Since Aug. 7th, there’s been one ecological disaster after another as the Winchester Water Control District (WWCD) made repairs to the dilapidated Winchester Dam to the minimum extent necessary to address public safety issues. Sadly, their cheap-as-possible approach came with near-maximum environmental damage.
The last several weeks have seen:
- A massive fish kill of Pacific Lamprey as a result of the repair process, in which upwards of hundreds of thousands of fish died.
- Mats made from old vehicle tires, likely containing a compound lethal to salmon and steelhead, were placed in the river and driven over again and again with heavy equipment.
- Blocked passage for native migratory fish, including imperiled, iconic Summer Steelhead.
- Wet concrete dumped into the waters of the North Umpqua, likely changing the river’s PH level and harming or killing fish and habitat downstream.
Thankfully, this ecological disaster is coming to an end. Fish passage is being restored, and native migratory fish will once again be able to access the 160 miles of habitat upstream.
Please consider testifying on Friday, 9/15 to the ODFW Commission asking the commission to investigate these reported violations and, if substantiated, bring enforcement action to the fullest extent possible. The meeting will be held in Bend starting at 8am (location of meeting). Folks must register to testify by 8am on Wednesday, 9/13, under the topic of public forum (link to register – check agenda item “other”).
In addition, please take action by asking the Governor and the ODFW Commission to investigate these reported violations and, if they are substantiated, to bring enforcement action to the fullest extent possible at this link: https://nativefishsociety.org/action-alerts/ask-odfw-commission-to-hold-wincester-water-control-district-accountable.
If you have any questions about testifying or how to submit comments, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email.
Thank you for standing up for the North Umpqua River!