Help with conserving precious resource abounds

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Here we sit in one of the best places on earth to live. We have great soils, great topography, mild weather (considering that the whole west half of Walla Walla County is a true desert) and wonderful natural resources that allow we the people to live in great comfort and ease.

Most of us have most of our daily needs met because of where we live. There are many folks who have made personal choices to live a lifestyle that will conserve our valuable natural resources and utilize them wisely.

Here in the Walla Walla Valley we have hundreds of landowners who live by a conservation ethic that has allowed for outstanding restoration of many miles of native riparian vegetation on their lands.

Riparian restoration protects the most valuable natural resource that we depend on: water.

We have many landowners with water protections in place such as metered water pumps, efficient irrigation systems and piping that allows these agriculture folks to use their water rights and yet return water to the system that they do not use.

There are many ag folks who have worked very hard to be water-conscious in all that they do on their farms. Thank our local farmers for the great work that they do in conservation of soils, water and shorelines.

Some questions.

Any success in any community directly rides on how individuals use natural resources. So how do you use the water that comes to you out of your tap?

Do you actively think about this outstanding natural resource?

Do you consider your long-term impacts on how you use water?

With summer upon us and everyone dependent on water, please think about the following: How often do you water your yard?

Does your yard need to be as large as it is?

Are there things that you could do to reduce your use of water during this warm season?

Please keep in mind that water use is not about the ability to pay for water beyond your needs, but rather, about your efficient, reasonable needs being met. In Walla Walla we once figured out that it will take right around 400,000 gallons of water to keep a one-acre yard green for the summer (July-September).

There are a great many information resources here in Walla Walla County that can help you wisely use your natural resources such as soils and shoreline vegetation.

Please check out the following organizations here in this basin:

The William A. Grant Water and Environmental Center -- Walla Walla Community College. Educational meetings, natural resource planning, public information and education. Jim Peterson, director.

Walla Walla Watershed Partnership Management -- Walla Walla Community College at the William A. Grant Water and Environment Center. Water banking, water rights, water use and public outreach. Cathy Schaeffer, executive director.

The Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council -- Milton-Freewater. Water management, public information and education. Brian Wolcott, executive director.

The Walla Walla County Conservation District -- Walla Walla. On-ground projects, habitat improvement, information, CREP, education and planning.-Rick Jones, general manager.

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation -- Mission, Ore. Outreach and education, on-ground projects, habitat improvement and planning. Gary James, fisheries division director.

WSU Extension Office -- Walla Walla. Education, planning and help. Debbie Moberg-Williams, county director.

Tri-State Steelheaders -- Walla Walla. On-ground projects, CURB, education and membership. Mike Bireley, executive director.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife -- Walla Walla. Education, habitat improvement, public information. Dave Karl, watershed steward

If you have questions about water use and how you can join in the conservation of water in this Valley, contact any of these groups to learn how.

Mike Denny is the riparian habitat coordinator for the Walla Walla County Conservation District.

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