It is my understanding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking input on how to better manage our stored water supply in the West. Having lived some 60 years of my adult life on a farm bordered by the Willamette River at Irish Bend in Linn County, Ore., I have seen the effects of a number of floods and releases of stored water.
In my opinion, the needs listed below are things I hope the Corps will petition the U.S. Congress to authorize action on. If it succeeds, the Corps will have solved several important issues.
Oregon needs more major water storage capacity to save more of the spring snowmelt and the winter rains. The plus side of catching more of this precious liquid is multiple:
• Reduce flooding, soil erosion and other damages.
• Mitigate the annual contest over who gets water in the summer and fall.
• The cities for their multiple needs.
• Farmers — the producers of our food and fiber.
• The fish.
• The water recreationalists.
Increased major water storage is also a real plus because of the opportunity for increased non-polluting electricity.
In addition to major water storage, the Corps needs to authorize and do channel maintenance in the rivers, which have been listed as navigable, so they actually are navigable. Channel maintenance would also address the serious problem of eroding banks due to gravel and debris that have blocked or partially blocked the main channel.
Why do I think my opinion is viable? Because I am a farmer and producer who has been involved in Oregon natural resource policy for many years.
I also served from 1981 to 1999 (18 years) as Linn County’s elected state representative to the Oregon Legislature. Since then I have been repeatedly elected to the Linn County Soil and Water Conservation District Board. I am an active and long-term Farm Bureau member.
I respectfully ask the Corps to seriously consider this appeal not only on my behalf but for many of the people I have represented over the years.
Liz (Elizabeth) VanLeeuwen