• David Frazier's memoir of Vietnam, "Drafted!", is multilayered - from the days of war in the 60s to return visits as a photography - and as complex as the place itself.
From local to national, to around the world. From inside the home to speculative. From fact to fiction - though we do take care about which is which.

Water rights weekly report for July 3. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

For years, Oregon water activists have proposed a set of serious studies to better understand how the state’s groundwater system works.
The latest attempt, a serious push at the state legislature this year, has collapsed at the Statehouse.

IC Potash on June 12 said that ICP and Intercontinental Potash Corp. (USA) have received a formal offer from the company H20 of Lea County to purchase ICPUSA’s Capitan Reef Complex Aquifer water. H20 is committed to building the required infrastructure and providing the equipment costing approximately USD$2M at no cost to ICPUSA. The potential annual revenue for ICPUSA is USD$4M to USD$6M under the proposed offer by H20.

The regionally well-known Stanley Ranch, located not far from Hawthorne, Nevada, will pass into the hands of the Walker River Pauite Tribe – together with its water rights. Long privately-owned, the ranch in recent years has been held by the Walker Basin Conservancy (which was founded at about the same time).

A water priority call in the Idaho Wood River Valley was dismissed on June 7 by state Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman. The rejection does not necessarily mean the request by senior water right holders lacks validity. Instead, the petition from the Big Wood and Little Wood Water Users Association was turned down on what Spackman said was a lack of standing – the association did not itself constitute an affected party.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for July 3. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Lightning fires struck all over southern Idaho last week, but mostly they were quickly extinguished. More may be coming with the 4th of July weekend, especially given all the discussion about aerial fireworks and their legality, or lack thereof.

State Senator (and Senate Majority Leader) Bart Davis was nominated by President Trump as U.S. attorney for Idaho.

Idaho’s population is aging faster than the nation’s according to estimates recently released by the Census Bureau. Idaho seniors – people age 65 and older – increased by 30 percent from mid-2010 to mid-2016 compared with 22 percent for the nation.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted personal income grew 1.6 percent from $66.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $67.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017. It was the fastest growth rate in the nation. Four other states – Louisiana, Michigan, Florida and Texas – had the next fastest growth in personal income at 1.3 percent, according to recently released figures by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Nationwide, personal income increased by 1.0 percent.

Representative Raúl Labrador will chair the House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee for the remainder of the 115th Congress. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over immigration and border security issues.

The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) lifted a mandatory evacuation notice to the homes in Eagle between Hatchery, Artesian and Trout roads.

Idaho Panhandle Forest Supervisor Mary Farnsworth on June 28 said she has signed the decision, selecting alternative 2, for the Deer Creek Project located on the Bonners Ferry Ranger District.

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Water rights weekly report for June 26. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

Representative Scott Tipton (CO-03) reintroduced the Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 2939) on June 21. The bill would uphold federal deference to state water law and prevent federal takings of privately held water rights. In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service proposed the Groundwater Resource Management Directive, which gave the federal government jurisdiction over groundwater in a manner that was inconsistent with long-established state water law. The USFS withdrew the measure but has indicated a desire to issue a revised directive in the future. The Water Rights Protection Act would prohibit the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior from requiring the transfer of water rights as a condition of any land-use permit.

A lawsuit over how much various Southern California parties should pay for water they import from the Colorado River hit another inflection point point on June 21, as a three-judge panel of a state appellate court reversed significant parts of a 2015 trial court decision.

The state of Montana’s agriculture department has an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, but it’s running into problems because of federal restriction on water use for hemp production.

PHOTO Hemavathi water suppy canal in India.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for June 26. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

It’s a quiet period in the early summer stretch leading up to Independence Day, but state politics got a little shakeup with the campaign change of Russ Fulcher, and with ongoing developments out of Washington.

The Idaho Department of Lands auctioned 14 Payette Lake lots for deeded ownership at a public auction in Boise. The land sales generated $7,895,500 for the endowment funds that support State Hospital South and teacher education programs at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation increased flows from Lucky Peak Dam by an additional 500 cubic feet per second on June 23, at 8 am. The Boise River reservoir system continues to be in active flood control operations in this unusually high water year.

