Update on water rights, livestock rules, DEQ plans

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
By Jim Welsh

1. Navigability Not Just a CWRA Issue
2.  Animal Welfare Initiatives Expected
3.  Rangeland Lease Holders Attending State Lands Board
4. DEQ’s Toxics Reduction Strategic Planning
5. OWRD Integrated Water Resources Strategy

plus more…

Navigability Not Just a CWRA Issue
Yes, we want the Feds to stay out of the states water authority in the yet to be passed “Clean Water Restoration Act” and leave navigability in the commerce clause.  Here in Oregon it looks like we may be faced with another round of navigability battles as it pertains to use of the beds and banks of our many streams.  It is rumored the Oregon Steelheaders fishing group will be introducing legislation in the February Session to introduce this issue again and force landowners to justify their right to protect their property from trespass, misuse and abuse.  There is certainly no one in the natural resources community that is looking forward to this battle again.  As soon as there is a proposed piece of legislation there will be more information provided.

Animal Welfare Initiatives Expected
The Department of Agriculture held a meeting on October 1, to address animal welfare and recommend subsequent meetings with the intention of developing a plan and strategy to counter any future efforts by United States Human Society and others who would be preparing to introduce a statewide initiative similar to Proposition 2 that passed in California.  The group that met decided that this would be a worthy effort and will be meeting again soon.

Rangeland Lease Holders Attending State Lands Board Mtg. Oct. 13th
There will be an eastern Oregon contingent of state ands lease holders attending the Board meeting to answer questions if asked, show interest in the agenda item, and listen to results of the 3 member vote.  The three member Board consist of the Governor, State Treasurer and Secretary of State.  The agenda issue is “Adoption of Administrative Rules governing management of leasing of rangeland forage (OAR 141-110).”  The Director of State Lands, Louise Solliday, has proposed to increase the lease fee by adjusting the formula to provide a greater amount of revenue to the state (Common School Fund) than the 2008 Grazing Fee Advisory Committee recommended.  This decision and recommendation by the Director has been viewed as unacceptable by those leasing rangeland from the state of Oregon.

DEQ’s Toxics Reduction Strategic Planning
At the EQC’s direction, DEQ is developing an agency-wide toxics reduction strategy, with the goal of using a comprehensive approach to reduce toxic chemicals in Oregon’s environment.  This effort is very closely related to SB 737 passed in 2007 and the municipalities and environmental interests are suspected of desiring to transfer the focus of toxics to non-point sources.  The steps involved in developing this strategy include:
1.    identifying a list of high-priority toxic chemicals;
2.    determining the sources of those toxics and the pathways to the environment;
3.    evaluating gaps in existing programs; and
4.    recommending new or modified reduction actions.
Where possible, the strategy will identify reduction options that address a range of toxic chemicals that may move between air, land and water, thereby increasing the efficiency of reduction efforts while ensuring we address the problem comprehensively. DEQ will also place a major emphasis on reducing toxic chemicals at the source, rather than managing these chemicals after they are released.  Senate Bill 737 from the 2007 Oregon legislature requires a number of things from DEQ including the following which will be included in the toxic reduction plan:
•    Types of pollutants on the October 2009 Final Priority Persistent Pollutant List, known as the P3 list;
•    DEQ’s efforts to identify sources of P3-listed pollutants; and
•    Opportunities to reduce these pollutants.
OCA as well as other natural resource organizations will be following the toxic reduction  developments very closely.

OWRD Integrated Water Resources Strategy
As part of HB 3369 the Oregon Legislature included the requirement for OWRD to establish a statewide Integrated Water Resources Strategy to “help Oregon meet its future water needs in terms of water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem functions…the intention is to develop a framework, data, tools, and resources that communities can use, to address their water resource needs, within Oregon’s statutory framework.  The intention is not to overhaul Oregon water law or water quality laws.  Nor is the intention to lay out a plan that re-allocates water.”  There will be an Agency Advisory Group consisting of agency directors or designees, a Policy Advisory Group, consisting of appointed members by OWRD, DEQ and ODF&W and a Technical Advisory Group consisting of appointed members, all of whom will have input opportunities to the Project Team and Water Resources Commission Planning Committee.  Sounds like a lot of involvement and process for all of the Natural Resource Coalition representatives and members to monitor, and I can assure you they will.

OWEB Strategic Plan Comments Due November 6th
At the March 2009 meeting, the Oregon Water Enhancement Board (OWEB) decided to initiate a strategic planning exercise that would involve Board members, staff, and stakeholders. The goal of the exercise was to identify, discuss, and determine OWEB program priorities and actions to focus on between 2009 and 2014. Don Harker was hired in May to facilitate the strategic planning process, interview staff and stakeholders, and help write the plan. The Board met with management staff for facilitated planning sessions in Eugene on June 1, and in Silverton on June 30 and July 1. Drafts were then circulated among Board members and staff during the month of August. The Board Planning Subcommittee met on August 27, 2009, to discuss the draft and now the Final Draft is available for comment.  The deadline for comments is 5:00 PM, November 6th 2009.  OCA and others will be providing comments and asking our members to submit comments, also.  The Draft Plan and Staff Report are available at:

Final Draft Strategic Plan www.oregon.gov/OWEB/docs/
September 2009 Board Meeting Staff Report and Attachments www.oregon.gov/OWEB/docs/board/2009-09/ItemD.pdf

Meat Processing and Marketing Developments
OSU has published a short report on a recent survey titled, “Meat and poultry buying at farmers’ markets: a survey of shoppers at four markets in Oregon.” This survey, thanks to Val Blaha who originally suggested this project, helped with logistics, and volunteered her time at two of the markets. This research addresses just one piece of the complicated question of market demand.  It’s a short report (7pp.), but an even shorter summary will be included in the next OSU Small Farm News. If you want the summary but don’t receive that newsletter, Lauren Gwin can forward it to you when it’s out. [email protected]

The Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network has TWO webinars scheduled this month:

#1 – Wednesday, Oct. 14, 9-10am PST/noon-1pm EST
“Mobile Poultry Processing Units in California, Montana, and Vermont — How’s It Going?”  Coordinators of three new MPPUs will tell us how they work, challenges and strategies, and lessons learned.  At the time of the webinar, go to: http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/nichemeat/ and follow instructions.

#2 – Tuesday, Oct. 20, 10-11am PST/1-2pm EST
“Interstate Sales of State Inspected Meats”  USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued its proposed rules last month, and public comments are due Nov. 16.  On this webinar, we will discuss the proposal, highlighting elements NMPAN has identified as important for comment.  At the time of the webinar, go to: http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/nichemeat/ and follow instructions.

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