Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 4/12/23 – Klamath National Forest Snow Survey Recorded on April 1 is Far Above Normal of Historic Levels For This Time of Year

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today  A 20% chance of snow showers in the morning, otherwise mostly sunny, with a high near 44.  Northwest winds to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 25. Gusty winds to 15 mph.
 
Thursday    Mostly sunny, with a high near 51. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.  Overnight clear with a low around 27.
Friday   Sunny, with a high near 58. 
Saturday   Mostly sunny, with a high near 65.
Sunday   Partly sunny, with a high near 64.
 
See Road Camera Views around the Basin: 

Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly       
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.            
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

Winter continued strong all through March. The Klamath National Forest has completed the April 1, 2023 snow surveys.

Snow pack is strong for this time of year according to officials of new survey.
These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the State forecast the quantity of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year.
For the month of March there were many snowfall events; and when snow did fall, it stayed in place and helped build up the local snowpack. The end result is an amount of snow that hasn’t been seen in years and quite welcome after the lows of the previous year.
According to measurements taken for the April survey, the snowpack is at 178 percent of the historic average snow height (snow depth) and at 163 percent of the historic Snow Water Equivalent (“SWE”, measure of water content) across all survey points (see results table).
The Box Camp site was unable to be surveyed this year. An attempt was made, but due to high snow load, the route proved to be overly technical and difficult for snowmobiles to access. However, even without the datapoint, it is clear that it would have joined the other sites as well above the long-term April average.
April 1 is an important date for surveying snow because early April is historically when the snowpack is at its maximum; and this date has the greatest weight when the State forecasts annual water availability. To gain additional data for April, three extra locations are added to the surveys for this month to supplement the usual five Scott River watershed snow measurement sites. Of these, Etna Mountain and Box Camp are also in the Scott River drainage, and Wolford Cabin is within the Trinity River basin. These additional sites are generally considered too remote or difficult to access on a monthly basis.
Snow surveys are conducted monthly during the winter and spring months (February through May). Forest Service employees travel to established sites in the headwaters of the Scott River watershed to take measurements. The newest measuring site at Scott Mountain has been monitored for over thirty-five years; the oldest site at Middle Boulder has been monitored for over seventy years. Some sites are located close to Forest roads with good access, while others require hours of travel by snowshoe and/or snowmobile.
The height of snow and SWE are measured by a snow sampling tube with a cutter end that is driven through the snowpack, measuring depth. The snow core is then weighed to determine the water content (SWE). The information is forwarded to the State of California, where the data is compiled with other snow depth reports and becomes part of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys program. The data is managed by the California Department of Water Resources; more information is available on their website.

 

Each year, the Klamath County School District awards Crystal Apples to eight certified and classified staff who best exemplify its mission: “Inspiring today’s students to meet tomorrow’s challenges.”

Award winners include: Adriana Atwood, Rachel Belenfant, Christopher Benjamin, Robert Chambrose, Shannon McDonald, Crystal Renslow, Laci Teaters, and Olga Wenick.
The winners will receive their Crystal Apples during a celebration at 7:00 PM on April 25 at the Ross Ragland Theater. The event is open to the public. 

 

Oregon Tech’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Club plans to give back to the community this weekend and earn some money for the Braxton Jowell and Parker Kowash Bereavement Foundation for the Sky Lakes Birthing Center.

The club is holding its first spring fundraising event of the year from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15 at Les Schwab Tire Center on Washburn Way. The Club will be washing cars at the cost of $5 per vehicle.
Proceeds will be divided up between two foundations: Diagnostic Medical Sonography Foundation for Oregon Tech, a foundation that assists transitioning juniors going from on-campus instruction to their externship by helping with moving costs; and the Braxton Jowell and Parker Kowash Bereavement Fund for the Sky Lakes Birthing Center.
Founded in 2012 by Bobbi Kowash and Claudia Kelly after losing their respective sons due to birthing complications, the Braxton Jowell and Parker Kowash Bereavement Fund supports those who go through the loss of a child.
Offering a bit of comfort and love through the healing process, Braxton and Parker’s foundation provides for “parents of angels” a memory box filled with clay molds of the lost child’s feet or hands, teddy bears and homemade quilts among many other things. The foundation also helps financially for any costs associated with a funeral, life flight or travel expenses.

