Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, April 15, 2016, Page 10, Image 10

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April 15, 2016
Flurry of water Oregon research projects awarded grants
complaints under
Capital Press
Farmer files 26
allegations of
rule violations
in Polk County
Capital Press
Farm regulators are inves-
tigating a flurry of complaints
about water quality problems
from agricultural activities in
Oregon’s Polk County.
The Oregon Department
of Agriculture received 26
complaints about alleged vi-
olations of water regulations
in the county over the winter,
which is a high volume over
a relatively short time period
in one area, said John Byers,
manager of the agency’s agri-
cultural water quality program.
“That’s certainly not the
norm,” he said.
The situation is also un-
usual because all of the com-
plaints were filed by a farmer
who serves as a director of the
Polk Soil & Water Conserva-
tion District, which aims to
mitigate water quality prob-
lems, Byers said during a re-
cent meeting of the Oregon
Board of Agriculture.
“As a private citizen, he has
the ability to do that,” Byers
However, the concern is
that Polk County residents
may think the complaints
were brought on behalf of the
district, which could dissuade
them from inquiring about wa-
ter quality questions due to a
fear of enforcement, he said.
Creating that perception
wasn’t the intent of the farmer,
who was concerned about pro-
spective violations in his area,
Byers said.
“I don’t think it was mali-
cious,” he said.
The goal of ODA’s agricul-
tural water quality program is
to ensure compliance with the
rules, rather than take enforce-
ment actions such as issuing
penalties, Byers said.
Landowners who have
water quality violations are
assisted by the local soil and
water conservation district, so
the recent complaints in Polk
County raised questions about
straining that district’s capaci-
ty, he said.
“It becomes a bigger bur-
den on them,” Byers said.
Even so, the complaints
have invigorated discussions
about water quality in the re-
gion, which may ultimately
help further the program’s
goals, he said.
Investigations of the com-
plaints are ongoing, though
some have been closed with-
out finding any violations, he
The vast majority of the
complaints pertain to erosion
from a lack of vegetation or
crops being planted up and
down a slope, though several
relate to livestock and manure
Kelly Gordon, a farmer
from Monmouth and direc-
tor of the Polk S&WCD, said
he was prompted to file the
complaints due to worries
about the effect of heavy rains,
which likely caught farmers
off guard.
Gordon said he did not file
the complaints as a representa-
tive of the district and doesn’t
believe water quality problems
have gotten worse in the coun-
The district’s manager and
another director suggested
that Gordon first approach the
Polk S&WCD before filing a
complaint with ODA, which
he plans to do in the future, he
“I don’t think it’s a perva-
sive thing. It just pops up now
and again,” Gordon said.
Senators to subpoena EPA
chief in Colorado mine spill
Associated Press
ate Republicans vowed April
13 to issue a subpoena to
force the head of the Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency
to appear at a field hearing in
Phoenix next week on a toxic
mine spill that fouled rivers
in three Western states and on
lands belonging to two Native
American tribes.
Wyoming Sen. John Bar-
rasso said the Senate Indian
Affairs Committee would vote
on a plan to subpoena EPA Ad-
ministrator Gina McCarthy.
Barrasso chairs the Indian
Affairs panel, which is con-
ducting an April 22 hearing
on the 3 million-gallon spill
at Colorado’s abandoned Gold
King Mine.
The Aug. 5 spill contami-
nated rivers in Colorado, New
Mexico and Utah, as well as in
the Navajo Nation and South-
ern Ute Reservation.
If approved, the subpoe-
na would be the first issued
by the Indian Affairs panel
since 2004, during the Jack
Abramoff lobbying scandal.
Abramoff was a prominent
Republican lobbyist who
pleaded guilty to charges in-
cluding conspiracy, fraud and
tax evasion in the purchase
of gambling cruise boats. He
spent 3 1/2 years in prison.
A federal investigation
blamed the EPA for the Col-
orado spill, saying an agency
cleanup crew rushed its work,
failed to consider the com-
plex engineering involved and
ended up triggering the very
blowout it hoped to avoid.
Oregon research projects
were awarded nine of 37
grants announced April 7 by
the Western Sustainable Ag-
riculture Research and Educa-
tion program.
Nearly $2.9 million in
grants were awarded for proj-
ects in 11 Western states and
territories, with Oregon pro-
posals awarded $754,721.
The Oregon projects in-
• Extending the winter
squash season, Oregon State
University, $49,958.
• Evaluating hazelnut or-
chard cover crops, OSU,
• Restoring rangeland soil
health, Crooked River Weed
Management, $44,450.
• The impact of wheat
chaff collection on weed con-
trol, OSU, $250,000.
• Soil solarization for weed
control, OSU, $247,329.
