Needs of farmers, salmon sought with new Columbia River water deal

February 15, 2013

The decades-long tug-of-war between farmers and environmentalists in Eastern Oregon’s Umatilla Basin eased Friday when they, along with tribal interests and government regulators, agreed to a “declaration of cooperation” on a handful of projects to increase irrigation water without hurting endangered salmon.

The deal signed Friday by Gov. John Kitzhaber and members of a taskforce comprised of competing interest groups includes water storage projects that could divert more Columbia River water in the winter, which is less detrimental to fish than spring and summer withdrawals.

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