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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