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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
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September 7, 1994     Hells Canyon Journal
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September 7, 1994
 

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Page 4 Hells Canyon Journal September 7, 1994 Lundqui Comes Through Dear Editor, I want to publicly express my thanks to Lynn Lundquist for assisting the people of Mr. Vernon, Oregon during our dire water crisis. On Thursday, August 25, I contacted Mr. Lundquist to see if he could offer some guidance on who. to contact, on the State level, to help us out. After explaining our situation: our reservoirs were almost i mpty; the wells were failing and the city was currently on a " ooil notice as ordered by the Oregon Health Department. Mr. Lundquist immediate. ly called an aide in the Governor's office and apprised her of our situation. In addition, he also contacted the State Director of Water Resources, Martha Pagel, and briefed her of our situation. These phone calls set the wheels in motion. The folks in Water Resources really worked overtime to assist the City and took the time to call me at home at around 5:30 p.m. to explain the steps they were taking and offered more advice on what needed to be done to have a drought emergency declared. My initial contact with M r. Lundquist was in no way a political statement (I am a Democrat, he is a Republican) but as a resource to assist the citizens of Mr. Vernon. Upon reflection of the action taken by Mr. Lundquist I want to make sure all the people of District 59 are aware of what he did on behalf of Mr. Vernon. I can only imagine how helpful he will be to all of. us as our elected state representative. Sincerely, Susan E. Newstetter Mr. Vernon, OR Will Partisan Direction Serve Food Industry? Dear Editol; Unwritten poli y at the Oregon Farm Bureau Federa- tion, the largest agriculture organization in the state, is to endorse and support candi- dates on a partisan basis, unless there is an incumbent with a positive voting record. Is this kind of partisan politics the best route for agri- culture interests in Oregon? Society sees fit today to have little concern about the source of their food. Quality! quantity and costs are factors that are not considered in the avalanche of attacks on the food producing industry. Food growers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to'have representation at all political levels who will work to safeguard their interests. The concerns are real, but will the partisan direction best serve the industry? Agriculture is not the only special interest group in Oregon to generally align with one party. Most, how- ever, interview and endorse based on specific criteria that is shared with the candidates. Only time will tell if this direction will be successful for Oregon 's food producere. I am a strong proponent of Oregon's natural resource based economy and will continue to make every effort to keep agriculture a viable industry in our state. Joan Silver Farm Bureau member Canal/date, State Rep., District #59 Kimberly, OR Hells Canyon Journal 145 North Main St. P.O. Box 646 Halfway, OR 97834 Phone: (503) 742'7900 Fax: (503) 742-7933 Publisher. Steve Backstrom Editor- Pat Garrigus Staff: David Baker, Coco Forte, Denis Norlander, Holly Sanders & Mary Jo St. Clair Correspondents: Marjorie Baker, Gus Garrigus, Isla Graven & Sybyl Smith The He//s Canyon Joumat is published weekly for $12.00 (Baker County) or $15.00 (other areas) by Hells Canyon Publishing, Inc. 2rid Class postage paid at Halfway, OR 97834. USPS Number:. 002-953. Postmaster; Sendaddress cimnges to He//s Can t~ Joumat, P.O. Box646, ~y, OR 97834. Mcmbct of the Oregon Newspap~ Publishe~ Association II II I I I II II Guest ORinion Majority Supports "Responsible Shared Use" by Sandra Mitchell In his long(opinion) printed by the Journal, Hells Canyon Preservation Council Execu- tive Director Ric Bailey made a number of inaccurate, mis- leading and self-serving as- sertions. - Bailey calls the Hells Can- yon Alliance a "jet boat lobby- predator-avoidance reaction." Next we have the "disperse wildlife" allegation. We haven't found anX research dwelling with wildlife disper- sionandjetboats, but jet boat- ers have accumulated years of observations. Bailey takes pride in never having been in a jet beat,so hewouldn't know, but we power boaters observe enough sand to replace that moved downstream. We call this dear-water flooding, and it is the reason beaches are disappoaringin Hells Canyon. The only definitive study of Hells Canyon beach erosion wasreportedin 1991by Grams and Shmidt of Middlebury College. They concluded the loss of Snake River beaches ing outfit." This is patently- large numbers of wild crea- false. The Alliance represents adiversity of interests, includ- -o lng powerboaters. In its posi- tion on the Forest Service's Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the Alliance was joined by Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Idaho Sportsmen's Coalition, Northwest Timber Workers Resource Council, River Ac- cess for Tomorrow (RAFT) and a number of float outfitters. It appeam that Bailers let- ter referred to Dick Sherwin of Clarkston as a spokeeper- son for the