2009 Network of Oregon Watershed Councils Gathering
Items of Interest:
1. Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement – The Draft agreement has recently been completed and circulated for comment and signatures. If approved, the Agreement will foster legislation to go in front of Oregon and California voters. This seems like a good compromise that will protect fisheries and stabilize irrigation water distribution for irrigators. There will be ongoing public meetings to discuss the possible removal of the dams.
2. Strategic Planning – The importance of strategic planning was made clear at several of the training sessions. Such a plan identifies the vision and direction of a watershed council, and lays out the goals and objectives for the organizations. It is hoped that LBCWC engage in such a session in the coming months.
3. Ecosystem Marketplace—One interesting session discussed the activity of the Willamette Partnership, an organization that is developing a system for restoration investment and crediting. Such projects as wetlands development, fisheries enhancement, riparian restoration, and uplands improvement would all earn credits that could be purchased and sold on a central registry. A demonstration project in the lower Willamette has started, and they are looking for other possible sites. Members of the Rogue Basin Coordinating Council have invited Willamette Partnership representatives to an upcoming meeting to present the concept to the entire group.
4. New Executive Director – John Moriarity has stepped down and been replaced by Tom O’Brian, a recent transplant from New York. One of Tom’s first priorities will be to help develop support for the Parks and Natural Resources renewal effort that would extend the Oregon’s financial support for watershed councils beyond 2014. The ballot initiative will need 150, 000 signatures by June 30, 2010 to get on the November 2010 ballot. NOWC continues to lend assistance to councils through trainings and lobbying statewide.