Articles written by Gillian Flaccus


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  • Regulators approve removing Klamath River dams to open up salmon habitat

    Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press|Dec 21, 2022

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal regulators have approved a plan to demolish hydroelectric four dams on a California river and open up hundreds of miles of salmon habitat that would be the largest dam removal and river restoration project in the world when it goes forward. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s unanimous vote last month on the lower Klamath River dams is the last major regulatory hurdle and the biggest milestone for a $500 million demolition proposal championed by Native American tribes and environmentalists for years. The...

  • Oregon tribe may go to court to stop water release for farmers

    Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press|Apr 27, 2022

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Native American tribe in Oregon said April 19 it is assessing its legal options after learning the U.S. government plans to release water from a federally operated reservoir to downstream farmers along the Oregon-California border amid a historic drought. Even limited irrigation for the farmers who use Klamath River water on about 300 square miles of crops puts two critically endangered fish species in peril of extinction because the water withdrawals come at the height of spawning season, The Klamath Tribes said. T...

  • Farmers, ranchers, tribe and salmon all suffer for lack of water

    Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press|Apr 20, 2022

    PORTLAND (AP) - Farms that rely on irrigation from a depleted, federally managed lake on the California-Oregon border, along with a Native American tribe fighting to protect fragile salmon, will both receive extremely limited amounts of water this summer as a historic drought and record-low reservoir levels drag on in the U.S. West. More than 1,000 farmers and ranchers who draw water from a 257-mile-long river that flows from the Upper Klamath Lake to the Pacific Ocean will have access to...

  • Environmental review supports dismantling California dams that imperil salmon

    Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press|Mar 23, 2022

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Federal regulators have issued a draft environmental impact statement declaring there are significant benefits to a plan to demolish four massive dams on Northern California's Klamath River to save imperiled migratory salmon, setting the stage for the largest dam demolition project in U.S. history. The issuing of a statement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Feb. 25 clears a major regulatory hurdle for the project and paves the way for public hearings on the...

  • California tribe declares state of emergency over missing women

    Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press|Mar 16, 2022

    YUROK RESERVATION, Calif. (AP) - The young mother had behaved erratically for months, hitchhiking and wandering naked through two Native American reservations and a small town clustered along Northern California's rugged Lost Coast. But things escalated when Emmilee Risling was charged with arson for igniting a fire in a cemetery. Her family hoped the case would force her into mental health and addiction services. Instead, she was released over the pleas of loved ones and a tribal police chief....

  • Scientists warn of tougher drought conditions in Oregon and Idaho

    Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press|Mar 9, 2022

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Climate scientists in the U.S. Pacific Northwest warned March 3 that much of Oregon and parts of Idaho can expect even tougher drought conditions this summer than in the previous two years, which already featured dwindling reservoirs, explosive wildfires and deep cuts to agricultural irrigation. At a news conference hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, water and climate experts from Oregon, Washington and Idaho said parts of the region should...

  • Super-heated air creates 'fire clouds' over western wildfires

    Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press|Aug 26, 2021

    PORTLAND - Smoke and heat from a massive wildfire in southeastern Oregon created giant "fire clouds" over the blaze - dangerous columns of smoke and ash that can reach up to 6 miles in the sky and are visible from more than 100 miles away. Authorities put these clouds at the top of the list of the extreme fire behavior they saw on the Bootleg Fire, one of the largest wildfires in Oregon's recorded history. The inferno covered nearly 650 square miles - larger than the size of New York City - as...

  • Oregon rain forest no longer safe from wildfires

    Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press|Jul 22, 2021

    OTIS, Ore. (AP) - Wildfire smoke was thick when Tye and Melynda Small went to bed last Labor Day, but they weren't too concerned. After all, they live in a part of Oregon where ferns grow from tree trunks and rainfall averages more than six feet a year. But just after midnight, a neighbor awakened them as towering flames, pushed by gusting winds, bore down. The Smalls and their four children fled, as wind whipped the blaze into a fiery tornado and trees exploded around them. When it was over, th...

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