 

For the first time since Oregon’s Bottle Bill recycling program began, Oregonians returned more than two billion beverage containers, as the program paid out more than $205 million to consumers and local nonprofits in 2022.
The Oregon Beverage and Recycling Cooperative, which oversees the Bottle Bill program, recently released its 2022 data.
According to OBRC president and CEO Jules Bailey, the program hit another milestone — the highest redemption rate in the nation. On average Bailey said the redemption rate across the nation is 35%.
Oregon’s Bottle Bill is a first-of-its-kind recycling program that was implemented in 1971 to reduce a growing litter problem along Oregon beaches, highways and other public areas. It’s funded by implementing fees on distributors depending on the bottle and container sold in stores.
The redemption program charges a 10-cent fee when consumers buy a redeemable container which they can get back when they return the empty container to redemption centers or participating stores.
Consumers can open BottleDrop accounts and choose to keep the funds or defer their redemptions to benefit nonprofits and programs like food banks, schools and environmental groups. In 2022, more than 5,000 Oregon nonprofits raised $5.1 million by redeeming bottles and cans.
One of those is the Oregon College Saving Plan. After launching more than three years ago, the program recently announced it reached $1 million saved for higher education through the Bottle Bill program.

 

Seems like a long shot to get it done this fast but removal of the Copco 2 dam, one of four Klamath River dams that will be coming down, is still on schedule to be removed this summer 2023. 

The dam while seems needed and efficient is a 25 ft-high dam and 27 MW powerhouse that dewaters 1.4 miles of river. 
Mark Bransom, CEO for Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), said projects preparing for removing Copco 2 are on schedule with the actual removal planned between June and October.
The other three hydroelectric dams — Copco 1, Irongate and John C. Boyle — are planned to be removed in 2024 making the project the largest dam removal effort in U.S. history. A report by a Medford television station caused some confusion when it indicated that no dams would be removed until next year.
Copco 2 is located below Copco 1 and the Copco Reservoir and above the Iron Gate Reservoir and Iron Gate Dam.
Bransom noted a series of actions are being taken in advance of all four dam removals. For Copco 2, pre-removal work includes mobilizing and setting up offices, constructing road and infrastructure improvements, installing a 24- by 60-foot culvert at Fall Creek, installing a 260-foot prefabricating truss bridge over the Klamath River at Daggett Road, installing 3,300-feet of 24-inch steel, waterline for the city of Yreka, removing 13 recreational facilities at all four reservoirs, and drilling and blasting a 90-foot long 10-1/2-foot tunnel at the base of Copco 1 dam.
Other work includes constructing new access roads to both Copco dams, demolishing an existing concrete diversion dam, and removing existing on-site residential buildings.
According to the construction overview, Copco 2 will be removed by drilling and blasting with the removal projected to be completed this fall. A restored river channel will be built through the existing dam footprint.
In addition, during the next several months reservoirs behind the existing dams will be simultaneously drawn down and other projects completed before the dams are removed. The pre-removal work will include demolishing 100,000 cubic yards of concrete, 1.3 million cubic yards of excavation, 70,000 cubic yards of “drill and shoot,” and 2,000 tons of steel demolition. Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) will revegetate the impacted areas with native plant species. More than 11 billion native seeds have already been collected and propagated. Monitoring to ensure revegetation success, control invasive species and other restoration activities will last several years, until about 2030.

 

The City of Klamath Falls along with the Klamath Falls Downtown Association, is announcing the opening of the application period for the downtown Seasonal Pedlet/Parklet Program available for businesses located within the Downtown corridor.

A pedlet is a temporary thoroughfare, that allows a business to use the sidewalk as outdoor dining/retail space, while providing a safe area for pedestrians to walk. The pedlet uses the area of one parallel parking space, is level with the sidewalk and is ADA compliant. The City of Klamath Falls has fabricated two pedlets in collaboration with Healthy Klamath and the Klamath Falls Downtown Association.
These structures are currently available and ready to install as early as May 2023. If interest exceeds current availability, the City may consider constructing additional pedlets, dependent on the number and quality of the applications received. 2021 was the first year pedlets were introduced downtown and they were again put out in 2022. They were well-received and added vibrance to our Downtown area.
If interested, there is the option available to apply to construct your own pedlet/parklet. Applicants are encouraged to provide as much detail and information as possible when applying to participate in the pedlet program.
The Seasonal Pedlet Program Manual and Application can be found on the City’s website at: https://klamathfalls.city/415/Seasonal-Pedlet-Program-City-of-Klamath-. If you would like more information, please contact City Development Services at (541) 883-4950.

