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The Hood River Basin in Oregon's Cascade Mountains is a stunning natural paradise spanning 339 square miles. Its rivers flow north from the 11,245-foot peak of Mount Hood to the Columbia River at an elevation of 74 feet, 22 miles upstream from Bonneville Dam.

What people are talking about

Nestle's plan for a water bottling facility
For years, Nestle has been trying to open a 250,00 ft^2 plant that processes water from the Hood River into water bottle products (Mulvihill, P. (2015, April 15)). Adding this business would allow unused water to pass 100 million gallons of water annually to sell in the Pacific Northwest area (Mulvihill, P. (2015, April 15)). Locals and environmental groups disagree with this decision. However, Cascade Locks is pushing towards adding Nestle’s structure and has been since its proposal in order to strengthen the job market and greatly increase the city’s tax revenue (Mulvihill, P. (2015, April 15)). In order to prevent this decision, a "Water Protection Measure” was issued with a positive 70% of responders voting to ban the water bottling facility (Hood River County bottled water measure passes. (2016, May 17)).

E. coli
E.coli was found at high concentrations in Hood River possibly due to pet waste (Chavez, R.  J. (2018, August 14). Human and pet waste contaminate the water and pose a safety risk. A local resident who hiked the Indian Creek Trails near the Hood river observed a lot of animal waste. Leaving pet waste to decompose naturally leads to increased nitrogen intake from water sources nearby, depleting oxygen levels that are necessary for aquatic wildlife (Stroud, M. (2018, August 11). In addition, it can pose a safety risk to people through E. coli, giardia, and salmonella, among other disease-causing bacteria (Stroud, M. (2018, August 11). The issue with pet waste especially arises when pet owners do not pick it up, and the waste accumulates to become a larger problem. As suggested by the Columbia Riverkeepers, who tested the water, these bacteria can be avoided by not drinking the water, eating fish caught from the river, and washing your hands. 

Dam impacts on salmon
Salmon species are necessary to the fishery business, stream ecosystems, and native tribes. Salmon are of importance to Indigenous tribes. Not only is it their food source, but a part of their life. Dams are obstructing salmon from being a resource to these tribes, in addition to being the result of indigenous genocide (Fitzgerald, E. (2019, October 19). Their populations have been affected by drought, invasive species, construction of dams, which obstruct their ability to migrate back to their spawn location to restart the life cycle (Environmentalists sue over Hanford reactor. (2014, November 5)). A notable structure that impacts salmon migration is the McNary and Booneville dams, which caused 250, 000 sockeye salmon to die (Mulvihill, P. (2020, January 23)). This event was the largest salmon kill in its history and occurred because the dams blocked off the salmon’s migration route (Mulvihill, P. (2020, January 23)). Rep. Greg Walden voted in favor of the Salmon Extinction Act, which aimed to reduce dam spills during the spring season, when young salmon migrate to the ocean (Flake, B. (2018, September 22)). This act could cause more salmon to die because of its lack of spill, which salmon use to travel through the dams (Flake, B. (2018, September 22)). 

Nuclear reactor impacts on salmon
Another structure that threatened the health of endangered salmon species was the Hanford reactor, a nuclear power plant that requires 20 million gallons from Columbia River to cool down (Environmentalists sue over Hanford reactor. (2014, November 5)). The water that enters back into the river is warmer, and over time, the water in the river has become warmer and more polluted than the Clean Water Act allows for its state standards ((Environmentalists sue over Hanford reactor. (2014, November 5)). The lawsuit did not cancel the facility's ability to use the river water, and instead, a permit was issued to allow the facility to continue using the river water for cooling (Environmentalists sue over Hanford reactor. (2014, November 5)).). The Hood River Watershed Group has been continuously improving habitat accessibility for salmon, with 30 miles of stream habitat, many fish screens to prevent fish from entering irrigation pipes, and helping farmers with their irrigation methods (Fitzgerald, E. (2019, May 15). By 2040, the organization plans its specific goals to protect salmon populations further by making watershed conditions viable for salmon to live in, restoring stream and wetland habitat, and providing higher stream flow for salmon migration (Fitzgerald, E. (2019, May 15). 

Invasive species impact on salmon
The Columbia River is battling against invasive species, which continue to spread throughout the Columbia River Basin. The spread of quagga or zebra mussels can cause damage to salmon habitat once their populations are abundant (Mock exercise for a real problem in Columbia Basin waterways. (2019, June 12)). Prevention of their spread is the cheapest and most viable solution to preventing an expensive and resource-consuming battle in the future trying to get rid of them (Mock exercise for a real problem in Columbia Basin waterways. (2019, June 12)). In addition, the spread of invasive species in one area can affect other locations, eventually leading to a large-scale problem.

Low flow in Hood River
Drought is concerning to the stream flow of Hood River and the snow packs on Mount Hood. The warming temperatures and wasteful usage of water have led to Hood River needing to make decisions in reducing water Mulvihill, P. (2015, July 25)&(Dripping, soaking, or just plain going dry. (2015, July 3)). A burn ban was put into effect in July 2015 to prevent forest fires and reduce the warming of temperatures (Mulvihill, P. (2015, July 25)). Increasing temperatures continued to affect Hood River and the snow packs on Mount Hood. Snow melt was especially concerning since it melted off a week or two before its usual melt period during the month of May 2018 (Rapid snowmelt, dry spring indicate critically low summer water supply. (2018, June 12)). Hood River also decreased in flow, down to 300 cubic feet/ second during the early summer (Walker, T. (2018, July 24)). While the snow packs were melting relatively earlier than usual, stream flow has also decreased by 10-15 cubic feet/ second (Mulvihill, P. (2015, November 4)).

Aging irrigation infrastructure
A major contributor to water usage in Hood River comes from agricultural usage, which makes up 90% of their water usage (Walker, T. (2016, March 26)). A lot of the irrigation channels used to transport water for agricultural use are over 100 years old and open, which causes water from different sources to mix, leak, and evaporate before reaching its destination (Cecil, N. (2016, June 15)). In order to prevent these issues from occurring, it is necessary to modernize irrigation systems to save water and energy. Energy Trust of Oregon is a non-profit working towards energy saving and renewal of power (Cecil, N. (2016, June 15))

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