The Oregon Water Resources Department announced it is cutting four positions in coming days in response to a $629,000 shortfall in revenue, bringing total staff cuts at the agency to 13 in recent months.

The staff reductions will result in reduced water right processing activity and some reduced field activity, according to the department.

The department is meeting all but two of the staff reductions by leaving open vacant positions, department spokeswoman Brenda Bateman said.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is meeting most of its state general fund reductions by shifting program expenses in food safety and natural resource policy areas from general funds to fees.

It also is cutting $93,000 from its agricultural development division budget.

The shift from general funds to fees "may necessitate the need to increase fees" sooner than previously anticipated, department spokesman Bruce Pokarney said, and "will reduce available cash balances."

Neither natural resource agency was included in budgetary "add-backs" the legislative emergency board adopted Sept. 23. The board used federal funds and state reserves to supplement dwindling funds in some public safety and social service programs.

State revenue collections for the current biennium are down more than $1 billion from projections lawmakers used to establish the 2009-11 biennium budget.

--Mitch Lies

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