14 results for author: Karen Lewotsky

A Win For Families, Farms, Fish, and the Future

Oregon’s new Drought Package secures $174M funding for resilient lands, waters, and rural economies.

Oregon’s Looming Water Crisis

There are over 12 state agencies involved with managing Oregon’s water. And a recent state audit determined that things are not as coordinated as they need to be. Existing laws are tied to property rights and based on an outdated worldview. These policies make it hard to live up to the Endangered Species Act, honor Tribal rights, and use water in a way that serves human health and prevents ecosystem collapse. How can Oregon bring the way we manage water into the 21st century? How do we ensure water policy prioritizes shared needs and equitably serves underrepresented communities and rural communities? It is time for Oregon to have these hard ...

Climate Change and Agriculture: How are they connected and what’s to be done?

What is climate change and how does it work? We’ve all heard the phrase “climate change,” but what does that phrase mean? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines climate change as “a long-term (decades to centuries) change in any of a number of environmental conditions for a given place and time—such as temperature, rainfall, humidity, cloudiness, wind, and air circulation patterns.” So any shift in weather patterns lasting for a prolonged period of time can be called climate change. Today most people who say “climate change” are referring to the steady well-documented increases in Earth’s temperature ...

Oregon Sets New Goals for Carbon Sequestration

Natural and Working Lands Proposal Healthy forests, waters, and agricultural lands are vital to Oregon’s economy, culture, and way of life. These natural and working lands often come to mind as vital resources in need of protection from climate impacts, but they are also an essential part of the climate solution. The science is clear: in order to avoid climate catastrophe, we must radically transform the way we use our land — from how we grow our food to how we manage our forests. Recognizing this need, Governor Brown directed the Oregon Global Warming Commission to work in concert with our state natural resource agencies to develop and ...

Road-trips, Representatives and Adventures in Eastern Oregon

Summer is road-trip time, and recently, OEC staff Karen Lewotsky (Water Policy and Rural Partnerships Director) and Morgan Gratz-Weiser (Legislative Director) headed southeast across Oregon to Crane, with stops along the way in Tumalo and Prineville. Why Crane? The gathering in Crane was organized by leading legislators and partner organizations Verde, Willamette Partnership and others, to celebrate recent state investment in water and water infrastructure. The celebration kicked off with a virtual Zoom event the preceding week, and culminated with a tour of Harney basin groundwater resources, on-farm water use-efficiency practices and a BBQ ...

Using Soil to Slow Climate Change

The economic demands on farmers and ranchers to maximize production on their land can inadvertently lead to damaging the soil. Unhealthy soil stores less carbon and depends on an increased use of chemicals and fertilizers which in turn can increase pollution and loss of soil to erosion. The good news is that the stewardship and determination of today’s agricultural producers can help solve these problems. And, under the 2020 Oregon Climate Action Plan, there is an opportunity right now to set ambitious new goals to address soil health and combat climate change.   Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration Soil health is a term used to describe a ...

A Natural Vision for Water Part 4: Investing in Our Future

The fourth part of our Natural Vision for Water series outlines HOW to invest in natural infrastructure as the foundation for thriving Oregon communities.

A Natural Vision for Water Part 3: Advancing Health and Environmental Justice

Inclusive natural infrastructure planning can advance health, justice, and community power. But how do we get there?

A Natural Vision for Water Part 2: Co-Benefits of Natural Infrastructure

In collaboration with Willamette Partnership and the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies, OEC recently published a report demonstrating the benefits and opportunities associated with investing our state’s water infrastructure dollars in nature-based solutions. This post is the second of a four part series on the benefits and opportunities of natural infrastructure. OEC, Willamette Partnership, and our partners are working to shift policy to prioritize natural infrastructure solutions in community projects around the state. Read our full Natural Infrastructure in Oregon report to learn more.  Natural infrastructure is an approach ...

A Natural Vision for Water Part 1 – Common Natural Infrastructure Challenges, Opportunities for Action, and Case Studies

A new report from Oregon Environmental Council and Willamette Partnership demonstrates the opportunity to invest in natural infrastructure as a solution to Oregon’s infrastructure challenges.