OCHOCO IRRIGATION DISTRICT: Responsible stewardship of water supplies for farms and fish
August 11, 2022
By Bruce Scanlon
There are still some around who remember what things were like in the Prineville valley before the construction of Bowman Dam was completed in 1961. Government reports from 1903 and earlier noted how small and warm and stagnant the Crooked River was in this region during the summer. Locals say that before 1960, the Crooked River in the Prineville valley supported no trout during the summer because the flow was so low and warm.
Prineville Reservoir changed all this and made possible one of the finest trout fisheries in Central Oregon and one of the state's top five most visited reservoirs. The normal summertime flow of the Crooked River from Prineville Reservoir to town is cool, clear, abundant and is that way only because irrigated agriculture built the reservoir to store the cold, large, winter/spring flows for release during the summer. This is not the case this year.
As everyone is well aware, the past three years of drought have been extraordinarily difficult for farmers in the region. OID patrons were allocated only 25% of their water right this year. Districts that rely primarily or exclusively on live flow are ending up significantly short, while districts that also use stored water have had to rely on those supplies earlier and more extensively than normal. OID relies mainly on stored water in both Prineville and Ochoco Reservoirs. In the end, this prolonged drought means less water for farmers, fish and wildlife.
West Nile virus detected in E. Oregon mosquitoes
August 11, 2022
By Jayson Jacoby
West Nile virus, which was recently detected for the first time in 2022 in mosquitoes in Baker County, has been confirmed in two more batches of mosquitoes.
The two latest positive tests, like the first, were in mosquitoes trapped in the Keating Valley about 15 miles east of Baker City, according to the Baker Valley Vector Control District.
That 200,000-acre area includes most of Baker, Keating and Bowen valleys.
NCBA seeks college students for convention internships
August 10, 2022
By Carol Ryan Dumas
College students interested in the cattle industry can get a behind-the-scenes experience as interns Feb. 1-3 at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is again offering college students internships to work the convention while networking with cattle producers and other industry stakeholders.
Up to 18 interns will be selected and will be responsible for setting up the demonstration arena, assisting at committee meetings and Cattlemen’s College, participating in the NCBA booth, and posting on social media.
Student interns must be able to work Jan. 29 through Feb. 4, provide their own transportation to New Orleans and be at least a junior-level college student at an accredited university at the time of the event.
Scientists use gene-editing in cereal crops to boost yields without nitrogen fertilizer
August 10, 2022
By Mateusz Perkowski
Scientists have developed a gene-editing strategy that allows cereal crops to benefit from bacteria that pull nitrogen from thin air.
The discovery has the potential to decrease farm input costs and water pollution by making wheat, corn, rice and other crops less dependent on synthetic fertilizers, according to researchers.
“It’d be convenient to reduce the amount of nitrogen applied to the soil. It’s the most important expense farmers have,” said Eduardo Blumwald, a plant biology professor at the University of California-Davis. “Given the negative effects of fertilizer to our environment, whatever you can reduce is welcome.”
Do we have enough water in Oregon? It depends who you ask
August 9, 2022
By Michael Kohn
Ask a few Oregonians if their state has enough water to meet its needs and you may get some varying answers. The differing views on the question may be tilted based on where people live, or even their gender.
Roughly half of all Oregonians (48%) agree there is enough water in Oregon to meet current needs while 37% disagree and 15% are unsure, according to a survey conducted by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, a Portland-based nonprofit.
This number has shifted over the past 12 months — a year ago 56% of Oregonians said their state had enough water to meet current needs.
Some Oregon winemakers cut costs by making energy upgrades
August 9, 2022
By Sierra Dawn McClain
Last year, John Paul, winemaker at Cameron Winery in Yamhill County, Ore., got a call.
It was from Luis Morales, an outreach specialist for Energy Trust of Oregon, a nonprofit that helps businesses save on energy costs. Morales asked Paul if he would like a free energy study — for an expert to visit his winery to look for ways he could cut energy use.
Paul had already worked with Energy Trust several years prior to install solar panels at his winery, so he welcomed the visit to identify additional energy-saving opportunities.
During Morales’ visit, the specialist discovered that Paul’s heating and cooling systems were old and inefficient, so he recommended that the winemaker install new ductless mini-split heat pumps that could both heat and cool spaces and keep storage rooms at a more consistent temperature, better controlling the wine-aging process.
Idaho drought likely to linger into new water year
August 9, 2022
By Brad Carlson
Much of Idaho likely will remain in some level of drought when the water year ends on Sept. 30.
