Crooked River pact reached

August 1, 2012
Crooked River pact reached

A coalition of stakeholders has reached agreement on water allocation from the Crooked River in Central Oregon.

The Aug. 31 announcement was made by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both D-Ore.

The agreement, which will be formalized in legislation Merkley plansto introduce, ends decades of "fighting and paralysis over water in thePrineville Reservoir," Merkley said in a press release.

"This is historic and a great opportunity for economic growth in the Crooked River region," said Merkley.

According to a press release, the agreement:

* Provides the city of Prineville with a dependable supply of water.

* Ensures a reliable supply of water to farmers.

* Enhances the ability to improve fish habitat in the Crooked River and McKay Creek.

The Ochoco Irrigation District, WaterWatch, Trout Unlimited and theConfederated Tribes of Warm Springs are among the parties to theagreement.

"I commend Sen. Wyden, Sen. Merkley and Gov. Kitzhaber for taking astrong position in support of farmers and ranchers who rely upon theCrooked River to responsibly grow crops and raise livestock," BrianBarney, chairman of the Ochoco Irrigation District, said in the release.

--Mitch Lies

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