Big River News
Big River News is the newsletter of the Northwest Water Law & Policy Project. The publication is free and addresses water issues concerning the Columbia River Basin of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to having experts from throughout the region contrbiute with insightful analysis of key regional issues, Big River News provides updates from state and federal legislators, resource agencies, and courts on actions and decisions that alter the landscape of water law and policy in the region.
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Northwest Water Law & Policy Project
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Portland, OR 97219-7799
Issue 7:3 Summer 2001
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Klamath Basin Water: Too Many Promises by Bud Ullman and Larry Dunsmoor, Klamath Tribes.
This article examines the roots of the ongoing water conflict in the Klamath River Basin. The article describes a considerably more complex conflict than the typical portrayal of a choice between keeping water in Klamath Lake for fish or releasing it for farmers. The article concludes that any solution in the Basin must address overappropriation of water and ecosystem degradation.
A Cast to Watch: Does Government Compliance with the ESA Take a Water Right by Greg D. Corbin, judicial clerk to the Honorable Susan M. Leeson, Oregon Supreme Court.
This case note analyzes a recent U.S. Court of Federal Claims decision holding that the United States had taken propery without just compensation, in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, when it reduced water delivery to an irrigation district to comply with the Endangered Species Act.
Project Study Criticizes Wilderness Water Decision
The Northwest Water Law & Policy Project has released its latest study, written by Michael Blumm, Project co-director. The study, Reversing the Winters Doctrine?: Denying Reserved Water Rights For Idaho Wilderness and Its Implications, critiques a recent Idaho Supreme Court decision denying federal reserved water rights to wilderness areas in the state.
Issue 7:2 Spring 2001
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This issue of Big River News presents three perspectives on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s much-anticipated final rules under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for 14 threatened populations of Pacific salmon and steelhead. In addition, this issue features an article on the Idaho Supreme Court’s apparent rejection of implied federal water rights.
Challenging the 4(d) Rule: Conserving Threatened Species by Michael Rossotto, Washington Environmental Council.
Using Washington’s recent “Forests and Fish Report” as its example, this article argues that NMFS’s 4(d) rule, by establishing limits to the the ESA’s”take” prohibition, encourages political capitulation to development at the expense of science-based efforts to restore salmon.
NMFS’s 4(d) Rules for Pacific Salmon and Steelhead: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead by Rosemary Furfey, National Marine Fisheries Service.
This article explains the new policy embodied in NMFS’s 4(d) limits to the “take” prohibition: to encourage governments and citizens to submit plans consistent with salmon recovery, so that recovery efforts will be proactive rather than driven by enforcement of take provisions.
ESA Provides Only Part of the Region’s Framework for Change by David Moskowitz, Salmon Recovery Coordinator, Portland Metro.
Noting that local, state and regional governments must comply not only with the ESA but with the Clean Water Act and other federal schemes to insure the health of streams-and humans-this article argues that the NMFS 4(d) rule plays a useful role in guiding such governments. Although vague and less protective than a clear “no-take” mandate, the rule addresses specific activities in the context of a watershed-friendly development scheme.
Idaho Supreme Court Rejects Federal Reserved Water Rights by Jack McDonald, Northwest Water Law & Policy Project.
This article reports on three recent cases in which the Idaho Supreme Court appeared to reject the doctrine of federal reserved water rights unless the right is expressly stated in the reservation.
Issue 7:1 Fall 2000
Copies of Volume 7:1 are available through the NW Water Law & Policy Project Office. Send request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Water Use Measurement and Reporting by Dar Crammond
This article makes the case that measuring and reporting of water use done with clear goals can be beneficial to water users. The article surveys the laws of the Columbia Basin states pertaining to the measurement and reporting of water use and features case studies from the watersheds where measuring and reporting is widely implemented.
Pacific Salmon Sanctuaries: The Hope and Challenge of a New Millennium by Shauna M. Whidden and James Lichatowich
This article proposes the framework for a sanctuary system offering protection for anadromous fish in all stages of their lifecycle. The study offers legal and policy tools and models to assist in creating sanctuaries.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Oregon Trilogy by Charlton H. Bonham
This study analyzes three cases from the Federal District Court of Oregon that for the first time require that rivers designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act be managed for “outstandingly remarkable values” for which they received protection, even if it means an end to traditional river uses such as grazing.
Addressing Water Pollution from Livestock Grazing After ONDA v. Dombeck: Legal Strategies Under the Clean Water Act by Peter M. Lacy
This study analyzes a recent federal court case and its impact upon efforts to control effects on water quality from grazing.
San Carlos Apache Tribe v. Superior Court: The Defeat of Legislative Favoritism in Water Right Allocation by Sean O’Day
This study evaluates an Arizona Supreme Court decision striking down an attempt by the state legislature to override the public trust doctrine in favor of prior appropriation water right holders and remarks that the case should trigger a trend by state courts to recognize reserved rights and public trust obligations as water interests that legislatures are not free to destroy.