The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon


Post-storm winter tree care: proceed with caution

December 31, 2008 --

Oregon Department of Forestry — December’s storm events including snow, ice, rain and winds took a heavy toll on many trees in Oregon landscapes, but arborists are advising homeowners and community leaders to exercise caution when dealing with the storm’s aftermath.

That’s because there are two very common mistakes people make when trying to clean up after a storm. The first is trying to save trees that have sustained too much damage, and are likely to become hazardous; the second is the use of harmful pruning techniques.

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OSU taste tests grain-fed vs. grass-fed beef in Portland schools

December 30, 2008 --

By Oregon State University Extension Service,

PORTLAND, Ore. – Children can tell the difference between grass- and grain-fed beef, but when it comes to preference, they’re evenly split, according to taste tests that Oregon State University conducted at two grade schools in Portland.

Portland Public Schools asked OSU to conduct the surveys as part of its effort to serve more locally produced food. The district had been considering serving hamburger patties made from local grass-fed cattle instead of the grain-fed beef that it now serves and whose origin is unknown to the district.

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Northwest Fisherman Jobs in Danger

December 29, 2008 --

Guest Submission

An unusually weak Dungeness crab harvest is compounding the financial woes of West Coast fishermen who were already struggling with depressed consumer demand and the unprecedented collapse of the Pacific chinook salmon fishery.

Commercial fishermen in California, Oregon and Washington are struggling to stay afloat financially. They say the downturn could force fishermen who depend heavily on crab and salmon to leave the shrinking ranks of the region’s fishing fleet.

“With this crab season being slim at best, it’s going to be pretty hard to make it through to the next one,” said 58-year-old Duncan MacLean, a commercial fisherman since 1972. “I would suspect there are going to be lots of people falling by the wayside.”

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Environmental Standards Altered to Allow Proposed Pipeline

December 26, 2008 --

Guest Submission

PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Forest Service plans to alter its environmental standards to allow a proposed $800 million natural gas pipeline to run through 47 miles of Mount Hood National Forest.

The proposed Palomar pipeline would require opening a path measuring 120 feet wide. The path would stretch through forest areas that have been protected from clear-cutting and other disturbances under the department’s management plans.

The Forest Service would also have to revise other rules, such as limiting cutting around Wild and Scenic Clackamas River, spotted owl habitats and recreational areas.

The pipeline is a joint venture of Northwest Natural Gas Co. and TransCanada Corp. Construction is scheduled to start in November 2011.

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Merry Christmas from Natural Resource Report

Environmental Benefits of REAL Christmas Trees

December 24, 2008 --

By the Pacific NW Tree Association,

Real Christmas trees provide a plethora of benefits to the environment, and our farmers go the extra mile to ensure natural resources are preserved for future generations. Check out these facts on the environmental impact of real Christmas trees: While growing, real trees produce significant amounts of oxygen that is released into the environment, protect soil from erosion and provide refuge for wildlife.

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2008 Ocean Conditions for Fish Among Best in Half-Century

December 23, 2008 --

By Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Center,

NEWPORT, Ore. – Ocean conditions during 2008 for many fish species in the Pacific Northwest, including chinook salmon, were greatly improved because of a huge cold water influx that settled in across much of the northern Pacific Ocean – a phenomenon not seen on this scale in years.

In fact, scientists who surveyed near-shore waters from Newport, Ore., to LaPush, Wash., this year found the highest numbers of juvenile chinook salmon they’ve encountered in 11 years of sampling.

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Who Will Save the Timber Industry? Environmentalists?

December 22, 2008 --

Guest Submission

A rising number of environmental groups now want to help the timber industry stay in business by providing funds or other support. The question is whether they can save timber companies and mills reeling from the collapse of housing and construction.

“It’s a new day — it’s a new landscape,” said Guido Rahr, president of the Wild Salmon Center in Portland. “We have to realize private-land timber companies are our friend. Once land gets broken up into smaller pieces, our ability to protect it is eliminated.”

Though some logging practices can harm fish, he said, the loss of forests altogether is much worse. That’s even more true as trees are increasingly counted on to soak up greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

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Chinook Turnout Predictions for 2009

December 19, 2008 --

Submitted by: Gienie Assink, Lane County Oregon

Allen Thomas of the Vancouver Columbian reports state, federal and tribal fishery biologists are predicting 298,900 spring chinook salmon will enter the Columbia River in 2009 destined for waters upstream of Bonneville Dam.

That would be the biggest return since 2002.

Forecasts for the Willamette River and other tributaries to the Columbia will not be available until next week.

Here are excepts from Thomas’ report:

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Oregon Winter forecast is good news for irrigation and agriculture industry

December 18, 2008 --

Oregon Department of Agriculture — The first blast of winter has hit Oregon this week, but forecasters predict more to come in the months ahead. As the mountain snowpack builds between now and March, farmers and ranchers can expect another summer of ample water for irrigation.

“The odds are there might not be as much snow in the mountains as last year when there was an extremely high amount, but we should have an above average snowpack this winter once again,” says Pete Parsons, meteorologist with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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