 

The Ross Ragland Theater will present Matilda the Musical! for their 2023 summer production.

Three performances will be held July 7-9. The show will be directed by former Klamath Union theater teacher, Richard Hoffman. With musical direction by Katie Garvin and choreography by RRT Executive Director, Samantha Burris.
Auditions will take place at the Ross Ragland Theater on May 1and 2 at 6:00PM. Callbacks are on May 3 and are by invitation only.
Matilda is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, the Tony Award-winning Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of a better life. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda has won 47 international awards and continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages around the world.
The production will feature a cast of young performers ranging in age. All ages are encouraged to audition.
RRT is seeking: Triple threat young performers. They are looking for experienced performers of all types and backgrounds to play a variety of interesting characters.  This is a very challenging show.  Strong singers and dancer/movers needed.
Find out more about auditions this May by visiting the Ross Ragland Theater’s website at https://ragland.org/AUDITIONS/

 

The Ella Redkey Pool is closed for a couple of weeks for Spring maintenance. The closure began April 3rd and will last through Sunday, April 16.
The closure will not affect the Aqua Egg Hunt — scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8 — but there will be limited locker room access during the event.  For more information, call 541-273-1477.

 

This years’ Sky Lakes Foundation Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, June 23 at Running Y Ranch Resort. Participants can join by us this year by registering a team or sponsoring the event.   
The event includes 18 holes of golf, fun games along the way, trophies for group winners, 50/50 card game, box lunch, heavy appetizers, and so much more. All proceeds from the event and sponsorships will go towards our Family Birthing Center to purchase equipment to help our mothers be more comfortable, safe, and provide an overall better birthing experience.   
The tournament starts at 9 a.m. with a shot gun start, four person scramble. The goal for the tournament is to raise $40,000. There are many potential sponsorship opportunities for the 2023 Golf Tournament listed on the event website.

 

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced funding allocations for the Homelessness State of Emergency.

Portland and Multnomah County will get 18-million dollars; Hillsboro, Beaverton and Washington County will get eight-million and Clackamas County will get four-million dollars. Eugene and Lane County will get 15-million dollars; Central Oregon will receive 14 million; Salem, Marion, and Polk counties will receive 10-million dollars and Medford and Jackson County will get nearly nine-million dollars. The money will be used to rehouse families and create
new shelter beds.

OHCS awards funding to reduce unsheltered homelessness in emergency areas included in Governor Kotek’s state of emergency

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has approved grant agreements to award funding to regions declared emergency areas in Governor Kotek’s homelessness state of emergency. The regions known as Continuum of Care (CoC) are areas or counties where unsheltered homelessness has increased by 50% or more since 2017. 

The emergency areas are tasked to achieve Governor Kotek’s goals to reduce unsheltered homelessness by January 2024. The initiative will work to prevent 8,750 households from becoming homeless statewide, add at least 600 low-barrier shelter beds in emergency areas, and rehouse at least 1,200 unsheltered households in emergency areas. 

“These goals set by our Governor are bold, but it is the urgent response needed to tackle a crisis that has been destabilizing our neighbors, families and friends for far too long,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “The work ahead will require the galvanization of every community—large and small—for us to achieve these shared goals. All people of Oregon are worth fighting for. To that end, we will be relentless through the lens of humanity in supporting our local partners in the pursuit for meaningful progress.”

Last month, Governor Kotek signed legislation passed by the Oregon Legislature to address the state’s housing and homelessness crisis, including $155 million the Governor proposed to reduce homelessness in all regions of the state. The funding will be used for homelessness prevention programs, more shelter capacity, rehousing services and more. 

House Bill 5019 appropriated $85.2 million for local homelessness emergency plans. OHCS will reserve $3 million to ensure the goals of the emergency order are achieved. An additional $3 million will be used for a statewide landlord incentive, available to landlords participating in local rehousing efforts. In addition, the early funding package included $33.6 million to help prevent homelessness for an estimated 8,750 households. This funding will be distributed statewide through existing eviction prevention programs.

The requests from all regions within the emergency order totaled $98.8 million, so there were not enough funds to provide each region with its full funding request. OHCS in coordination with the Oregon Department of Emergency Management (ODEM) will be offering ongoing technical assistance to MAC groups as they implement their plans. Below is the breakdown of funding allocated to each Continuum of Care included in the emergency declaration, which totals $79.2 million.

  • Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County: $18.2 million to rehouse 275 households and create 138 shelter beds
  • Eugene/Springfield/Lane County: $15.5 million to rehouse 247 households and create 230 shelter beds
  • Central Oregon: $13.9 million to rehouse 161 households and create 111 shelter beds
  • Salem/Marion, Polk Counties: $10.4 million to rehouse 158 households and create 79 shelter beds
  • Medford, Ashland/Jackson County: $8.8 million to rehouse 133 households and create 67 shelter beds
  • Hillsboro/Beaverton/Washington County: $8.0 million to rehouse 121 households and create 61 shelter beds
  • Clackamas County: $4.4 million to rehouse 130 households.

Recognizing that unsheltered homelessness impacts communities in every part of Oregon, the legislature also approved $26 million to address homelessness in the counties that did not meet the threshold of the emergency order when the Governor issued it on January 10, 2023. Counties not in the original declared emergency areas will receive funding in July to create new shelter beds and rehouse people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 

Frequently asked questions about the grant agreements can be found in the OHCS website here.

 

Arrest made in Fatal Vehicle Accident that dated back to October 2022 in Medford

Today at about 9AM, Medford Police contacted Eric McGowan at his place of work on So. Riverside Avenue where he was arrested on several criminal charges regarding a fatal auto accident involving a pedestrian on Happy Valley Drive.   He was lodged at the Jackson County Jail with a bail of $250,000 on Manslaughter charges of his wife, Lacey McGowan.
On October 31st, 2022 at about 2115 Hours, The Medford Police Department and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of an automobile versus pedestrian motor vehicle accident in the 2100-block of Happy Valley Drive. Upon arrival, MPD officers found 32-year-old Lacey McGowan deceased. The driver of the vehicle was her husband, 34-year-old Eric McGowan. 
The Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction team (STAR) was called to the scene and assumed the investigation. The STAR team is a specialized team of reconstruction experts that handles serious injury and fatal motor vehicle accidents. The team is comprised of members of the Medford Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. 
It was learned through the investigation that Eric McGowan and Lacey McGowan were arguing while traveling home in a vehicle and that at one point the vehicle stopped so that Lacey McGowan could exit.
While exiting the vehicle, Lacey McGowan was struck by the vehicle driven by her husband and died on scene. After a lengthy and time-consuming investigation, this case was presented to a Grand Jury on April 4th, 2023. The Grand Jury have indicted Eric McGowan on charges for Manslaughter 1, Manslaughter 2 and DUII. 

 

Federal Complaint Filed in Medford Against BLM to Stop Timber Harvest Plan
An Oregon-based group have a complaint filed against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management about some of its plans to allow timber harvest.
Monday a coalition of conservation groups filed a legal complaint challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “Integrated Vegetation Management” (IVM) program that they say, “would aggressively log forest stands located within Late Successional Reserves, areas purportedly set aside for forest conservation.”
The groups include Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands (KS Wild), Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild. They said the IVM authorizes forest “gap creation” and “open seral” logging prescriptions within mature and old-growth forests that are fire-resilient and provide important habitat at risk wildlife species.
In February, BLM said two Josephine County communities were getting federal attention to improve wildfire resilience when it issued its project plan near Murphy and Williams, Oregon, both south of Grants Pass. BLM’s said its decision was intended to promote safe wildfire response, develop fire resilient lands and create habitat for special status species.
The BLM project is called Late Mungers Integrated Vegetation Management Project. It includes prescribed fire, fire fuel thinning and selection harvest actions. BLM said during the next decade it expects wildfire fuels reduction work on about 7,500 acres.
BLM said the project work will start at strategic locations where fire managers have the best chance to catch and contain wildfires.
They also said the project includes 830 acres of proposed harvests split into two timber sales, with selection harvest methods increasing diversity of forest stands. 
BLM said a more complex habitat is important for the northern spotted owl, the marbled murrelet and Pacific marten as federally – species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
KS Wild Conservation Director George Sexton says, “BLM timber planners can dance around it all they want, but it’s crystal clear that gap creation logging creates clearcuts that remove habitat and increase fire hazard.”
Protesters have picketed BLM’s Medford office at least twice this year to challenge BLM’s plans to allow the timber harvest south of Grants Pass.
The plaintiff’s group said the first commercial IVM logging project called Penn Butte is scheduled to be auctioned in late May, saying, “Penn Butte is located in the Williams Late Successional Reserve and would remove over 400-acres of old-growth habitat through ‘open seral’ logging and another 51 acres through ‘gap creation’ clearcutting.”
Crag Law Center, which is part of the plaintiffs’ action, attorney Meriel Darzen said, “The BLM sidestepped its procedural duties and cut the public out of the process when it decided to approve thousands of acres of large tree logging without explaining where the logging will occur and how it would affect existing forests in the short and long-term. This is particularly egregious where these particular forests were set aside by the agency itself as reserve lands with the goal of protecting habitat.”
The group U.Ss Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion for Penn Butte concluded that the proposed old growth logging is “likely to adversely affect” spotted owls and their designated critical habitat.
Oregon Wild Conservation and Restoration Coordinator Doug Heiken said, “The forests targeted for removal in Penn Butte are resilient, healthy, and most important they are designated as reserves for conservation, not timber supply. If we want to store carbon and provide habitat this is the place for careful conservation, not aggressive logging.”
Cascadia Wildlands Legal Director Nick Cady says, “If the BLM is interested in real fire-focused restoration, we would be fully supportive, but aggressively logging wildlife habitat in the Late Successional Reserves that will increase fire hazard for the surrounding community is ridiculous. It demonstrates that this agency does not care what this community has been through and is only concerned with producing timber volume.” (SOURCE)
You can also find more on this story at OPB t: https://www.opb.org/article/2023/03/08/think-out-loud-southwest-oregon-forest-management-plan-draws-backlash/