Erin Whorton, a water supply specialist at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Boise, said about 68% of the state is drier than normal, and 45% remains in moderate to severe drought.
Some relief came with the wet weather last spring. But the hot, dry summer in much of the state leaves little time to make up ground before the water year ends, she said.
The dry pattern “really doesn’t let us get out of drought until we get into the wetter fall and winter months,” Wharton said.
Season of change comes for Oregon Farm Bureau's Dave Dillon
August 5, 2022
By Mateusz Perkowski
If changes in leadership are comparable to shifting seasons, Dave Dillon reckons he’s had a “very long, full season” at the Oregon Farm Bureau.
After 20 years at the state ag group’s helm, Dillon has taken a job at Food Northwest, a regional organization representing food processors.
“The hardest time to leave can also be the best time to leave,” he said.
Dillon figures the organization is in solid shape for whoever replaces him as executive vice president — financially strong, with a “fantastic” roster of staff members and elected leaders, he said.
As Food Northwest’s executive director, he expects to deal with “ag-adjacent” issues, such as labor shortages and environmental regulations, that are substantially similar but one step downstream in the food supply chain.
District a 'beacon of hope' for other irrigators
August 5, 2022
By Molly Cruse
Cheers and claps rippled through a crowd of farmers, district managers, and public officials when Marc Thalacker, executive director of the Three Sisters Irrigation District, announced that the first steelhead made its way to Sisters last year.
Thalacker said that the fish was eaten by a bald eagle shortly after making its way up the flowing Whychus Creek.
The announcement was one of many anecdotal success stories shared at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the district’s third hydropower plant.
The modernization of the Three Sisters irrigation system has been 25 years in the making. Since 1997, Thalacker has spearheaded this transformation by initiating partnerships and collaborating with government agencies, farmers, nonprofits and the community.
Groups seek pause in long-running Columbia River Basin salmon dispute
August 4, 2022
By Todd Milbourn
A legal dispute over the impact of hydroelectric dams on salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin has been winding its way through federal court for more than 25 years.
It’s been on hold for the past year while stakeholders develop a long-term plan that protects fish while safeguarding the region’s power system.
On Thursday, a coalition of tribes, environmental groups and the U.S. government asked a federal judge for another year to craft that vision.
Hermiston Irrigation District manager celebrates 20 years of service
August 3, 2022
By Shannon Golden
Hermiston Irrigation District Manager Annette Kirkpatrick just celebrated 20 years with the district.
In the last two decades, Kirkpatrick remained one of the few female district leaders in the state, and has made continuous strides towards modernizing the region’s irrigation systems.
Kirkpatrick is the only full-time female district manager in Oregon. Still, she credited fellow female leaders in the irrigation industry — and managers across the state — for fostering a collaborative environment.
$34 million system upgrade for Jefferson County irrigation district open for public comments
August 3, 2022
By Michael Kohn
A Jefferson County irrigation district project that will upgrade and modernize portions of its water delivery system has entered a public comment period that will conclude on Aug. 10.
The public is currently allowed to comment on a draft Watershed Plan Environmental Assessment for the project, which will install 27.5 miles of gravity-pressurized, buried pipe along the North Unit Irrigation District’s laterals 31, 32, 34, and 43. Laterals are the ditches that deliver water to farms.
These laterals were chosen for upgrading after studies showed they had some of the highest water loss in the system.
“These are the projects that will give us the most bang for our buck,” Josh Bailey, North Unit’s district manager, said during an information session about the project.
Feds to fund restoration of aquatic habitats, watersheds: East Fork Irrigation District in HR receives $2,000,000 grant
August 2, 2022
Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have announced a total of $3,052,940 in federal funding is headed to three projects across the state to combat record drought conditions. The investments are intended to safeguard local water supplies in response to extreme drought and weather events.
East Fork Irrigation District in Hood River received $2,000,000 for the Oanna & Yasui Sublateral Efficiency Project, said a press release.
USDA argues against prohibiting organic hydroponics
August 2, 2022
By Mateusz Perkowski
The USDA is urging a federal appeals court to reject arguments that organic crops must be grown in soil and never with hydroponic production methods.
Critics claim that organic certification should be revoked from hydroponic operations because they cannot foster soil fertility as required by law.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals must now decide whether a lawsuit opposed to hydroponics in organic agriculture was wrongly dismissed last year.
