Two meetings in March on Rogue navigation

Two meetings have been scheduled regarding the second draft of Rogue River Draft Navigability Study from Grave Creek to Lost Creek Dam. One is Mar. 5 and the other is Mar. 19. The public is invited to both.
Staff from the Department of State Lands (DSL) will hold an informal question and answer session in Medford on Wednesday, Mar. 5, from 7-9 p.m. in the McKenzie room at the Ramada Inn & Convention Center, 2250 Biddle Road.

"This is an opportunity for the public to meet with us in an informal
setting to ask questions and receive more information about the study
and the process to determine waterway navigability in Oregon," said
Steve Purchase, assistant director of DSL’s Land Management Division.
There will not be a formal presentation.
DSL has made an
initial determination that the 89-mile segment of the Rogue is
navigable, meaning the public has the right to use its beds and banks
for fishing, navigation, recreation and commerce.
preliminary findings indicate the river has been used in a variety of
ways since statehood. They list such methods as canoeing by the
Indians, ferries, driving logs as well as various recreational
purposes. Their study says, except for a few areas, the river hasn’t
changed its physical orientation appreciably since 1859. Their findings
indicate the flow of the river at the time Oregon became a state was
much greater than it is now  because of irrigation and municipal and
domestic use. Additionally, the DSL study says "based on the Oregon
Water Resources Department, an 80 percent likelihood exists that this
rate of flow would have occurred throughout the year at the time of
statehood."  The findings also say there is an 80 percent likelihood
that a flow of 1,000cfs would have occurred throughout 1859.
preliminary conclusions say that since there is evidence that the
89-mile stretch from Grave Creek to Lost Creek Dam was used as a mode
of travel, it meets the requirements of the federal test for
navigability. (See last week’s issue for concerns of property owners.) 

Between September and November 2007, DSL released the first
draft study, and solicited comments at a public hearing in Grants Pass
and through email and U.S. mail. Using the 191 comments received, DSL
produced the second draft of the study, which is now available. 
3,000 notices were sent on Feb. 13 to adjacent property owners, elected
officials and others in the region to inform them about the second
draft of the study and the next steps in the process for determining
the river’s navigability. 
On March 19, the State Land
Board will receive additional public input at a special meeting in
Medford at the Ramada-Medford and Convention Center, from 10 a.m. to
noon. Comments at this meeting should relate to:

  • The accuracy of the data presented in the report.


  • Any
    additional information concerning the historical uses and condition of
    the river that could be used to support or refute the information
    presented in the report.

    The public may submit additional
comments until 5 p.m. on March 26,  after which time a third draft of
the report will be prepared. The Land Board   is tentatively scheduled
to make a final decision at their June 10 public  meeting in Salem.
of the study, a summary of the public comments to date, and a Q and A
fact sheet are available on the DSL web site:
or by contacting Jeff Kroft at DSL (503-986-5280). 
State Land Board consists of Governor Theodore Kulongoski, Secretary of
State Bill Bradbury and State Treasurer Randall Edwards. The Department
of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources.
of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as
state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for
which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the
agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public
    The agency also administers Oregon’s Removal-Fill
Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of
material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.
By Nancy Leonard
of the Independent

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