 

The Fentanyl crisis continues in Southern Oregon, as one of the two hospitals in the Medford area says there is cause for great concern.

Providence Hospital officials said over the last three days they have seen a sharp increase in the number of people coming into the hospital because of Fentanyl overdoses.
Last Friday was especially notable. Their emergency department saw 6 overdose patients within hours of each other.
The hospital saw six overdose cases within seven hours. One of them died, and the others were still at the hospital, over the weekend.
Even a small dose of Fentanyl can be deadly and it’s nearly impossible to tell if something has been laced with it.
Local health professionals say  if you think someone may be overdosing call 911, give them Naloxone or Narcan, keep the person awake, lay them on their side, and wait for first responders to arrive.

 

A ban on the Abortion drug Mifepristone has been temporarily stopped in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

The Washington and Oregon Attorneys General joined with the other states to fight a ruling by a Texas federal judge that banned sale of the drug. The FDA is also expected to appeal the judge’s ruling. The state’s argue the drug was approved by the FDA in 2000 and has been used safely by millions of Americans. The states are also suing the FDA to remove what they say are overly restrictive regulations on the drug. That lawsuit is still pending.
Documents show that State officials warned utilities about fire risks and encouraged them to shut down power lines before the 2020 Labor Day weekend wildfires, newly filed court documents show.
The role those power lines played in igniting fires has become a central question in multiple lawsuits over the 2020 wildfire season, when powerful east winds swept fire across more than a million acres in Oregon, killing nine people and burning thousands of homes.

 

The Oregon Zoo has welcomed a new rare African bontebok calf. He was born to eight-year-old “Winter” in the Zoo’s Africa Savanna area.

The bontebok, which is related to the antelope, is arguably the first African animal saved from human-caused extinction after it was hunted almost to extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries. The calf, now weighing about 18 pounds, won’t venture outside to greet visitors until he’s a little older. and the weather gets a little warmer.

 

Food Waste Prevention Week is April 10-16, and the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality is encouraging all people in Oregon to take simple steps to reduce waste, save money and help the environment.
Preventing food waste is in the interests of people and businesses across Oregon and beyond, to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and make the best use of food grown and manufactured for human consumption.
This year DEQ is partnering with 42 local governments and community organizations across the state of Oregon. Among many statewide activities, Oregon Food Waste Prevention Week partners will be hosting a webinar in Spanish, and DEQ is working with Feed the Mass, a grassroots organization that supports communities throughout the Portland metro area experiencing food insecurity, to put on a community education event for food waste prevention and urban agriculture.
A third of all food in the U.S. is wasted and costs every Oregon household $1,800 per year on average. Food accounts for the second highest contribution of greenhouse gasses people in Oregon generate and preventing food waste is one of the easiest ways we can help combat climate change.
While many people are already taking steps to reduce food waste, 70 percent of food that Oregon households throw out is food that could have been eaten had it not been allowed to spoil. Preventing one ton of food from being wasted offers six-to-seven times larger reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the food’s lifecycle, on average, than keeping food waste out of landfills through composting or anaerobic digestion.

