Watershed Group hosts groundwater and aquifer presentation

The Jan. 29 meeting of the Hood River Watershed Group will explore groundwater and aquifer issues and a planning effort for the valley that is about to get under way.

The presenter will be Jason Keller, local hydrogeologist with GeoSystems Analysis Incorporated, and member of the Hood River Water Planning Group.

Keller will discuss the current knowledge surrounding the Hood basin’s groundwater and sub-surface geology, the concept of artificial aquifer recharge and storage, and future efforts needed to assess those possibilities.

With basin stream flows forecasted to decline by 25 percent over the next 50 years, Hood River County and a long list of local partners known as the Hood River Water Planning Group have been actively working since fall 2008 to understand the Hood River basin’s surface and groundwater supplies, current water usage, impacts of climate change and glacier recession, and strategies for conserving water.

Armed with this information, the group will soon embark on developing a plan for water management, aimed at providing enough water for future human use, plus meeting the demands for fish, wildlife, recreation and other water dependent values, according to Steve Stampfli, watershed coordinator.

Since many of the basin’s streams are already partially depleted during the summer, there is growing interest in the use of wells and aquifer recharge for providing water for irrigation and other uses in the basin. Understanding how much groundwater is available will allow the WPG to gage whether wells and underground water storage are viable strategies for the future.

In other parts of the Gorge including Mosier, drilling of wells has resulted in significantly lowered aquifer levels, degraded groundwater quality, and reduced base flows to streams.

During a later portion of the program, Mattie Bossler of Hood River County will also be unveiling the Water Planning Group’s plans for developing a groundwater monitoring program, and soliciting the involvement of basin landowners

Since 1993, the Hood River Watershed Group has worked to sustain and improve the watershed through education, cooperation and stewardship. As part of a regular series of “stakeholder presentations,” this event represents one way that the group tries to expand communication, and ultimately facilitate better cooperation in solving the basin’s natural resource related challenges.

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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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