Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Water nurtures us
I want to challenge some of the reasons Rep. Greg Walden gives for his support of reforms to the Endangered Species Act or ESA (Hood River News, Sept. 28). Yes, the 2001 federal decision to curtail irrigation in the Klamath Basin may have been unnecessary and unsupported scientifically. But the lesson from the Klamath is not that the ESA needs major reform.
It is the water is over-appropriated in this basin as it is in much of the West. In dry years in the Klamath, there is simply not enough water to meet the competing needs of farmers, fishermen, conservationists, power companies, and municipalities.
Consider what happened in 2002 in Klamath, when another dry winter produced water shortfalls for a second summer in a row. That year, the federal government decided to meet irrigation demands in full and reduce flows to the river instead. A mass fish kill of at least 20,000 salmon occurred downstream later that summer. The consensus of the scientific community was that this mass die-off resulted from a combination of factors including the low river flows. The 2002 season was as great a tragedy for the families of Native Americans and fishing communities as the previous season was for Klamath farmers. The long-term solution for the Klamath is to reduce agricultural use of water, by far the largest water user in the basin. This could be done through the retirement of marginal farm lands on a willing-seller basis. This is the only solution that provides adequate water for all interests.
The conflict in the Klamath illustrates a problem that exists all over the West. Historically, the needs of fish and wildlife were never considered when waters were allocated among competing users. As a result, rivers and streams were left dry and fish and wildlife populations plummeted in many areas.
The sorry state of our rivers is one of the primary reasons that a strong ESA is still needed today. A healthy, rich environment is good for all of us, economically, physically, and spiritually.
Remove fruit trees
If Mr. (Randy) Olmstead desires to create a development for people who “don’t want to settle next to a farming operation” as stated in your newspaper on Oct. 5t, then why has he left 128 orchard size fruit trees standing on the lots? These trees will require several farming practices to keep them healthy and free of disease and pests.
Each tree will need to be irrigated and will use 2,250 gallons of water in a growing season. That is 288,000 gallons of water a year. The mini-orchards that he has created cannot be watered with a small yard sprinkler.
These trees will have to be pruned yearly to keep them at a somewhat manageable height. This cannot be accomplished with a 6-foot step ladder and a pair of hand clippers.
Most importantly, as required by a Hood River County ordinance, these 128 trees must be kept free of codling moth, fruit moth, psylla, scale, blight, scab and numerous other pests and diseases. With this number of large trees it is not feasible to spray effectively with a hand sprayer and the new property owners are probably not going to want a large orchard sprayer crossing over their new landscaping.
I feel fairly confident that if someone was to explain that it requires 10 spray applications a year to keep these trees pest free that the buyers would opt out of these mini-orchards on their property.
Please Mr. Olmstead, rethink your development. You are jeopardizing the growers in that area, because we have discovered that most property owners are unable to keep their fruit trees pest free. For every backyard tree that hosts codling moth, any grower within a two-mile radius has to increase his use of pesticides. It is very expensive and undermines the growers’ attempts to reduce their reliance on pesticides.
If you would remove these orchard trees and replace them with something other than fruit trees, you would be making such a positive contribution to this community: Less water, less pesticides and the thanks of the agricultural community.
Executive Director, Hood River
Last year our representative, Greg Walden, received $5,342 from Republican Leader Tom DeLay’s fundraising PAC. Last Monday a second grand jury in Texas indicted Tom DeLay on a money laundering charge related to a compaign finance scheme.
I am appalled at this wanton display of political corruption, but I am sadly not surprised that Greg Walden would be involved in the takings of such profits.
We read about his “love” for nature in our local papers, while in reality he is busily gutting the Endangered Species Act and rules that used to protect us from extreme corporate pollutions of our air and water. He pretends to be a friend of our agricultural community, but votes for big business every time.
He is a consummate politician and has found many media outlets for his propaganda. Apparently, he is also happy to receive tainted money from his friends in big government. Take another look at Greg Walden before we wake up to find him elected governor of Oregon.
Why, the nerve
Re: The letter from Carroll Davis of Oct. 5 (“Jail bosses too”.) The nerve of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld not treating suicidal terrorists with gentleness, kindness and understanding, plus comfortable couches for their therapy. Come on, Mr. President, lighten up! Just because the terrorists are taught from childhood to kill themselves and us doesn’t mean we can’t make them see the error of their ways.
W.H. Davis, Jr.