Lower East Fork tops habitat restoration list


News staff writer

March 3, 2007

A Forest Service study lists the lower portion of the East Fork of the Hood River as the number one priority for restoring aquatic habitat.

The study encompassed 340 square miles in the Hood River Basin, which covers 12 individual watersheds.

The Hood River Watershed Group heard the details Tuesday night during their monthly meeting from Gary Asbridge, a fisheries biologist for the Mt. Hood National Forest. He was one of several contributors to the Hood River Basin Aquatic Habitat Restoration Strategy.

Fourteen groups pitched in money and resources as well. Among them were the East Fork, Middle Fork, and Farmer’s irrigation districts, the watershed group, the Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

The rankings were based on a model combining important river and stream reaches for fish, the quality and quantity of water for flow and impairment, and the relative condition of each watershed.

Their work looked at what needed to be done, how to do it and in what order to get the most “bang for the buck.”

“The Forest Service is using restoration plans in priority watersheds to focus limited dollars,” Asbridge said.

A priority watershed responds well to a variety of restoration approaches and supports listed or important fish species. The collaborative effort resulted in the Hood River watershed being rated higher by the agency for the group’s efforts.

“We get things done so it makes good sense to allocate funds and resources to the Hood River watershed (from the Forest Service),” Asbridge said.

The rating not only ranks one watershed against another in the Hood River Basin but across the Pacific Northwest. That is important in a time of limited dollars for such projects.

The completion of the strategy also coincides with the biennial revision of another plan for the area.

“The thing that is significant is it really plays into the update that is happening right now,” said Anne Saxby, SWCD’s director.

Every two years the group updates the Agricultural Water Quality Management area plan and rules. This report meets a state requirement with the Oregon Department of Agriculture through the work of a Local Area committee.

The final version has just been sent in to the state. This year the agriculture committee has included the Forest Service’s restoration strategy in its plan.

“It is different than anything we’ve done before,” Saxby said.

The immediate effect is that the watershed group will give more points to projects coming from the higher priority watersheds.

“We’ll actually apply a weighting based on that strategy,” Saxby said.

Project proposals must be submitted by March 31. Each year the group works with public and private landowners on projects that improve watershed health.

Because much of the land in the number one watershed lies in private ownership, the group wants landowners to know they can apply for project monies. It is not just limited to special districts or public agencies.

“That number one priority, the East Fork, is basically the whole upper valley,” Saxby said. “This (strategy) is predicated on the cooperation of landowners. We need to get the word out.”

For more information on applying for projects, contact the Hood River Watershed Group at 386-6063. For a look at the entire Forest Service strategy report, go to www.fs.fed.ur/r6/mthood/publications.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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