The Wenatchee World



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Columbia River level rises

Warmer temperatures have begun to melt a record mountain snowpack, which has increased flows in all the region’s rivers.

Monitors pick up radiation traces along West Coast

A network of sensitive radiation stations, designed to detect traces of radioactive isotopes from underground nuclear tests, has confirmed that radioactive material from the damaged Japanese nuclear reactors has reached the West Coast of the United States — including Washington. The Environmental Protection Agency says radiation levels from the material are one-millionth of natural background levels.

Comment period for gold exploration extended

CHESAW — Anyone planning to comment on a proposal by the owners of Buckhorn Mine to explore for more gold near Chesaw will get another two weeks — until Jan. 18. The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and state Department of Natural Resources are working together to issue an environmental impact statement on the proposal, and are seeking public input to determine the scope of the analysis. Echo Bay Exploration, a subsidiary of Kinross Gold, has asked to build up to 72 miles of new roads, 675 new drill pad sites and ...

Watchdog group sounds alarm on water near Buckhorn Mine

CHESAW — An environmental group says contaminants have increased in some streams, springs and monitoring wells near Buckhorn Mountain mine since operations began there three years ago. “What they’re seeing is way worse that what was predicted, and where they’re headed is even worse than that,” said David Kliegman, president of the Okanogan Highlands Alliance. “We think they need to get it under control before they keep moving forward.”

Lawsuit clears way for Tuscan Village development

CHELAN — The sewer war is over. A Chelan County judge this week dismissed a lawsuit after years of dispute over how Tuscan Village will deal with wastewater from a proposed 273-acre development of 956 residential units, stores and farms and orchards on Lake Chelan’s south shore.

Water conservancy board seeks new member

WENATCHEE — The Chelan County Water Conservancy Board is seeking a volunteer board member. The board reviews water right change applications and makes a recommendation to the Department of Ecology on what changes should be approved. The applicant should have an “inquiring mind, good writing skills and an unbiased viewpoint,” according to a Thursday news release. The board meets monthly for two to three hours plus requires additional time outside of the meetings. “An interest and experience in water rights, watershed planning or similar activities would be an advantage,” according ...

Planning a car-wash fundraiser? You’ll want to attend meetings this week

WENATCHEE — Car-wash fundraisers may be good, clean business for the area groups who host them, but they’re very bad business for Columbia River water quality, according to state and local officials. Wenatchee and East Wenatchee are hosting meetings to educate the public about new state and local regulations that prohibit car-wash rinsewater from entering city stormwater drains and, ultimately, the Columbia.

Bismarck, Fairbanks go to 2-0; Wenatchee’s chances slim

WENATCHEE — Bismarck joined Fairbanks at 2-0 atop the round robin standings with a resounding 6-1 victory over Traverse City on Thursday night. The Bobcats scored four goals in the game’s first 25 minutes, and extended that to a 5-0 lead at 14:13 of the second period. Three of Bismarck’s six goals came on the power play.

Speaker says water action is needed now

WENATCHEE — The time is now to address critical water issues worldwide, an expert in water issues said Saturday night. “If we can balance the water availability and quality needs of nature, agriculture and our cities, everything else we need to do to become sustainable, including addressing climate change, may very well fall into line,” R.W. Sandford told a crowd of about 140 people at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center.

The need for water policy reform is urgent, worldwide

The violent demonstrations that occurred in 2009 at the World Water Forum in Istanbul bear witness to the seriousness of the global water crisis. Currently, human population growth is highest in places where there is the least water. About 40 percent of the surface of the solid Earth receives so little precipitation that natural ecosystem function is limited by water availability. Thus, we find that globally a third of humanity is now competing directly with nature for water. There is legitimate concern that in many parts of the world we ...

Water now, and for the future

Just look around. We know there already are times we don’t have enough water — not enough to satisfy the simultaneous needs of agriculture, of fish, hydroelectric power, industry, recreation and our growing population. We know that the purity of our water is threatened, by urban pollutants and the higher temperatures that arise from scarcity and low streamflows. We suffer drought, and if climate change predictions come to pass we will see more of it. Whatever our perspective, whatever our needs and political views, we all know these are issues ...

In the city: Using reclaimed water helps us all

The issue of preserving our region’s water supply is one which the city of Wenatchee and our regional water partners (East Wenatchee Water District and Chelan County PUD) have looked at addressing in several ways. Of course, one obvious measure in which every water customer can participate is conservation. Conservation can be accomplished in the home through installation of low-flow fixtures and behavioral practices such as turning the water off while brushing teeth and doing dishes or by taking shorter showers. Conservation can also be accomplished by finding and repairing ...

Together, we can meet diverse water needs

Water — it quenches our thirst, makes our crops grow, sustains our fish and wildlife, and supports our quality of life. It is also a precious, finite resource that we must not take for granted.

Protect floodplains: The simplest, cheapest way to maintain the Wenatchee Valley’s water supply

New York City has one of the most extensive municipal water systems in the world. This complex system relies on tunnels, aqueducts, and reservoirs to meet the daily needs of 9 million people. Its most remarkable feature, however, does not rely on high-tech filtration systems, major public works projects, or infrastructure maintenance. The city’s state-of-the-art water supply system relies on a naturally simple concept. They protect floodplains in the watersheds that supply the city’s water. Thanks to well-cared for wilderness watersheds, New York’s water treatment process is simpler and cheaper ...

No easy answers for vexing issues

Having now worked for more than 10 years on water policy and management issues in the Wenatchee Watershed, you might think I’d have a clear sense of what the issues are and how to solve them. I don’t.

Planning, collaboration and innovation needed for the future of water supplies

Good watershed planning is instrumental in maintaining our future water supplies. Washington state has already passed the 1998 Watershed Management Act, which provided the framework for locally based watershed planning, and in 2006, the Wenatchee Watershed Management Plan was finalized by the Wenatchee Planning Unit. The Planning Unit included nearly 50 stakeholder groups representing local interests in Chelan County. The local stakeholders who participated actively in developing the plan should continue collaborating to make it work.

Background: Many demands in Wenatchee River basin

Pristine waters flow out of the Cascades and into Lake Wenatchee to form the headwaters of the Wenatchee River, a vital life source for forests, farmlands, communities and recreation throughout the river basin. The river faces an array of demands as it tumbles and snakes its way out of the mountains, through Leavenworth and Cashmere, through the nation’s top pear-growing region, and finally to Wenatchee, where it merges with the mighty Columbia River.

Let’s manage, store and conserve

When I was asked to make some comments on what I thought might be some solutions to the long-term water supply of the Methow Valley, my mind immediately went to my first realization of how important water was to our ranching operation.

It’s about ‘good’ and ‘number’

As a longtime member and current chair of the Methow Watershed Council, I have often thought about the best way to manage water in the Methow Valley. Looking at the big picture, managing our water to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people while we sustain the world around us seems to be a logical place to start. Of course, that is all much easier said than done. Many of the discussions of our volunteer citizen’s group over the past eight years have focused on the details ...

Revisit older water rights

I have had the pleasure and luck to live next to the Methow River for the last 30 plus years. Watching the moods of the river in different seasons gives one a great respect for how important in-stream flows are to the viability of the natural resources associated with the river. My goal has been to protect and enhance flows for fish, wildlife and the riparian areas.