Land use laws unfair to owners

This week, all landowners in the Luckiamute River and Ash Creek watersheds will get a survey in the mail that will allow them to have a say in future watershed projects in their communities.

The Luckiamute Watershed Council, with help from Western Oregon University and the Bureau of Land Management, is seeking landowner opinions to help the council create a plan of action.

Your opinion is important and we want your help. Please take the time to fill out this survey. It will take less than 10 minutes to complete (and those who complete and return it will be entered in a drawing for one of three free turkeys). In all, about 4,200 surveys will be sent to Benton and Polk counties' residents.

The returned surveys will be tallied and analyzed by Western student Mike Schindler under the guidance of professor Dr. Mark Henkels. BLM donated the funds to conduct the survey.

The results will help the council decide which watershed projects residents prefer for improving natural resources and biological diversity. Last year, the council completed a detailed assessment of the watershed, which includes the condition of the creeks, rivers and wildlife as far south as Soap Creek, in Benton County, and as far north as the North Fork of Ash Creek, in Dallas.

But this scientific assessment does not include human residents' hopes and desires for their land and for their watersheds. The council hopes to understand those needs better after reviewing the results of the survey after the April 21 return deadline.

The results will determine how the council sets priorities for projects in the watershed including stream channel modifications, reducing invasive weeds, restoring habitats for fish and other wildlife, promoting education about watersheds, water quality monitoring, pollution reduction and increasing stream flow.

Participants will be asked to rank various projects in order of importance, and they'll be given a chance to ask for more information about specific projects of interest to them.

The Luckiamute watershed includes about 202,000 acres, and the Ash Creek watershed includes about 34,000 acres. The local council is one of 18 that promote cooperative water quality improvement activities in the Willamette Valley.

The Luckiamute Watershed Council next meets at 7 p.m. April 14, at Monmouth Volunteer Hall, 144 S. Warren St. in Monmouth.

Those who have questions about the survey or council activities may call me at 503-838-4275, or e-mail gailo@fedweeknet.org.

Thank you.

Michael Cairns


Luckiamute Watershed Council


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