12 CapitalPress.com January 26, 2018 Army Corps is considering ﬁ ve construction options PROJECT from Page 1 to ﬂ ooding during high river ﬂ ows. Butler, who serves on the board of directors for the San- tiam Water Control District, said the impacts could be dev- astating for agriculture in the Mid-Willamette Valley. “If we can’t irrigate, we can’t plant vegetable crops. If we can’t plant them, then NORPAC is looking for veg- etable crops elsewhere,” But- ler said. “It’s going to be an issue.” Farmers are not the only ones who would be impacted. The cities of Salem and Stay- ton both get their drinking wa- ter from the North Santiam, and Detroit Lake is a popular destination for ﬁ shing, boat- ing and outdoor recreation that drives tourism in the area. The Army Corps is current- ly considering ﬁ ve construc- tion alternatives with varying levels of drawdown at Detroit Lake. Tom Conning, spokes- man for the agency’s Portland District, said it is still early in the process and will take years to complete an environmental impact study before work can begin in 2021, at the earliest. Butler said local farmers are not pushing the panic but- ton yet, but they realize how much is at stake. “The jury’s still out,” he said. “We have to take a wait-and-see attitude on how they’re going to make it hap- pen.” The proposal Completed in 1953, De- troit Dam is a 450-foot-tall concrete structure on the North Santiam. It provides 321,000 acre-feet of water storage and has a peak elec- tricity generation capacity of 100 megawatts. It is also a barrier for salm- on and steelhead that migrate to the Paciﬁ c Ocean before re- turning up the river as adults to spawn. Over the last 10 years, fewer ﬁ sh have returned on average into the Upper Willa- mette Basin compared to the previous 50-year average, ac- cording to the Oregon Depart- ment of Fish & Wildlife which tracks passage at Willamette Falls Dam. Combined spring and fall chinook returns averaged 11,757 fewer ﬁ sh per year, or roughly a 24 percent reduction, while winter steelhead returns averaged 3,852 fewer ﬁ sh, a 41 percent reduction. To protect the species, the National Ma- rine Fisheries Service issued a biological opinion — called a BiOp — in 2008 outlining what the Army Corps needs to do to improve ﬁ sh survival. Part of the BiOp includes the project proposed at Detroit Dam, said Conning, the Corps spokesman. “Basically, (the BiOp) gave us some recommendations for reasonable, prudent actions to take so we did not violate the Endangered Species Act,” Conning said. The plan has two compo- nents. First, the Corps would build a temperature control tower — called a selective withdrawal structure — roughly the height U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers The 450-foot-tall Detroit Dam on the North Santiam River near Detroit, Ore. Online Selective Withdrawal Structure explained The construction of a temperature control tower next to Detroit Dam would allow for mixing water from various depths, resulting in optimal temperature flows downstream for migrating fish. Spil Temperature control tower lwa Better water temperatures for migrating adult fish. y Dam ock Penst voir Reser Floating intake pulls warmer water from the surface in summer, and cooler water from below in the fall. s e Turbin Warmer surface water or cooler water from deeper within the reservoir mix in the penstock and in Big Cliff Reservoir downstream. tream Downs of a 30-story building next to Detroit Dam. It would mix wa- ter from different levels of the reservoir to ensure the water released downstream is neither too warm nor too cold for the ﬁ sh. “Salmon need a speciﬁ c temperature to navigate all the way back to where they orig- inally spawn from,” Conning said. The second component would be a ﬂ oating screen structure about the size of a football ﬁ eld to capture ju- venile ﬁ sh swimming down- stream in the reservoir so they can be moved past the dam either by truck or bypass pipe. Together, Conning estimat- ed the work will cost between $100 million and $250 million. But ﬁ rst, the Corps must com- plete its environmental impact study evaluating the impacts on everything from aesthetics to the water supply. “We’re getting feedback from the public about their concerns,” Conning said. Five alternatives For farmers, the chief con- cern remains how the Corps plans to build the project, and Farmers are legally required to respond to the census CENSUS from Page 1 “There is still a lot of interest in small farms across the country,” he said. “In the Northwest, we have quite a few small farms.” In a statement released late last year, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said every response matters. “The Census of Agriculture is USDA’s largest data collection endeavor, providing some of the most wide- ly used statistics in the industry,” Perdue said. “Col- lected in service to American agriculture since 1840, the census gives every producer the opportunity to be represented so that informed decisions can support their efforts to provide the world with food, fuel, feed and ﬁ ber.” Farmers are legally required to respond to the cen- sus. Individual grower information is kept anonymous and used solely for statistical purposes. Census surveys can be ﬁ lled out online or by mail, though online reporting is encouraged. Mertz said sur- veys take an average of 50 minutes to complete. “Of course, there are some operations that are small and fairly simple,” he said. “Some of the larger, more complicated operations you expect will take a bit lon- ger.” More information is available at www.nass.usda. gov. Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District Alan Kenaga/Capital Press how that will affect the irriga- tion supplies. The alternatives for build- ing the tower at Detroit Dam range from draining the reser- voir for two full years — what the agency calls “building in the dry” — to no drawdown whatsoever, or what it calls “building in the wet.” Building in the dry poses the lowest safety risk of the al- ternatives, but potentially has the greatest impact on water users. Building in the wet, on the other hand, has the lowest im- pact on water users, but is the most expensive and dangerous of the ﬁ ve options. Anoth- er option involves building a temporary coffer dam around the construction site, allowing the reservoir level to remain higher. The Santiam Water Con- trol District was formed in 1954 and is responsible for delivering irrigation water to more than 17,000 acres of farmland, along with water to three hydroelectric plants and other uses. The district also provides the majority of municipal water to the city of Stayton, population 8,080. District Manager Brent Stevenson said the project de- tails are