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Water Worries

Baker County Commissioners Approve Drought Emergency Declaration


S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Cattle along Chandler Lane in Baker Valley hang close to water as summer heat continues.
S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Cattle along Chandler Lane in Baker Valley hang close to water as summer heat continues.

By Pat Caldwell

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Baker County Commission Chairman Fred Warner Jr. said the drought declaration inked Wednesday at the Courthouse will help local agriculture producers secure faster access to any federal or state relief programs.

The Baker County commissioners signed off on the drought declaration at its regular meeting, an administrative action that resonates in terms of the impact of drought across the state and the western Great Basin.

Searching for a viable method to battle drought conditions is now nearly a yearly challenge, Warner said.

“We’ve been in and out of drought the last four or five years,” he said.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor index in Lincoln, Nebraska, a large swath of Southeastern Oregon — including most of Malheur County — is currently in either “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. Much of Baker County has waded into either “moderate” or “severe” drought — the more severe conditions prevailing in the southern part of the county.

See more in Friday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

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