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About Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current | View Entire Issue (April 1, 2016)
FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2016
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
An aspen grove is
seen in a draw of Pine
Creek, northwest of
Riverside, Wash. It
was burned by back-
burning during last
VOLUME 89, NUMBER 14
ranchers hang on
after massive ﬁ res
By DAN WHEAT
IVERSIDE, Wash. — Fourth-generation
Pine Creek rancher Gerald Scholz ﬁ g-
ured he was out of business.
Fireﬁ ghters last August set back-
burns to stop wildﬁ res that burned about
600,000 acres of Okanogan County, a
sprawling part of North-Central Wash-
ington that borders Canada.
But wind blew the backburns out
of control. One destroyed most of
Scholz’s grazing ground for his cat-
tle, 95 percent of his timber, 39 cows,
1,425 tons of hay, two hay sheds, a
swather and other equipment.
“I’m burned out,” Scholz, 52, said last August.
He had no place for his cows to graze, and he was
forced to buy hay or ﬁ nd other grazing land for the
cattle that remained.
State Department of Natural Resources ofﬁ cials
have said they saved many ranches, but Scholz
says he begged them not to backburn the Pine
nog an River
site of Pine
Alan Kenaga/Capital Press
Turn to SURVIVAL, Page 12
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Jim Utt cuts a bale of straw to supplement alfalfa for his cattle on his ranch north of Riverside, Wash.
His 92-year-old father, Melvin, watches and usually handles these chores alone. Like many ranchers
in Okanogan County, they will feed hay two months longer this spring and maybe through the summer
because of pastures burned in 2015 wildﬁ res.
EPA funds campaign discrediting Wash. farmers
Seattle PR firm hired to promote stronger regulations
By DON JENKINS
A federally funded website that
urges Washington state lawmakers to
adopt new regulations on agriculture
has drawn the ire of farm groups and
the attention of two congressmen.
The website, whatsupstream.com,
was set up with a grant from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency to
the Northwest Indian Fisheries Com-
mission, which relayed the money to
the Swinomish Indian Tribe in north-
EPA ofﬁ cials have been regular-
An advertising sign on
a Whatcom County
bus promotes a fed-
erally funded website
that takes farmers to
task for purportedly
ly updated over the past four years
as a Seattle public relations ﬁ rm
hired by the tribe has orchestrated
a media campaign to link farmers
with water pollution and “build
public support for a regulatory
Courtesy of Save Family
Turn to EPA, Page 12
Environmentalists oppose ofﬁ cial spotted frog ruling
Written opinion could later serve as legal precedent
By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI
EUGENE, Ore. — Environmentalists
don’t want a federal judge to issue an of-
ﬁ cial written ruling denying their motion
to radically change water management in
several Central Oregon reservoirs.
During a recent court hearing, U.S.
District Judge Ann Aiken told environ-
mental groups they failed to convince
her that a preliminary injunction was
necessary to protect the threatened Or-
egon spotted frog.
The plaintiffs — WaterWatch of
Oregon and the Center for Biological
Diversity — claimed that water ﬂ ows
from the Wickiup, Crane Prairie and
Crescent Lake dams must be signiﬁ -
cantly modiﬁ ed to avoid harming the
However, the U.S. Bureau of Rec-
lamation and irrigation districts ar-
gued the operational changes sought
by environmentalists would be disrup-
tive to the frogs, which have adapted
to stream ﬂ ows since the structures
were built 70 years ago.
The federal agency and three ir-
rigation districts — Central Oregon,
North Unit and Tumalo — are named
as defendants in litigation that alleges
the reservoirs are managed in viola-
tion of the Endangered Species Act.
Rather than appeal the denial of
their injunction request, the environ-
mentalists have requested that Aiken
postpone ﬁ ling an ofﬁ cial written ver-
sion of the ruling.
The plaintiffs say that an “appeal-
able ﬁ nal, formal opinion is not re-
quired to move the matter forward,”
claiming it would instead be “more
productive and efﬁ cient” to send the
case into mediation.
Turn to FROG, Page 12