still fuzzy, but each of the Corps’ ﬁ ve alternatives describes at least one season with reduced or no stored wa- ter. “Early on, it’s just really hard to clearly identify what the range of impacts could be,” Stevenson said. “The worst case is we don’t have water available for the draw- down years.” The value of the crops grown in the area adds up quickly. Marion County is the top agricultural producer in Oregon, according to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, with 286,194 acres of farms generating $592.8 million in farm gate value. The district provides water to about 6 per- cent of the county’s farms. Mary Anne Cooper, public policy counsel for the Oregon Farm Bureau, said the organi- zation will submit comments to the Corps, and has big con- cerns from both an irrigation and ﬂ ood control perspective. “There’s not a ton of infor- mation out there, but one of the plans does look at dewa- tering the reservoir,” Cooper said. “It seems like there’s got to be another way to achieve any ﬁ sheries objectives that need to be achieved.” Public feedback The Corps won’t release its draft impact study until next year. Until then, Con- ning said the agency is urging stakeholders to provide feed- back that will help it analyze each alternative. “We need input from the public,” he said. “They might know something we don’t about how much water they need, or those types of is- sues.” Steve Keudell, a board member of the Santiam Water Control District and co-owner of Keudell Farms in Aums- ville, Ore., said draining De- troit Lake for any period of time could potentially alter the face of farming in this part of the Willamette Valley. “You’d have to try to raise crops that aren’t so dependent on irrigation,” Keudell said. “You basically either turn into a dryland farmer, or maybe you’d have to look at drill- ing irrigation wells. ... There’s More information about the project and a timeline of activ- ities is available on the Army Corps website at http://www. nwp.usace.army.mil. obviously going to be an ex- pense.” In 39 years of farming, Keudell said he has never gone without irrigation water for his ﬁ elds. “In our case, all lower ground has water rights on it,” he said. “The peppermint and the vegetables get watered ev- ery year. There’s never been a year, and there won’t be a year that I foresee, when you wouldn’t need irrigation for that.” On Tuesday, Stevenson submitted four pages of writ- ten comments to the Corps on behalf of the district. He asked the Army Corps to complete a detailed “water budget” iden- tifying all legal water rights, which would then be reviewed by the Oregon Water Resourc- es Department to determine exactly which rights would be vulnerable during the project construction. The district also wants to the Corps to analyze which ﬂ ows may released from the nearby Big Cliff Dam during construction. Big Cliff Dam is 2.7 riv- er miles below Detroit Dam, though it does not store nearly as much water and is instead relied upon as a “re-regula- tion” dam, smoothing out ﬂ ows from power generation at Detroit Dam. “It is critical to understand if Bureau of Reclamation stored irrigation water will be available during the construc- tion period,” Stevenson wrote in his comments. He added the federal Bureau of Reclamation should be included as a coop- erating agency on the project. For now, Keudell said he is trying not to get too alarmed and carry on business as usual. “I just don’t know how it’s going to work,” he said. ‘It’s not going to be fun for producers. It’s not complicated, but it’s different’ EPA from Page 1 having the information on ﬁ le will help responders react to re- ports of odors. The court has twice granted EPA motions to delay the rule. The most recent stay expired Jan. 22. As of Wednesday, the court had neither ﬁ nalized the order nor granted the EPA more time. The EPA, in its motion, said it will use the time to contact farm- ers without internet access, ﬁ nish a streamlined reporting form and beef up its call center to keep the National Response Center’s sys- tem from crashing. The federal government can levy ﬁ nes of up to $50,000 a day for not reporting emissions under CERCLA. The law also allows environmental groups to sue to enforce the law. Efforts to obtain comment from the Waterkeeper Alli- ance, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to the mandate, were unsuccessful. If the court denies the motion to delay the rule, the EPA has in- structed producers to email the National Response Center. With- in a month, producers would have to follow up and ﬁ le a form with EPA regional ofﬁ ces. “It’s not going to be fun for producers. It’s not complicated, but it’s different,” Washington State Dairy Federation policy director Jay Gordon said. “You check the box and then do some- thing more productive.” EPA has detailed how to comply with the mandate on a website: epa.gov/animalwaste Farms won’t have to report every day that their livestock emitted gas. Instead, producers will be able to register their an- imals as continuously releasing gas. “The EPA is doing its darnedest to be helpful,” Gor- don said. It’s unclear how many producers meet the reporting threshold. The EPA estimates 44,900, but that number was derived eight years ago and has not been updated. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association calculated more than 68,000 beef producers will have to re- port. The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association estimates 141,000 poultry farms will need to re- port. The EPA says there are too many geographic, climate and operational factors to estimate emissions by number of ani- mals. Calculation sheets devel- oped by different universities yield different estimates for similar operations. The EPA says farmers won’t be expected to pinpoint emis- sions, just report a broad range. Farmers won’t be required to monitor or reduce emissions. The U.S. Egg and Poultry Association has developed its own reporting form. The form includes a boilerplate estimate of emissions. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also plans to offer its members a streamlined reporting form when the court makes the mandate ﬁ nal, said Scott Yager, the association’s chief environmental counsel. The association estimates cattle operations with as few as 200 head could meet the report- ing threshold based on research conducted on grain-fed cattle in feedlots. The reporting requirement also applies to cattle in grass pastures. There is no worksheet to calculate emissions from those type of operations, Yager said. He advised all producers to look into whether they need to report. “You should complete a worksheet and get it notarized and keep it in your ﬁ le,” Yager said.