The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon

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Oregon leads nation in production of several commodities

November 28, 2008 --

Oregon Depart. of Ag — Oregon agriculture boasts more than 225 different commodities, making it one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the U.S. While its total value of production may not rank as high as the mega-agriculture states of California, Texas, and Iowa, Oregon is known as a top producer of several commodities that contribute to the nation’s impressive agricultural output.

“There are some things our farmers grow better than anyone else in the world,” says Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “A big part of it is our unique climate and soils. But our producers have developed expertise and know-how over a long period of time. If not for Oregon, some of these commodities just wouldn’t be available to the American or international consumer.”

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Today thank a farmer

November 27, 2008 --

This thanksgiving remember that everything on the table came from a farm or ranch.   Oregon Natural Resource Report thanks all of Oregon’s farmers.

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NOAA asks for salmon buffer zones

November 26, 2008 --

National Oceanic and Atmosphere Adminsitration Release :  NOAA Biological Opinion on Pesticides Recommends Buffers to Protect Salmon.  NOAA today issued a biological opinion to the Environmental Protection Agency that found three chemicals used in pesticides – diazonin, malathion, and chlorpyrifos – are likely to jeopardize 27 populations of salmon on the West Coast that are listed as either endangered or threatened. The opinion calls for buffer zones next to salmon streams where the chemicals are used.  A biological opinion is NOAA Fisheries Service’s assessment of whether a federal action is likely to jeopardize an endangered or threatened species, or its critical habitat.

EPA will use NOAA’s biological opinion as it decides how pesticides containing the three chemicals can be used.  EPA examines and registers ingredients of a pesticide to ensure there will be no unreasonable adverse effects. Once registered, a pesticide must be used in a way that is consistent with approved directions on the label.

NOAA’s biological opinion says these three chemicals may be used in pesticides if farmers and others follow specific restrictions on how and when they apply the pesticides to their fields and crops.  NOAA says these restrictions should be made explicit on the pesticide labels.

“Scientific research has shown that these three chemicals when found in streams can damage and even kill salmon,” said Jim Balsiger, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “The chemicals may also harm stream water quality and the small fish and insects that salmon eat. The restrictions are designed to prevent harmful effects. ”

Some of the required restrictions of the biological opinion include:

— Buffer zones of 1,000 feet for aerial application and 500 feet for ground application between where the pesticides are applied and salmon streams.
— Strips of a minimum of 20 feet of grasses, bushes or other vegetation on agricultural sites adjacent to surface waters designed to absorb runoff from pesticide-treated fields.
— Restrictions on applying pesticides in windy conditions that could carry pesticides into nearby streams.
— A prohibition on applying pesticides when a storm is predicted that could cause  pesticide run off into nearby streams.

NOAA scientists found the chemicals not only can be lethal to salmon at certain concentrations, but can also hinder salmon growth at lower levels of concentration by impairing their ability to smell their prey and by reducing the amount of small fish and insects for food. The chemicals have also been found to slow the swimming of salmon or make their swimming erratic, impairing their ability to return to their natal streams to spawn and to avoid predators.

The final biological opinion is the first in a series that NOAA will issue between now and Feb. 29, 2012, to the EPA concerning a total of 37 active chemical ingredients in pesticides. EPA requested that NOAA prepare the biological opinions as the result of lawsuits from environmental groups in recent years.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

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Once thriving Oregon turkey industry now long gone

November 25, 2008 --

By Oregon Dept. of Agriculture,

The distinct sound of gobbling turkeys in Oregon has generally grown silent the past 15 years. What was once a thriving agricultural industry left the state- a rarity among Oregon’s diverse list of commodities. While there are a few locally-grown birds sold to niche market consumers this year, most Oregonians will sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner featuring a turkey produced in California, Utah, or Minnesota.

“At one time, Oregon was a large producer of turkeys, probably producing up to 30 percent of the West Coast supply from the Willamette and Yamhill valleys,” says Dalton Hobbs, assistant director with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “Due to consolidation of the turkey processing industry and a few other factors that hit during the early 1990s, all that commercial production has gone away.”

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No Further Action for Former Gresham Cleaners

November 21, 2008 --

Guest Submission

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is proposing to issue a no further action determination for the former Gresham Cleaners site at 40-360 Burnside Rd.  in Gresham Oregon.

The Voluntary Cleanup Program has reviewed site assessment activities performed at the site and determined that no further action is justified because the site does not pose a risk that exceeds the acceptable risk level.

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Yamhill County Vested Rights Decisions

November 20, 2008 --

From Oregonians In Action,

Here is a copy of Yamhill County Circuit Judge John Collins’ opinion in a series of vested rights cases from Yamhill County.  Judge Collins found that the County had properly found that each claimant had a vested right.

Please note that each case concerned a review of the decision of the Yamhill County Vesting Officer, who had found that each property owner had obtained a vested right to complete their M37 claim.  In other words, these decisions are not ones where Judge Collins is being asked to weigh the evidence on his own – he is simply reviewing whether there was sufficient evidence to allow the county to make the determination it did, and whether the county correctly interpreted the law.

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AFRC in full force over BLM forest plan

November 19, 2008 --

From American Forest Research Council,

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR). The Plan is now in the hands of Governor Kulongoski where it will be reviewed for consistency with state laws. It is important for the Governor to support implementation of the BLM’s preferred alternative and that he act without delay.

The WOPR affects 2.6 million acres of BLM land in western Oregon of which 2.2 million acres is managed under the requirements of the Oregon and California Lands Act of 1937 (O&C Act). Federal law requires that these O&C lands be managed “for permanent forest production” to provide income to local communities in-lieu of the taxes they would have received if these lands had remained in private ownership.

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Oregon and Washington Nursery Associations may merge

November 18, 2008 --

From Oregon Association of Nurseries,

The Oregon Association of Nurseries and the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association are considering a merger. The boards of both organizations voted last week to move forward with the idea, and members of both groups were informed last week. If negotiations are successful, then the idea would be put to a vote of the memberships. The organizations feel that the resulting entity would be stronger and more balanced, due to the OAN’s current strength in wholesale growers and the WSNLA’s strength in retail nurseries. There was coverage in The Oregonian on Sunday, and I’m sure there will be more in other outlets.

Posted by Curt Kipp at 8:39 AM

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George Ponte Selected as Central Oregon District Forester

November 17, 2008 --

Guest Submission

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has selected George Ponte (say ‘pont’) to head up its Central Oregon District. Employed by ODF since 1989, Ponte succeeds Travis Medema as District Forester. Medema accepted a staff position in the headquarters office in Salem earlier this year.
 
Since March, Ponte has been gaining on-the-job experience as acting District Forester of the sprawling District that spans 11 counties. During the year prior he served as Assistant to the Eastern Oregon Area Director, helping with oversight of the administrative unit that includes the Central Oregon, Klamath-Lake and Northeast Oregon Districts.

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DEQ Proposes Approval of Spill Cleanup

November 14, 2008 --

Guest Submission

 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is proposing approval of a cleanup conducted at the spill site at Roberts Creek near Winston, Oregon. 

 

The spill occurred March 11, 2006, on I-5 Southbound, when a Truax Oil petroleum tanker truck and trailer carrying 9,100 gallons of gasoline and 2,002 gallons of diesel fuel crashed and caught fire.
 
Unburned portions of the gasoline and diesel fuel spilled, and a portion of the asphalt road was liquefied by the heat and spread to the environment.   The fuel flowed beneath the roadway down the west embankment and to an unnamed tributary of Roberts Creek.  The spill contaminated the right-of-way by I-5 and an adjacent property.

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