Hells Canyon Alli- ance." If this was the case, Ric is mistaken. Dick is an eloquent member of RAFT who wrote a letter to the edi. tor, as a concerned individual, which appeared in the July 3 Tribune. He was interviewed on television during a spring tures. They appear to go about thek normal activities, undis- turbed as long as boats stay away from the bank and leave their engines running. Our members have watched big- horn sheep feed, drink, fight and breed, seemingly oblivi- ous to the presence of nearby boats or passengers. A bobcat carefully stalked a mule deer, watched by a tour boat full of amazed humans a few feet away; suddenly the deer re- versed it's hunter-prey role, attacking and nearly killing the cat. Neither animal gave the beat so much as a glance. A golden eagle plucked a young Canada goose from the river within 100 feet of a mov- ing tour beat, Elk, deer, bald and golden eagles, blue heron, coyotes, bobcat, cougar, black bear, turkeys, falcons --just was due to clear-water flood- ing; erosion caused by powerboat wakes was consid- ered insignificant. A 1993 mini-study by the Forest Ser- vice was inconclusive. They found that small amounts of sand were moved short dis- tances by wakes. In some cases sand was moved up into their transects; in others it was moved down and away. At any rate, the movement was insig- nlfioant in the larger picture of beach dynamics. Most grotesque is the way [Bailey] distorted results of Whitman College's 1994 sur- vey. Bailey says, =If asked whether they (respondents) preferred to see more or less motorized recreation, includ- ing jet boat use, in the Hells Canyon NRA, of those indi- cating a preference for more or less motorized use, 70 per- media trip in the canyon spon- sored by the Alliance. Its pur- pose was to give the media a chance to talk to... visitors with a variety of opinions, in- cluding floaters and power- boaters. Bailey participated in the trip: does that make him a spokeeperson for the Alliance? Dick made it quite clear that he spoke for himself as a private rafter. Bailey says liere is strong evidence that jet heats pose a threat to spawning seJmon, disparse wildlife and contrib- ute to erosion of the Snake River's beaches." First, let's look at the "threat to spawning salmon." The only study we can find that has addressed this sub- ject is a University of Alaska Fairbanks effort, now in its second year. Their June 14, 1993 progress report says, "Numerous qualitative obser- vations at American Creek supported the initial percep- tion that jet boat activity had little effect on spawning behavior .... Our observations that spawning sockeye salmon were affected more by wading people andbears thanby pass- ing jet boats were consistent with evolutionary theory. These fish have evolved to avoid predators, particularly bears, that create a character- istic noise in a stream. A jet boat apparently creates a tem- porary disturbance, but uot a about the full spectrum of cent wanted le ." Hells Canyon wildlife, has The Whitman study really been observed from motorized river craft in the canyon. Oc- casionally we see avoidance behavior, but more often the animals go about their nor- real activities. It seems that, like the salmon, they react to behavior associated with predators, the silent, slow ap- proach, and don't see jet boats as a threat. Finally, Bailey alleges that jet boats "contribute to ero- sion of the Snake River's beaches." River beaches are, of course, dynamic features, constantly changing. As run- off waters rise in the spring, sand is recruited from tribu- taries and existing beaches erode. Conversely, as high waters re de, sand accumu- lates at sites where currents favor del osition, forming new beaches or adding to beaches already there. We saw this process in action in the spring of 1993 when many of Hells Canyon's beaches, especially below the free-flowing Salmon River, received large charges of new sand. The three Idaho Power Company dams. Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon, intercept most of the new sand that would main- tain beaches in Hells Canyon above the Salmon confluence. During high flows the exist- ing beaches erode. When the water drops, there is not asked -- Do you want less, the same (existing ok) or more motorized recreation use in Hell Canyon, including jet boats, snowmobiles and dirt bikes? For some reason Ric overlooked the "Existing OK" response option, but the folks surveyed didn . Scalingoffthe report's bar graph, it appears that 36 percent of the re- sponses favored less, 54 per- cent said the existing was OK and 10 percent wanted more. In other words, 64 percent said they wanted the same or more motorized recreation. The question addressed generic motorized recreations, so it tells us little about jet boat use by itself. "Existing OK" was the big winner to every Hells Canyon question in this survey on subjects from the number of RV parks to timber and grazing;, Ric also for ot to mention that. "Obviously," says Bailey, %he characterization ofthose bothered by jet boats as a mi- nority is false." Sorry, Ric, wrong again. The majority of folks support the concept of 'Yesponsible shared use" in Hells Canyon. (Editor's note: Sandra F. Mitchell, Boise, is Executive Director of the Northwest Powerboaters Association and Hells Canyon Alliance,),