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Letters 5/26-6/2 

IN REPLY TO JARED BLACK "LETTERS" (5/27)

Jared Black must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed the morning that he penned his attack on our work and credibility in our investigation on climate change impacts to Deschutes Basin streams in "Climate Change Impacts on Stream Flows, Upper Deschutes Basin, Oregon" (March 2015). Mr. Black makes two incorrect claims. He states that we claimed that "climate change will reduce the precipitation needed to recharge the regional aquifer." We made no such claims. We reported future predictions for precipitation as reported in a peer-reviewed Journal of Hydrology article; in fact, precipitation remains relatively unchanged under future climate change scenarios. Rather, it is air temperature that is predicted to increase under future climate change, which will affect snowpack development, snowmelt, recharge, and ultimately decrease summer groundwater contribution to streamflow in some streams, including Tumalo Creek. Regarding Mr. Black's second assertion, it is simple to refute that we "cooked the books" and made the impacts of climate change appear more pronounced by comparing future conditions to a dry year (2008). Had we been looking to overstate the impacts, we would not have used 2008 conditions for our baseline model. Comparison of future conditions to a dry year would actually result in smaller predicted impact: If you compare groundwater recharge during a future dry climate to a dry year you would see less of an impact than if you compare it to a wet year. Our work is based on the application of the published USGS groundwater model for the Upper Deschutes Basin and the application of that model to address climate change in the Basin, as published in the Journal of Hydrology. We realize that impacts due to climate change are frightening. It is tempting to focus attention on refuting work being done to study and estimate anticipated impacts, as it serves to avoid addressing the actual impacts and "allows us" to continue with "business as usual," with no need to make changes to our lifestyle or resource use. However, such avoidance will not help us prepare for the climate changes that are coming.

—Ed Salminen, Hydrologist, WPN; Mark Yinger, RG, Hydrogeologist, Mark Yinger Associates; Laura Strauss, PG and LHG, Northwest Land & Water, Inc.

Last week Jared Black wrote a thoughtful letter questioning the report "Climate Change Joint Impacts on Stream Flow." His main criticism was that the report used 2008 groundwater recharge rates to model Tumalo Creek stream flow into 2060, but that 2008 was an exceptionally dry year.  Hence, the argument goes, the model may have underestimated future stream flows. That is a good point, and one worth following up on. However, readers should also consider that by 2060 the year 2008 could, in retrospect, look like a monsoon year. Although modeling climate is a decidedly difficult business, climate models to date have proven to be largely accurate. For that reason, readers should weigh Mr. Black's criticism against a recent paper that appeared in the journal Nature. The research took an average of 18 different global climate models and found that by 2050 the average yearly low temperature for most places on earth will ALWAYS be HIGHER than even the highest yearly high that occurred from 1880 to 2000. In other words, average global temperatures will permanently depart above any range that humans experienced for over a century, and, at best, not return again to "normal" (whatever that is) for centuries. Now that is hot. Really hot. And if precipitation follows, then 2008 could very likely look like a wet dream by the time 2060 rolls around. That doesn t mean that the authors of the report did not fudge the numbers, but if they did then even fudging it could have failed to estimate the sad state of precipitation that Bendites and much of our planetary brethren may experience somewhat soon—like, when my son who is a freshman in high school turns my current age.

—Matt Orr

SOLAR POWER PROJECTS EAST OF BEND

Two solar power-generating facilities are being proposed for the East edge of Bend—on Neff and Erickson Roads. These two projects would total 167 acres, 0.8 miles from the city limits of Bend. They would be in an area of working farms, residential homes, and Big Sky Park.

No trees or wildlife would exist inside the solar development area.

Although solar power production is desirable, and efforts to make it available commendable, placing them on acreages that are too small to shield surrounding properties would bring an industrial setting to this rural area east of Bend.

I strongly urge our county Planning Division and our County Commissioners to carefully study the implications of such projects and suggest that these power production facilities be sited on larger blocks of land with substantial buffering for surrounding farms, ranches, and homes.

Deschutes County will continue to be faced with choices regarding where to site renewable energy development projects. We need to make smart decisions about which locations for such facilities will benefit the community overall and not just the pockets of energy investors.

There will be a hearing for these two projects on Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 pm in the Barnes and Sawyer Rooms of the Deschutes Services Center, 1300 NW Wall Street, Bend.

—Cathy Jensen

IN REPLY TO "PERSONA NON GRATA" (5/27)

This decision disgusts me. Blatant classist civil rights violation by the privileged. The continued conservative and fear-driven majority decisions by Bend City Council make me want to leave this town.

—Angry and sad

IN REPLY TO "GOV. KATE BROWN DECLARES DROUGHT EMERGENCY" (5/27)

As is obvious to most Oregon citizens, the state, as Gov. Brown recognizes, is having a severe drought decade. The drought designation by the Governor is crucial to gain funds to assist affected counties. Which makes it so confusing that Gov. Brown has also just approved the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) to transfer water rights from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the city of Cascade Locks to Swiss company Nestle Corp. so the company can use Oregon water from Oxbow Springs to bottle and sell water worldwide. Nestle is also proposing to build a 50,000 square-foot plant in Cascade Locks for this business venture. This decision seems illogical and short-sighted. Taking water from Oregon, in a drought decade, putting it in plastic bottles (ugh), and selling it for a profit for Nestle is not a good deal for Oregon. For more information, check out bark-out.org/project/nestle-water-bottling-proposal. Make your voice heard if you agree that selling Oregon water to a foreign corporation for foreign profit in a drought decade is wrong for Oregon. Thank you.

—Debby Black-Tanski

LISTENING LOCAL

Why don't local venues such as our [Les Schwab] Ampitheater, etc., have our local bands open for the "popular" acts that come into town to perform?

—Paula Simila

DRINKING LOCAL

Hey, the last two events at Les Schwab offered Budweiser, a 10 Barrel brew, and Stella Artois (read: Budweiser) cider. Thanks again 10 Barrel for selling out to Anheuser-Busch and creating a situation where our beer choices are limited in an otherwise unlimited beer town

—Margaret Ashley

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