The state of Idaho on June 23 auctioned another U.S. Forest Service timber sale as part of a State-federal partnership to increase management activities on federal lands in Idaho. The Woodrat Salvage Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is Idaho’s second project developed under Good Neighbor Authority, a federal law that enables the Forest Service to partner with the Idaho Department of Lands to achieve restoration and resilient landscape objectives across ownership boundaries in Idaho.

Micron Technology, Inc., on June 22 announced that the company has appointed Sumit Sadana as executive vice president and chief business officer. His addition to the executive team will accelerate the company’s ability to execute on its strategic goals.

The Idaho Transportation Board on June 23 unanimously approved a resolution Thursday that allows the Idaho Transportation Department to move forward with an agreement to develop a public private partnership to build the Northgate Interchange (Siphon Road) in Bannock County.

PHOTO The State of Idaho on June 23 at Kamiah auctioned another U.S. Forest Service timber sale today as part of a State-federal partnership to increase management activities on federal lands in Idaho.. (photo/Idaho Department of Lands)

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Water rights weekly report for June 12. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

In a June 13 court decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco sweepingly affirmed the Gila River Indian Community’s positions regarding numerous water policy issues in the Upper Valley of the Gila River. Of particular importance is the principle that water rights which go unused for a consecutive period of five years are permanently forfeited, no matter when the water was originally appropriated.

Utahns are invited to weigh in on a set of recommendations for a 50-year state water strategy before those recommendations are finalized and delivered to Gov. Gary Herbert. The draft recommendations have been written over the last four years by the State Water Strategy Advisory Team, a volunteer group of water experts including researchers, the Utah climatologist, water managers, agricultural representatives, environmental advocates, elected officials and others.

Notification letters sent recently to Flathead-area water right owners from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s) Water Adjudication Bureau are part of the agency’s ongoing claims examination process. Kathy Olsen, manager of DNRC’s Kalispell Regional Water Office, said the Department has been directed by the Montana Water Court to examine water right claims in Flathead River Basins 76L and 76LJ. The process is not connected with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact or with the proposed Montana Artesian water bottling operation.

A June 16 report in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Journal Sentinel said that newly-filed court documents showed state employees expressing concerns, through emails, about heavy well development in high-irrigation areas. The development, they suggested, could harm area streams and water bodies.

The Nevada capital Carson City on June 15 reached an agreement involving the nearby city of Minden, Douglas County and the Indian Hills General Improvement District to obtain additional water rights.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

It’s a quiet period in the early summer stretch leading up to Independence Day, but state politics got a little shakeup with the campaign change of Russ Fulcher, and with ongoing developments out of Washington.

Former state senator and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher on June 14 said that he will not run for governor, as he had indicated, but instead will seek the first district U.S. House seat.

Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, secured passage of the Countering Russian Aggression and Cyberattacks Act of 2017 today, legislation introduced yesterday as an amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill. The amendment passed 97-2.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the third consecutive month in May to 3.2 percent, underscoring the increased pressure among Idaho employers competing for workers.

The Idaho Department of Finance said on June 16 that before the end of June it will be reaching out by email and U.S. Mail to thousands of individuals licensed to provide financial services in Idaho to seek input on the department’s licensing processes.

Avista has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve a two-year plan calling for rate increases in 2018 and 2019 for its electric and natural gas customers in Idaho.

Ada County’s Mosquito Abatement District has been added to the Local Disaster Emergency Declaration that was created under Idaho Code §46-1011 on March 27.

PHOTO In May, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests planted approximately 45,500 western white pine, larch and cedar in 126 acres of the Lower Flat Salvage Sale area on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District that was burned during the 2015 Grizzly Complex fires. Hemlock needles coat the forest floor masking the ash and burned ground. (photo/Idaho Panhandle National Forest)

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Water rights weekly report for June 12. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

On June 9 New Mexico State Engineer Tom Blaine delivered an order confirming that ranchers have the right to use water for their cattle in the Lincoln National Forest. In 2016, an endangered mouse was found in the forest, leading to the blocking of some areas of the forest for cattle use.

On June 7, U.S. District Court Judge Jesus Bernal granted the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians a motion to lift the stay on legal proceedings regarding the Tribe’s water rights.

