Water Agreement Nearing Ratification

17 March 2014

Coast Radio News
Local News

City-Tribal Water Agreement on Cusp of Approval

As much as 60-thousand gallons of water on peak days; up to $57-thousand worth each year; could be flowing between Three Rivers Casino and the City of Florence.

City Councilors are expected to ratify an agreement this evening that would allow Three Rivers Casino to purchase surplus water from the city.

The Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians tribal council must also approve the deal that has been in the works since last summer.

Under the agreement, the Tribes would pay about $12-thousand in systems development charges to the city and foot the bill for all the infrastructure needed to make the connection.

Just like any other residential or commercial water user in the city, they would also pay a monthly “meter fee” in addition to the water they use.

The agreement can be terminated by either party with 60 days notice and the Tribe has agreed to waive “Sovereign Immunity” in order to enforce the terms of the agreement.

The Council meets this evening, seven pm, at City Hall.

Plover Protections Probably Permanent

Nesting protections for the Oregon population of the Western Snowy Plover went up over the weekend… that begins a six month period where likely nesting areas will be roped off.  People will have to stay out of the areas; and they can’t fly kites or walk dogs nearby.

U.S. Forest Service Biologist Cindy Burns has been studying the bird for more than two decades.

Cindy Burns – “They were listed in 93.  At that time there were just a little over 30 birds in the state and now we are over 200; maybe a little more.”

The ultimate goal anytime a species is placed on the Endangered Species List is to help it recover sufficiently to remove it.  That applies to the Plover, says Burns, but she adds…

Cindy Burns – “There probably will always have to be some sort of protection.  We are moving towards sometime in the future maybe not having to manage as intensively as we do now.  But, because of the nature of beach grass we will probably always have to do some sort of management.”

The main threat to the bird has come from loss of dry, open sandy areas where it can nest safely and raise young birds.

Short Line Railroad of the Year.

The Coos Bay Rail Link… running between Eugene and Coos Bay… has been named the Short Line Railway of the Year.  The publication Railway Age announced the designation would go to the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay.

In 2007 a private hedge fund company was in the process of dismantling the line and selling the assets off for scrap.  The Port was able to force a sale in its entirety and began rehabilitating the line shortly after that.

By 2011 the Port had contracted with another private firm to operate the line and provide freight service to several south coast businesses.  In the past three years they have increased traffic on the line from 20-carloads each month to more than 600.