Agreement Reached in Spotted Frog Lawsuit
The parties involved in a lawsuit intended to protect the Oregon spotted frog have come to a settlement agreement, which now awaits approval by a U.S. District Court judge. WaterWatch of Oregon and the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit late last year, alleging that operations at the Crane Prairie, Crescent and Wickiup reservoirs were causing harm to the spotted frog—listed as "threatened" by the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs had asked for immediate changes at the reservoirs, a request that Judge Ann Aiken denied because they would have disrupted water supplies for thousands of households. Instead, Judge Aiken ordered the parties to work on a settlement.
Settlement discussions between the plaintiffs, five central Oregon irrigation districts and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began in June. Under the groups' new agreement, the irrigation districts will ensure a minimum instream flow of 100 cubic feet per second in the Upper Deschutes River from mid-September to March. The Bureau of Reclamation, meanwhile, is committing to fulfill its ESA obligations related to the spotted frog by July 2017. When the settlement is approved, the groups will drop the lawsuits.
"The settlement agreement demonstrates that collaborative, science-based solutions can be achieved when all parties work together," said Mike Britton, president of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, which represents eight irrigation districts in the Deschutes Basin.
Meanwhile, Gail Snyder of the Coalition for the Deschutes issued this statement Monday: "The Oregon Spotted Frog is just one canary in the coal mine telling us that the Deschutes River is unhealthy. As with other rivers throughout the western US, the past century of diverting and damming rivers has caused considerable damage to fisheries and other wildlife. In Central Oregon, we are still using archaic irrigation infrastructure and operating under laws that work against mindful use and sharing of water.
"It's time to modernize the entire irrigation system and enact responsible policies that simultaneously support irrigated agriculture and sound stewardship of our natural resources."
Equine Outreach Announces New Board
Bend-based nonprofit Equine Outreach is announcing the formation of a new board of directors, after the organization's entire board resigned in early October. According to a report from KTVZ, the six former board members collectively quit over a dispute over the direction of the organization. Additionally, the former board members accused Equine Outreach's founders of mixing personal and nonprofit related funds, according to the KTVZ report.
The new board members include president Bill Inman of the outdoor start-up Cairn, vice president Mary Shrauger, secretary-treasurer Treana Henley, and directors Nancy Baldrick and Debbie Kendrick.
New Report Offers Insights into Malheur-Style Patriot Actions in Oregon
A new report is shedding light on the Patriot Movement and other paramilitary group actions in the state of Oregon and beyond. With the acquittal of Ammon Bundy and six others in a Portland courtroom last week, many have been left wondering about the mechanisms that fueled that 41-day standoff, aimed at challenging federal land-use laws. In an attempt to shed light on the issue, the Rural Organizing Project and Political Research Associates issued a 200-page report titled, "Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon's Patriot Movement."
The report, released in mid-October, was authored by members of the social justice group Political Research Associates, as well as two University of Oregon professors and a co-director of the Rural Organizing Project. In addition to providing information about the actions of paramilitary organizations, the report offers guidance for communities looking to counteract the efforts of militia groups. Download the report at politicalresearch.org.