 

The deadline to file state and federal personal income tax returns is a week from tomorrow, on Tuesday, April 18th, with more than 1 million Oregon taxpayers still expected to file. 

More than 1.1 million Oregonians have already filed their state personal income tax returns. The department is expecting over 2.2 million total returns this year. Of those 1.1 million taxpayers, more than 820,000 have received refunds, with other refunds still pending. A Where’s My Refund? tool is available on Revenue’s website for personal income tax filers now.
The department offers the following information for taxpayers who still need to file their state return.
E-filing is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks. Taxpayers should file just once. Sending a paper return through the mail after e-filing will a delay a refund. 
Oregon personal income tax return filers with an adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less may qualify to file both their state and federal taxes electronically for free. There are four approved tax preparation software products that partner with Oregon to offer free electronic filing.
Each vendor has different free filing criteria, so filers should do their research and choose the best vendor to fit their needs. Read about the free options listed to see if you are eligible.

Taxpayers that don’t meet the income requirements for guided preparation can file for free using Oregon Free Fillable Forms. Free Fillable Forms performs basic calculations and are ideal for taxpayers who don’t need help preparing their returns and want the convenience of filing electronically. A detailed series of steps for using free fillable forms are available on the agency’s electronic filing page. The IRS offers a similar option for filing federal taxes electronically.
The Oregon Department of Revenue reports that about half of Oregonians have filed their state income taxes. They expect around two-point-two million people to file returns this year. Of the one-point-one million people who have filed so far, over 820-thousand have received refunds. The Oregon Department of Revenue website has a “Where’s My Refund” tool. Both federal and state income tax returns need to be filed by April 18th, because in Washington D.C. April 17th is the Emancipation Day holiday.

 

Salmon Fishing Season Canceled For Most Of West Coast

A federal regulatory group voted Thursday to officially close king salmon fishing season along much of the West Coast after near-record low numbers of the fish, also known as chinook, returned to California’s rivers last year.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved the closure of the 2023 season for all commercial and most recreational chinook fishing along the coast from Cape Falcon in northern Oregon to the California-Mexico border. Limited recreational salmon fishing will be allowed off Southern Oregon in the fall.
“The forecasts for Chinook returning to California rivers this year are near record lows,” Council Chair Marc Gorelnik said after the vote in a news release. “The poor conditions in the freshwater environment that contributed to these low forecasted returns are unfortunately not something that the Council can, or has authority to, control.”
California had already last month issued a salmon fishing ban for the remainder of the season. According to CBS Bay Area, it marked only the second time in state history that California had canceled its salmon fishing season, with the last ban taking place between 2008 and 2009, also due to drought conditions.
Biologists say the chinook salmon population has declined dramatically after years of drought. Many in the fishing industry say Trump-era rules that allowed more water to be diverted from the Sacramento River Basin to agriculture caused even more harm.A Chinook salmon leaps from the water in a holding pond at Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Jan. 19, 2022, in Anderson, California. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
The closure applies to adult fall-run chinook and deals a blow to the Pacific Northwest’s salmon fishing industry.
Much of the salmon caught off Oregon originate in California’s Klamath and Sacramento rivers. After hatching in freshwater, they spend three years on average maturing in the Pacific, where many are snagged by commercial fishermen, before migrating back to their spawning grounds, where conditions are more ideal to give birth. After laying eggs, they die.
The council is an advisory group to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, which makes the final decision, but historically has followed the council’s rulings. The secretary’s decision will be posted in the Federal Register within days.
Experts fear native California salmon are in a spiral toward extinction. Already California’s spring-run chinook are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, while winter-run chinook are endangered along with the Central California Coast coho salmon, which has been off-limits to California commercial fishers since the 1990s.
Recreational fishing is expected to be allowed in Oregon only for coho salmon during the summer and for chinook after Sept. 1. Salmon season is expected to open as usual north of Cape Falcon, including in the Columbia River and off Washington’s coast.
Though the closure will affect tens of thousands of jobs, few are opposed to it. Many fishers say they want to take action now to guarantee healthy stocks in the future.
They hope the unusually wet winter in California that has mostly freed the state of drought will bring relief. An unprecedented series of powerful storms has replenished most of California’s reservoirs, dumping record amounts of rain and snow and busting a severe three-year drought. But too much water running through the rivers could kills eggs and young hatchlings.

 

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