BPA working to protect disappearing Willamette Valley habitats

The new protections include:

* A conservation easement on a 152-acre parcel in Polk County, adjacent to the 2,492-acre Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the best remaining examples of Willamette Valley prairie and supports one of the largest known populations of Fender’s blue butterfly. The Nature Conservancy will hold the easement and restore about 30 acres of agricultural land to upland prairie.

* Purchase of 10.45 acres for addition to The Nature Conservancy’s Willow Creek Preserve just outside Eugene. TNC will restore the sheep pasture to native prairie while protecting it from residential development. The parcel connects two of the largest populations of Fender’s blue butterfly and other rare plants and animals.

* A conservation easement on a 198-acre farm just south of Albany, near Bower’s Rock State Park.  This property expands a network of protected lands along the main stem of the Willamette River. The Greenbelt Land Trust will work with the property owner to manage the land, reconnecting the Little Willamette side channel to the river and providing habitat for steelhead and chinook.

* A conservation easement on a 120-acre farm in Polk County north of the Luckiamute State Natural Area at the confluence of the Willamette, Luckiamute and Santiam Rivers. River confluences support diverse fish and wildlife. The Greenbelt Land Trust will restore oak savanna, prairie and wetlands.

      
All the parcels fall within high priority conservation opportunity areas outlined by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Oregon Conservation Strategy.
      
BPA ratepayers are funding the protection efforts in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, Greenbelt Land Trust and ODFW to help mitigate impacts of the construction and operation of federal dams in the Willamette River system. The nearly 500 acres – roughly 400 football fields worth of habitat – bring the total Willamette Valley lands protected by BPA funding to about 6,200 acres.
      
“A focus for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to not only protect the valuable wildlife attributes of the individual properties but to add to a larger conservation network of properties in biologically important areas of the Willamette Valley,” said Michael Pope, ODFW wildlife mitigation coordinator.
      
Conservation easements permanently limit development. While the land remains in private ownership and on local tax rolls, the habitat may be managed and restored by landowners, local conservation agencies or municipalities.   
      
“The protection of these lands is of great value to fish and wildlife because the habitat is so rich and diverse and represents some of the last remaining native habitats in the Willamette,” said Bill Maslen, BPA’s Fish and Wildlife director.
      
BPA’s fish and wildlife mitigation program has protected more than 300,000 acres in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana since 1980 to mitigate the impacts of federal dams on fish and wildlife.  BPA works with project partners to identify important fish and wildlife projects and then funds protection and restoration activities to improve the habitat value.

BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities.  BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 2,000 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system.

Albany Woman Run Over by Truck On Chehalis River Gravel Bar

OAKVILLE, Wash. – A 22 year old woman died this morning when she fell out of a truck bed and was run over by the truck. The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department was called to a Gravel Bar on the Chehalis River off of Matson Road in Oakville just after 2 o’clock.
The 22 year old Albany, Oregon woman was determined deceased at the scene, a 32 year old Oakville resident was taken into custody for vehicular homicide, the Sheriff’s department reports the incident appears to be alcohol related, blood was drawn from the Oakville man, and will be tested for alcohol. Deputies are still interviewing witnesses and examining the scene.

Open House to Discuss Flooding in The Chehalis River Basin

The community will have the opportunity to meet representatives from federal, state, and local agencies responsible for the flood planning efforts in the basin. Each agency will have a station with information on their role in helping the community. However, no formal presentations are planned.

Where/When:

To accommodate the community, there are three different meeting dates and locations.

  • · Sept. 16 – Swede Hall, 18543 Albany St. S.W., Rochester, 4 – 7 p.m.
  • · Sept. 23 – Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St., Montesano, 4 – 7 p.m.
  • · Sept. 30 – Centralia Middle School Gym, 901 Johnson Road, Centralia, 4 – 7 p.m.

    The group will update the community on the status of the many ongoing projects and studies aimed at reducing flood risks in the Chehalis River Basin.

  • Bonneville Power Administration Sponsors Wind Forcast Competition

    "Wind power is a great energy source, but we could make even better use of it if we could anticipate big changes," said John Pease, the project manager overseeing the initiative for BPA's Technology Innovation Office. "By fostering this friendly competition, we're getting some of the best wind forecasting brainpower in the world focused on developing an important new tool."

    One team from the United States and another from Germany will begin this month projecting winds at four Oregon and Washington wind projects based on 2007 conditions. Oregon State University researchers will assist a national peer review team in assessing the predictions against actual meteorological data.

    "This is an exciting project with potential to support the growth of wind power in the Pacific Northwest and really around the globe," said Phil Barbour, a research meteorologist at Oregon State's Energy Resources Research Laboratory and member of the peer review team. "Winds are often very localized and difficult to predict. It's even harder to predict these specific ramp events. This is a huge challenge for the competing teams."

    Wind power in BPA's service area nearly doubled in the last year and keeps growing fast, but Northwest weather and topography can make breezes volatile. Wind generation in BPA's system can vary over an hour by close to 1,000 megawatts – roughly the output of a major nuclear plant. BPA maintains energy reserves to fill gaps when wind unexpectedly slows, and must charge wind producers for the service.

    Better forecasts reduce the need for reserves, minimizing costs for both BPA and wind energy producers. BPA is also taking other steps to improve forecasting, such as installing 14 new meteorological stations around the region.

    The competition is a collaboration with the California Independent System Operator, which manages much of California's power grid. Some Northwest wind energy helps California fulfill its aggressive renewable energy standards.

    BPA sought bids from wind forecasters interested in the competition, and selected two: AWS Truewind of Albany, N.Y.; and Energy & Meteo Systems of Oldenburg, Germany.  Both companies must use the same publicly available meteorological data, including records from BPA wind measurement sites managed and quality checked by OSU.

    The competing companies will deliver forecasts through December. BPA will select the winning forecast model in early 2010, and could decide to contract with both teams depending on their strengths.

     

    BPA's wind website (includes maps and real-time graph of wind energy output):
    www.bpa.gov/corporate/WindPower/index.cfm

     

    BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams owned and operated by the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 2,000 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system. BPA operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.