Residents around the Oregon side of the Klamath Basin trooped to the Klamath County Circuit Court rooms on June 7 and 8 to listen to options for moving the Klamath adjudication ahead.

Zion Market Research, the market research group announced the analysis report titled “Water Trading Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 2016–2024”.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s June 2017 Total Water Supply Available (TWSA) forecast for the Yakima Basin indicates the water supply will fully satisfy senior and junior water rights this irrigation season.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

May 2017 Idaho General Fund receipts were $210.2 million, which was a 12.2% increase from the previous May. This month’s collections topped the forecasted $195.1 million by $15.2 million (7.8%). The stronger-than-expected showing raised the fiscal year-to-date receipts to $3,087.3 million, which is $64.7 million (2.1%) above the projected $3,022.6 million and 8.1% higher than in May 2016.

Representative Mike Simpson and Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader reintroduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, legislation which would fix the current budgeting process for wildfires.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, late yesterday, signed a Secretarial Order 3353 to improve sage-grouse conservation and strengthen communication and collaboration between state and federal governments. Together, the Federal government and states will work to conserve and protect sage-grouse and its habitat while also ensuring conservation efforts do not impede local economic opportunities.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter hailed a federal magistrate’s recent decision denying a motion from Friends of the Clearwater to block the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed Orogrande Community Protection Project on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

State regulators have approved a settlement calling for the early retirement of a coal plant co-owned by Idaho Power.

PHOTO Kyler Brabec, who recently graduated from wildland fire school, survey’s his first fire. (photo/Bureau of Land Management)

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Water rights weekly report for May 22. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

California lawmakers acted decisively Tuesday to make fixes to the state’s broken water management structure. Assembly Bill 313, introduced by Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), overwhelmingly passed the California Assembly with an initial 55-0 vote. The bill makes necessary reforms to how the state manages water rights.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began flood fight operations throughout the Central U.S., along the Mississippi and tributary rivers, in response to heavy rainfall on April 28-30 . High water flows are impacting navigation and stressing federal and non-federal levee systems.

The Bureau of Reclamation announces that Klamath River emergency dilution flows will not be required in 2017 to mitigate the effects of a parasite called Ceratanova shasta (or C. shasta) on outmigrating juvenile salmon. The announcement is made following weeks of monitoring parasite spore concentrations and prevalence of C. shasta infection among outmigrating salmon, and monitoring conducted by Oregon State University, the Karuk Tribe and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Finding of No Significant Impact for the approval to transfer recaptured Restoration Flows from Friant Division long-term contractors to Pleasant Valley Water District during 2017. The FONSI is based on the analysis of potential impacts analyzed and disclosed in the 2013 Recirculation of Recaptured Water Year 2013-2017 San Joaquin River Restoration Program Flows Environmental Assessment.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

A visit from the federal secretaries of Interior and Agriculture spotlighted the problem of wildfires, of which Idaho is just now starting to see its first this season. 2017 could be a relatively light fire year, however, given the heavy precipitation and still-large snowpack.

On May 31, the State Board of Education announced a revised process for selecting the inaugural Board of Trustees for the College of Eastern Idaho. Based on community interest and feedback from local leaders, the State Board will expedite the selection of trustees, allowing the new community college to begin operations sooner.

The Idaho Fish and Game commission reopened spring Chinook salmon fishing on portions of the Clearwater River and the Little and Lower Salmon Rivers starting June 3 with several changes to the previous seasons that closed May 24.

Representative Raul Labrador launches his campaign for governor on May 30 at events around Idaho, including at Post Falls Boise, and Idaho Falls.

The Bureau of Reclamation is increasing flows in the upper Snake River below Jackson Lake and Palisades dams because of continued warmer than normal temperatures that have resulted in increased spring runoff from snowmelt.

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were detected in Bannock County on June 1, 2017, prompting health officials to remind people to take precautions to fight the bite. he positive mosquitoes, which are the first detected in the state this year, were collected by the Bannock County Mosquito Abatement District.

State regulators have determined that nearly $10 million spent by Avista Utilities on energy-efficiency programs in Idaho in 2014 and 2015 was prudently incurred.

The city of Nampa invites members of the community to give their opinions about local transportation needs at an afternoon workshop on Thursday, June 8.

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