcher. If you're heading into the great outdoors, wear lightweight breathable clothing, carry plenty of water, and protect yourself from the sun by staying covered and using sunscreen. You can also try shadier locations for your hikes and outings as well as those in higher altitudes to try to escape the heat down below.
If you're looking for a swimming hole to cool down in, check out those listed in Lane County, but be sure to do so responsibly. Don't bring glass bottles to these locations, but again be sure to bring water to stay hydrated. I discovered my favorite swimming hole, Pegleg falls, during last summer's heated August. A beautiful and cool spot near Mount Hood’s Bagby Hot Springs, this gem is typically fairly quiet and the deep and clear water is stunningly blue and beautiful. With a few shallower swimming spots and plenty of area surrounding the water for sitting and relaxing, Pegleg offers a great place for family and friends.
OSU's dam tool, saving krill to save others, using the water you've already got, eliminating invasives, the power of green, and how-to's: stop ghost fishing, float down a river, and photograph encounters with wildlife.
OSU tool would've been handy for Oregon
Oregon Researchers are creating a tool to evaluate the collective impacts of dam construction to be used in China. The IDAM, which stands for Integrative Dam Assessment Modeling, would estimate all the effects of building a dam on water quality, biodiversity and more. This smart invention from Oregon's own would have come in handy in the past.
Old growth habitats and the fear of fire, bird watchings, a butterfly tale, wild rapids, and the political dams.
Old growth habitats provide protection
Recent studies report that spotted owl habitat is not more prone to forest fire, which the Bush administration tried to contend as reasoning for ramping up old growth logging. By looking at satellite images, scientists have decided that an increase in forest thinning may not be the answer, and the argument that the spotted owl's habitat can be ignored because logging must happen to prevent forest fires has been disproved.
Money in motion, rare wildlife, the legislation-conservation dance, and Oregon wildflowers
Money makes the world (and conservation) go round
Federal stimulus money is going to fund the removal of the Gold Ray dam on the Rogue River. Similar to the Elk Creek dam, recently removed thanks to a decades long struggle by Oregon Wild and others, the Gold Ray dam project has recently done little more than cost the state money and hinder salmon and steelhead spawning streams. The dam may finally be removed to the great relief of Oregon Wild and many salmon and steelhead.
In the same vein, Sisters Rocks (not that Sisters...this one is a little further south) has recently become a state park thanks to the portion of lottery funds dedicated to salmon and parks. Just south of Port Orford on Highway 101, this unpopulated, hidden sea cave makes for a fun and beautiful outing in a new small coastal park.
Ready to take up our spot in Jack London Square for Round 2.
Going with some lighter clothes as we prepare for the day. Seems like sun will be shining just as strong as yesterday. Looking forward to more conversations with interested folks.
As things were winding down last night I had the chance to talk to an interested couple of folks who had just traveled through Oregon and wanted to know what the story was with all the clear cuts. Unfortunately, Oregon is not only known for good camping spots (which I have heard alot) but also for rampant scarred hillsides.
The clear-cuts did lead us to an interesting discussion about harnessing the power and interest of rural communities to get work done in the forest that would improve conditions and restore the forest. We were essentially talking about the Siuslaw model and these two Californians had stumbled across it just by thinking about it for a little while. No wonder we call it the Common Sense vision.
On our way to Jack London soon.