Conflicts in the multiple use of Wallowa Lake Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/7h149r91g

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  • The purpose of this thesis is to examine the problem of the increasing competition between recreation and irrigation at Wallowa Lake. Originally Wallowa Lake was an abundant source of fish for the Indians but the advent of irrigation in the area by the early settlers eliminated the blueback salmon (oncorhynchus nerka) run that spawned in the lake. This was caused by the establishment of unscreened irrigation ditches in the Wallowa River below the lake and the construction of a concrete dam in the outlet of the lake by the Associated Ditch Companies. The dam raised the natural level of the lake 28.4 feet, creating an irrigation reservoir. The use of this water for irrigation purposes has caused considerable erosion along the steep banks of the east and west moraines, reducing the desirability of the beaches and hampering the use of boating facilities. The Pacific Power and Light Company used a considerable amount of water from the lake for their generating plant in Joseph from 1929 to 1956. This limited the number of times the lake was filled to capacity, lessening the amount of sloughing of the relatively undeveloped shoreline property around the lake since the greatest damage occurred when the lake was full. After 1950, many more people purchased lots and built cabins on the west moraine and became increasingly aware of the erosion of their property. The erosion problem increased sharply after the Joseph power plant was abandoned in 1956, enabling the Associated Ditch Companies to fill the reservoir to capacity nearly every year since that time. Increased dissatisfaction by the cabin owners with the management practices of the Associated Ditch Companies resulted in a lawsuit in which the ditch companies were found guilty of trespass of private property by exceeding their storage rights. Although the fine in this instance was negligible, future confrontations appear to be inevitable due to the increasing influence of recreationists in an area once considered the exclusive domain of agriculture and power interests. Future cooperation between these conflicting interests is vital in order to realize the full potential of the multiple uses of the lake.
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