Several soil-based organic farms and affiliated nonprofit groups have asked the 9th Circuit to overturn the judge’s conclusion that hydroponic operations don’t need to comply with the soil-building requirement of organic law.
New state meat inspection program will combat supply chain delays, lower prices
August 1, 2022
By Alex Baumhardt
Oregon meat eaters are likely to have access to more local beef and other products and at cheaper prices with a new program that will localize meat inspections.
The program will expand the state’s processing capacity, allowing the Oregon Department of Agriculture to inspect meat that’s produced and sold within the state. Before, only the U.S. Department of Agriculture could conduct such inspections. But it’s had a shortage of inspectors, especially during the pandemic, giving Oregon ranchers limited options for processing meat from their livestock. Oregon has 13 USDA facilities, and they’re booked years out.
On July 28, the USDA gave the Oregon Department of Agriculture the ability to start its own testing program, as long as the standards equal those of the federal agency.
Heat wave puts Oregon workplace safety rules to the test
By Monica Samayoa and Bradley W. Parks
July 29, 2022
Skyler Fischer is forklift driver at a Fred Meyer distribution center in the town of Clackamas. He’s been working there for 12 years and works at least four days a week, 10 to 12 hours each day. Fischer said he gets two 15-minute breaks each shift.
On Tuesday, when temperatures soared to 102 degrees Fahrenheit in the Portland metro area, Fischer said he was drained. He said the warehouse has no air conditioning, no ceiling fans or any type of air circulation in the building. He said the only time he can cool down is during his lunch break when he gets to eat inside an air-conditioned office.
“Usually, I get home and I do stuff, but I just collapsed on the couch pretty much because I’m so exhausted,” he said.
In May, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division adopted permanent rules to protect workers laboring in excessive heat or wildfire smoke. They are some of the nation’s strongest protections for employees working outdoors or in workplaces without air conditioning.
Release No.: 2022-08-001
USDA Increases Funding for Partnerships to Safeguard, Restore Wetland Ecosystems
PORTLAND, Ore., August 3, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $20 million in fiscal 2023 to help conservation partners nationwide protect and restore critical wetlands through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP). USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is prioritizing proposals that support efforts to mitigate climate change by restoring wetlands while also prioritizing assistance to underserved communities. Last year, NRCS funded $11 million in partnerships. Proposals from partners are due Sept. 23, 2022.
“Restoring and protecting wetlands can improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, benefit tribal interests including hunting, fishing, and gathering, and help address climate change. Partnerships are absolutely essential to this work,” said Ron Alvarado, NRCS State Conservationist in Oregon. “Our partners can help connect us with historically underserved communities here in Oregon and across the country, and these projects can also expand equity in conservation opportunities.”
Restored wetlands help to improve water quality downstream, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce impacts from flooding and provide recreational benefits. The most sought-after lands for the WREP program are referred to as “marginal,” meaning they do not produce to their full capacity due to repeat flooding or standing water. Removing marginal lands from production can provide economic benefits for agricultural landowners while also restoring the wetlands to accomplish their full functions and values.
Through WREP projects, eligible conservation partners protect, restore and enhance high-priority wetlands on agricultural lands. WREP enables effective integration of wetland restoration on working agricultural landscapes, providing meaningful benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program and to the communities where the wetlands exist.
WREP will continue to prioritize enrollment of historically underserved landowners in its ranking of proposals. This includes proposals that:
· Target places with historically underserved producers;
· Focus outreach to historically underserved producers;
· Provide assistance with application materials and helping resolve heirs’ property and title issues.
Partners target outreach and enrollment priorities supported by NRCS, including places impacted by natural disasters. Eligible partners include Tribes, state and local governments and non-government organizations. WREP partners are required to contribute a financial or technical assistance fund match.
This WREP funding is for fiscal year 2023, which begins on Oct. 1, 2022.
How to Apply: Partners interested in applying should contact their NRCS state office for more information. Proposals are due by Sept. 23, 2022.
Partners looking to learn more about opportunities for WREP funding for fiscal year 2023 are encouraged to attend the virtual WREP workshop on Aug. 17, 2022, at 1 p.m. Eastern. Contact Lisa McCauley at firstname.lastname@example.org for the login information. The webinar will be recorded and available for any partners unable to attend.
