The effort to develop new water for Umatilla Basin farmers could soon see a breakthrough in a long-standing stalemate between farmers and environmentalists.
At a symposium on Columbia River water at the Northwest Agricultural Show Jan. 29, Craig Reeder, a Umatilla Basin farmer, said a broad coalition is prepared to sign a declaration of cooperation that could increase irrigation supplies in the basin for the first time in two decades.
Reeder, chief financial officer for Hale Farms, said the coalition effort marks the first time "a really broad stakeholder base got together to talk about all the issues."
Prepared to sign the agreement are representatives of tribes, ports, municipalities, environmental groups and water users, Reeder said.
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