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Monday
Nov052012

Water Plan Threatens Oregon's Prineville Reservoir

 

If approved by Congress, a water allocation plan for Oregon’s Crooked River could damage both the fisheries and public access at Prineville Reservoir, according to Chuck Lang, conservation director for the Oregon B.A.S.S. Federation Nation.

“The speed and timing and volume of the drawdowns for salmon recovery have not been revealed to the public, but they are all critical elements that will determine the success or failure of the fisheries behind the dam,” he said.

“It will take only a few failed spawn periods to wipe out the largemouth bass population, for which there are no hatchery replacement fish available.”

Additionally, drawing as much water as the plan calls for would leave boat ramps useless until lengthened, he added, and, with a lower water column, boats and wind likely would stir up sediment, which has been accumulating for more than 50 years.

“The result will be algae blooms and an unusable lake for much of the summer and fall.”

Lang said that some in Oregon’s Congressional delegation share his concerns, but would be reluctant to say so publically because of political repercussions.

When the Crooked River Collaborative Water Security Act was introduced in Washington, D.C., it was hailed by many as a grand compromise that benefitted the city of Prineville, farmers, and wildlife.

“This bill ends 40 years of fighting and paralysis over water in the Prineville Reservoir. This is historic and a great opportunity for economic growth in the Crooked River region,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, one of the bill’s sponsors.

 “I thank all the stakeholders for their unflagging efforts to develop this agreement. This bill provides many benefits: the City of Prineville will have access to additional water that’s critical to support new industries; local farmers and ranchers will get more secure and expanded access to irrigation water; and additional water would be available to support fish and wildlife, including the world-class fly fishery and newly reintroduced steelhead.”

But Lang counters that bass and other warmwater anglers were not invited to participate in the planning process when it was moved from Prineville to Washington, D.C.

(Reprinted from B.A.S.S. Times.) 

Monday
Nov052012

President, Congress, Supreme Court Also Deserve Blame for Asian Carp Threat

Writing in the Great Lakes Echo, Gary Wilson makes a great point about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers being a convenient scapegoat for fact that Asian carp are perilously close to entering the Great Lakes --- or might have already:

We’re rapidly approaching the three-year anniversary of the discovery of Asian carp environmental DNA past electrical barriers designed to keep the carp out of Lake Michigan. That event triggered massive fish kills, lawsuits, a call for separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River and a flood of media exposure that shows no signs of abating.

Since then, the Army Corps of Engineers, proprietors of the barriers, insists they’ve been effective. Lawsuits brought by Michigan and other states requesting definitive and quicker action by the Army Corps continues to wind its way through the legal system. And studies to determine the feasibility and cost of physical separation are in process.

Through it all there has been one consistent theme: Blame the Army Corps of Engineers. Everyone needs a scapegoat it seems, and politicians, environmentalists, and editorial boards have found one in the Corps. The complaints: It’s too slow, bureaucratic, and even “clueless,” according to one editorial writer.

You’ll find no defense of the Corps here. It needs to be held accountable like everyone else. But the Army Corps is only a small part of a big federal picture charged with protecting the Great Lakes from Asian Carp. One policy analyst with years of Great Lakes experience recently made that case. Noah Hall says “all three branches of the federal government aren’t doing the job” when it comes to keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Read the full story here.

Thursday
Nov012012

Low Water Threatens Access, Navigation on Huron, Michigan, Superior

Top photo of Lake Michigan shoreline at Pere Marquette Park is from Oct. 12, 2012, while the lower is of the same location on July 20, 2011.

Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior all are dangerously close to all-time record lows.

Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns that if the current trend continues, these lakes will reach historic lows later this year or early in 2013. That could have serious negative implications for access and navigation, as well as the environmental health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

A mild winter with little snow followed by a hot summer with little rain likely is the biggest factor leading to these low-water conditions.

Read more here

Thursday
Nov012012

The Easier Way to Build a Fire

Let’s start with fire and then move to water (below) to reveal some interesting new products related to the outdoors.

FireStarters from Grate Chef allow you to build a charcoal or wood fire without lighter fluid or newspapers. Also, they’re odorless and tasteless and environmentally safe.

I’ve found them great for starting a campfire down by the lake on cool fall evenings. I just put one of the sealed packets in the kindling and light a corner. It will burn for about 10 minutes, which is plenty of time to get the wood blazing, even when it’s damp. Also, it burns clean, with no smell or funky-looking colors like I sometimes get from newspapers with colored ink.

Each pack contains six packets, with a three-pack selling here for $8.99.

Go here to see a video about FireStarters.

Thursday
Nov012012

Bedol Clock Runs on Water

On a planet that is mostly water, why not a water clock?

And that’s just what Bedol has created. It runs for about six months on 16 ounces of water, never needing batteries or electricity. It also offers a daily and hourly alarm and a memory chip that allows the time to be saved for two minutes while you are changing the water.

I have the Squirt model, which resembles a splash of water, is available in five colors, and retails for $26. And as someone who is severely challenged technologically, I found it about as simple as a digital device can be.

Mark Bedol, designer of the clock, says that his company is committed to do its part for the environment “by offering eco-friendly alternatives to everyday products.”

Go here to see a YouTube video about the water clock.

Now, how about a water wristwatch? I hate replacing batteries in watches.