More Information: WREP is part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which is a Farm Bill conservation program. Through WREP, states, local units of government, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with NRCS through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
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Reclamation approves $865,480 to five western states for drought contingency planning grants to improve long-term drought resiliency
Media Contact: Chelsea Kennedy 702-280-2824 email@example.com
For Release: Aug 2, 2022
As the western United States faces unprecedented severe drought conditions, the Bureau of Reclamation is announcing the award of six drought planning activities for 2022 WaterSMART: Drought Contingency Planning grants. This program provides federal cost-share funds for entities to develop and update comprehensive drought plans, employing a proactive approach to build long-term resiliency to drought.
“The American West is experiencing a historic drought, fueled by climate change,” said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “These projects are part of the Department’s strategy to tackle the long-term challenge of climate change - while we take emergency actions to address immediate challenges, we are investing in our communities to develop measures to improve long-term drought resiliency”
“Supporting drought planning efforts is an essential part of maintaining and modernizing our nation’s water infrastructure and promoting drought resiliency, water security, and climate change adaptation," said Deputy Commissioner of Operations David Palumbo. “With the current state of persistent drought in the West, these grants will help support communities in planning for their future water use.”
The selected projects support drought planning development and updates to help meet the unprecedented drought conditions in the West. These projects will support these communities in building drought resiliency by planning for and preparing for drought through monitoring and prioritization of mitigation and response actions to protect vulnerable resources during times of drought.
· City of Kingman, located in Mohave County, Arizona, will use $100,000 in federal funds to develop a new drought contingency plan. The plan will improve water supply reliability for the City of Kingman that currently utilizes groundwater from the Hualapai Basin and is experiencing exceptional and unprecedented drought conditions. Total Project Cost is $200,000
· Three Valleys Water Municipal District, in Eastern Los Angeles County, will use $200,000 in federal funds to develop a new drought contingency plan. Three Valleys Water Municipal District has had severe restrictions to portions of its service area. The new Drought Contingency Plan will address the region’s concerns with drought and leverage existing and in-progress member agency planning efforts. Total Project Cost is $400,000
· Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, in Montrose, Colorado will use $200,000 in federal funds to develop a new drought contingency plan to evaluate new approaches for water shortage contingency plan actions, review climate conditions, and develop a response framework for irrigation and municipal deliveries during future drought conditions. Total Project Cost is $400,000
· Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, in Gunnison, Colorado will use $140,480 in federal funds to develop a new drought contingency plan to address extended drought, build long-term resilience in the basin, and provide a framework for sustainable water management. Total Project Cost: $306,620
· City of Roswell, located in Chaves County, New Mexico, will use $200,000 in federal funds to develop a new drought contingency plan to increase their water reliability and improve water management through conservation, expanded technologies, and improved modeling capabilities. This planning effort will work in tandem with Roswell’s 2021 Water Conservation Plan. Total Project Cost: $400,000
· Santiam Water Control District in Stayton, Oregon will use $25,000 in federal funds to update their existing drought contingency plan to address emerging concerns, improve the drought monitoring process, incorporate new mitigation actions, and streamline the operational and administrative framework and plan update process. Total Project Cost: $50,000
For more than 100 years, Reclamation and its partners have developed sustainable water and power solutions for the West. These grants are part of the Department of the Interior's WaterSMART Program which focuses on collaborative efforts to plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability. Reclamation continues focus on short- and long-term actions to respond to the historic drought conditions across the West, using existing authorities and partnerships to provide immediate relief while investing in infrastructure and research opportunities to build climate resiliency and find innovative strategies to address future hydrologic changes due to climate change.
For more information about the program, please visit Drought Response Program website.
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Release No.: 2022-07-005
USDA Searching for Innovations in Climate-Smart Agriculture and Soil Health
PORTLAND, Ore., July 26, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today it will invest $25 million this year for the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program.
Through CIG, partners work to address our nation's water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations. The On-Farm Trials component of CIG supports widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. This year’s funding priorities are climate-smart agricultural solutions, irrigation water management, nutrient management and soil health.
“Through science and innovation, we can develop solutions to tackle the climate crisis, conserve and protect our water, enhance soil health, and create economic opportunities for producers,” said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Through On-Farm Trials, partners can work directly with farmers and ranchers to test and adopt new strategies on agricultural lands, accelerating the development and application of conservation that works for producers and the land."
For FY 2022, to ensure that equity is incorporated in the planning and delivery of On-Farm Trials, at least 10% of the total funds available for On-Farm Trials are set aside for proposals that entirely benefit historically underserved (HU) producers. Additionally, applicants competing for the HU set-aside can waive non-federal match requirements.
