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Attention Army Corps of Engineers: Give Fish the Water They Need!

December 3, 2017

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently released its proposal to allocate water stored in Willamette Basin reservoirs and is taking comments on the plan through December 22. Your voice is needed! Please act now and ask the Corps to give more water to fish and wildlife and to prioritize threatened fish populations in low-water years. 

The Corps has proposed allocating 962,000 acre-feet to fish and wildlife, 254,000 to irrigation, and 73,000 to municipal and industrial use. The remainder will be unallocated for now. While that may sound like a lot for fish and wildlife, the Corps’ analysis shows it would not be enough to meet minimum flows set for threatened salmon and steelhead in roughly a quarter of the years.


Meanwhile, the allocation to irrigation is more than triple the amount currently used for that purpose, and municipal and industrial suppliers would get their extra water even though they already have significant unused existing rights and would not be expected to increase conservation to reduce future demands. Moreover, in low water years when reservoirs don’t store enough to meet all of the allocations, threatened fish would be required to share the pain with other uses even though the flow targets used to set their allocation were already reduced for low-water years.


Please contact the Corps (address below) and tell them:

  • The allocation of stored water for fish and wildlife needs to be at least enough to meet flow targets for threatened salmon and steelhead in all years.
  • In low water years, threatened salmon and steelhead need to take priority. Their survival is worth asking for more conservation in irrigation and municipal uses, especially since the flow targets already go down in low water years to recognize that there is less water for everyone.

Send your comments to: Per instructions from the Corps, please refer to public notice number: CENWP-PM-E-18-01, as the title of the proposal (Draft Willamette Basin Review Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment) and the “issue date” (November 7, 2017). Thank you!