BEND, OR -- The Oregon Farm Bureau is frustrated with a recent settlement between local irrigation districts and environmental groups regarding the spotted frog. The districts have agreed to take less water from the Deschutes River in order to help the frog.
WaterWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in December to force irrigation companies to take more aggressive action to help the frog. The court ordered the two sides into mediation, resulting in the settlement.
Anne Marie Moss, with the Farm Bureau, says it will mean less water for farmers and ranchers. "It's unfortunate that farmers were put into this position in the first place. For years, over two decades, farmers and irrigation districts, the Warm Springs Tribe and other stakeholders have worked together to create the Habitat Conservation Plan."
But, she says farmers are likely to be wary of working with environmental groups in the future. "These lawsuits halted that process; it disrupted the collaborative process that people had worked really hard on and ultimately undermined the trust that our farmers and ranchers have in working with some of those environmental groups. Those are relationships that are going to take a long time to rebuild."
It's estimated the settlement will result in about 30% less water next year, for regional farmers.