WaterWatch, based in Portland, is one of the nation's first statewide groups focused solely on water quantity, rather than water quality. It has filed legal challenges to Oregon's system of issuing water-use permits, which, says founder Tom Simmons, has turned over almost all of the state's river water to irrigators, leaving numerous rivers dry throughout the summer. The result is badly depleted salmon and trout fisheries in a state where these resources once flourished. For more information, contact executive director Jeff Curtis, 503/295-4039.
The Seattle office of American
Rivers fights to preserve salmon runs throughout the Northwest.
Every year, the group publishes its list of the most endangered
river systems in North America. Contact attorney Katherine Ransel
or Lorraine Bodi, 206/545-7133.
Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation ceded 6.4 million acres
to the U.S. government in an 1855 treaty, but reserved Umatilla
River water and the exclusive rights to hunt and fish on its
158,000 acre reservation east of Pendleton. Tribal officials say
that the allocation of the Umatilla River to irrigators destroyed
the river's salmon runs, thereby abrogating the treaty. They are
fighting to restore the salmon and preserve their water rights.
Contact Chairman Donald Sampson,
The San Francisco office of the
Natural Resources Defense Council has been working with the
Northwest power industry for more than a decade on conservation and
salmon issues. It is seeking solutions to the water-spreading
problem in an effort to secure more water for fish. Contact Karen
Garrison, director, NRDC Northwest Water Project,
The Oregon Water Resources
Congress, established in 1912 to protect water rights and promote
water conservation, helps irrigators retain water now under
question in the water spreading debate. Its members include
irrigation and other water districts serving more than 30,000
irrigators and public agencies. Contact executive director Jan