• Building Integrated Pest
Management networks, OSU,
• Sustainable grazing in
wetland pastures, Coos Coun-
ty Soil and Water Conserva-
tion District, $15,237.
• On-farm production costs,
farmer Sarah Brown, $9,400.
• Improving water-saving
techniques in vineyards and
orchards, A to Z Wine Works,
Western SARE is funded
by USDA and the National
Institute of Food and Agri-
culture, and is hosted by Utah
State University.
Online http://www.west-
Researchers develop an app to protect bees
Eugene Register-Guard
Researchers want to help
farmers “bee responsible” by
providing a smartphone app
with everything farmers need
to know about protecting bees
while in the field.
The app provides toxicity
ratings for 150 farm chemi-
cals from Abamectin to Zi-
ram, how-tos on avoiding poi-
soning and symptoms of bee
“We looked at the crops
grown in the Northwest,” said
Oregon State University toxi-
cologist Louisa Hooven, “and
then at all the products that
are likely to be used when the
crop is flowering — which is
when the bees will be forag-
ing. Those were the pesticides
we included.”
It’s critical information
because Oregon beekeepers
manage about 70,000 com-
mercial honeybee hives, ento-
mologist Ramesh Sagili said
in a prepared statement.
The bees pollinate about
50 Oregon crops, including
blueberries, cherries, pears,
Associated Press file
In this Jan. 28, 2014, file photo, a hive of honeybees is on display.
Researchers have developed a smart phone app to help farmers
when honeybees are foraging.
apples, clover, meadowfoam
and vegetable seed worth a
half billion dollars annually,
he said.
The app warns farmers
about the circumstances when
most bee poisonings happen,
• Insecticides are applied
when bees are foraging.
• Insecticides are applied
to bee-pollinated crops during
• Insecticides are applied
to blooming weeds in or-
chards or field margins.
• Insecticides drift onto
blooming plants adjacent to
the target crop.
• Bees collect insecti-
(such as corn), nectar (such as
cotton or mint), or other ma-
terials from treated crops that
do not require bee pollination.
• Bees collect insecti-
from plants treated with sys-
temic pesticides.
• Bees collect insecti-
materials, such as leaf pieces
collected by alfalfa leafcut-
ting bees.
• Bees collect insecti-
(from drip tape or chemiga-
tion, for example).
• Beekeepers and growers
do not adequately communi-
The app is meant to help
farmers protect honeybees,
but also native ground-dwell-
ing species such as squash
bees, long-horned bees, sweat
bees, mining bees and bum-
“How to Reduce Bee Poi-
soning” was produced jointly
by OSU, the University of
Idaho and Washington State
University. Its cost was under-
written by beekeeper associa-
tions in Oregon, Idaho, Wash-
ington and California, and by
the Oregon Department of
Oregon standoff defendant Jake Ryan detained until trial
Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — Ref-
uge occupier Jake Ryan will re-
main in a Portland jail pending
trial despite assurances from a
Montana sheriff that he would
keep an eye on him if returned
to that state.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul
Papak said April 7 he might
have granted pre-trial release
had Ryan surrendered last
month after learning that a
grand jury had returned an in-
dictment against him. Instead,
Ryan became a fugitive un-
til his arrest April 5 in Clark
County, Washington.
“The fact that you went into
hiding — into hiding armed —
causes me great concern,” Pa-
pak said.
Ryan, 27, of Plains, Mon-
tana, was one of more than two
dozen people charged because
of their involvement in the 41-
day takeover of the Malheur
National Wildlife Refuge in
Oregon. The men and women
were protesting U.S. land re-
strictions and the imprisonment
of two ranchers who started
Ryan traveled to Oregon in
January with four firearms and
served as a guard.
His attorney, Jesse Mer-
rithew, asked the judge to let
Ryan return to Montana pend-
ing trial. He stressed that Ryan
has no criminal record, and
Sheriff Tom Rummel of Sand-
ers County fully supported
having Ryan return to Plains,
something he wouldn’t want if
Ryan were a problem.
Merrithew said the sheriff
told him that if Ryan ran, “he
would track him down him-
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Craig Gabriel countered that
Rummel is a friend of Ryan’s
family, failed to find him during
the month he went into hiding
and is not entirely cooperative
with federal law enforcement.
“If he’s released, law enforce-
ment is unlikely to find him
again,” Gabriel said.
Ryan was arrested after a
landowner called to report a
trespasser in rural Clark Coun-
ty, Wash. An officer found the
young man sleeping in a shed, a
loaded gun nearby.
Merrithew said Ryan ran
because of fear, because others
were giving him bad advice
and because he wasn’t getting
clear information about what
he was facing. “He is moti-
vated to fight this case and
does not want to run,” Mer-
rithew said.
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