Applications for On-Farm Trials are being accepted now through September 22, 2022. Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture, nongovernmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers, and non-federal government agencies are eligible to apply. For more information and to apply, visit grants.gov.
About CIG On-Farm Trials
On-Farm Trials projects feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.
The Soil Health Demonstration Trial (SHD) component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on conservation practices implementation and systems that improve soil health.
A critical element of each On-Farm Trials project is evaluation. Partners must propose robust scientific approaches to their On-Farm Trials, resulting in data and analyses of the environmental, financial and, to the extent possible, social impacts of the trials.
NRCS intends to use the results of On-Farm Trials project evaluations and analyses to explore the development of new NRCS business practices, guidance documents, technical tools and conservation practice standards or modifications to existing ones.
For more information about the Conservation Innovation Grants program, visit the NRCS website.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
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OWEB Drought Relief Grant Program – Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering Grant Offering
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board sent this bulletin at 07/20/2022 01:22 PM PDT
OWEB now is accepting applications for the Drought Relief – Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering grants. This funding is available to support livestock watering wells and the construction of off-channel water facilities in Klamath County. These grants are supported by General Funds from the Oregon Legislature. Funding is provided to assist irrigated pasture owners to move livestock watering facilities away from riparian areas. This minimizes grazing impacts on riparian areas and the dependency on in-stream water sources. At its January 2022 meeting, the OWEB Board approved receipt of General Funds for multiple Drought Relief grant types to be offered during the 2021-2023 biennium.
The deadline for the second grant cycle of the OWEB Drought Relief–Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering grants is 5 pm on September 1, 2022. Information about future grant cycles can be found on the webpage for this grant offering.
Eligible Area: Klamath County
Actions Eligible for Funding
· Well construction for livestock water, initial power hookups, and associated infrastructure for off-channel watering (e.g., solar or electric pumps, piping from the well to troughs/cisterns). Wells proposed in this grant offering are exclusively for off-channel livestock water. Domestic or irrigation wells are not eligible.
· Project design for well construction and off-channel watering infrastructure.
· Riparian exclusion fencing. Full exclusion is not required, but strongly encouraged.
· Modest costs for riparian planting efforts. Non-native plant control is allowed within the riparian buffer to assist in plant establishment, but this is not intended to be the primary source of funding.
· Development of a grazing management plan.
Eligible applicants include tribes, watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts, not-for-profit organizations, schools, community colleges, state institutions of higher education, independent not-for-profit institutions of higher education, and political subdivisions of the state that are not state agencies. A state agency or federal agency may apply for funding only as a co-applicant with one of the other eligible entities.
Important Considerations for This Grant Program
Please review the OWEB Drought Relief Grant Program – Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering Grant Overview and Guidance document. This document outlines important information about the grant program structure and provides guidance that will help applicants determine if the proposed projects are appropriate for the OWEB Off-Channel Livestock Water Grant Program. Important considerations include, but are not limited to:
· OWEB strongly encourages local partners to coordinate activities to leverage the strengths of the partner organizations and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of on-the-ground work. Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to plan and implement successful actions over a relatively short timeframe (i.e., by June 30, 2023).
Questions? A recorded webinar was held on June 6th, 2022 to provide an overview of the Klamath Off-Channel Livestock Watering grant program.
OWEB is now accepting online applications for the Fall 2022 Open Solicitation Grant Offering
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board sent this bulletin at 07/28/2022 02:23 PM PDT
OWEB is now accepting online applications for the Fall 2022 Open Solicitation Grant Offering for the following grant types:
· Technical Assistance ($75,000 cap per project)
· Stakeholder Engagement
Please click on the grant type of interest for application requirements and login information. If you already have an Online Application login, you may access the application directly.
Grant applications are due October 31, 2022 by 5:00 pm and must be submitted via OWEB's Online Grant Application. The OWEB Board plans to make grant awards at the April 2023 meeting.
If you have questions about applying for an OWEB grant, please contact the Regional Program Representative for your area. If you are new to OWEB and our grant program, please visit OWEB’s website.
These grants support voluntary efforts by Oregonians to protect and restore healthy watersheds, including actions in support of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds and the Oregon Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. OWEB anticipates making available a combined total of over $12 million for Restoration, Technical Assistance, and Stakeholder Engagement projects through this solicitation. Funding is from Oregon Lottery revenue, federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Funds through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and revenue from the sale of Salmon License Plates.
Thank you for your interest in watershed restoration and protection!
Eric Williams Grant Program Manager