Lake goers ride jet skis to cool off last summer at Bully Creek Reservoir. Water will be a key issue over the coming months as drought lingers and Gov. Kate Brown approved help for Malheur County Monday. (The Enterprise/FILE)
VALE – Gov. Kate Brown Monday approved drought declarations for Malheur County and three other counties as part of an executive order to provide state resources as reservoir levels and snowpack across the region remain low.
“Forecasted water supply conditions and precipitation levels are not expected to improve. Extreme conditions are expected to affect local growers and livestock, increase the potential for fire and shorten the growing season, and decreased water supplies,” the governor’s order said.
The executive outlined fives steps the state will take to help Malheur, Deschutes, Grant, Lake and counties. Malheur County issued a drought declaration April 6.
The governor directed the state Agriculture Department to coordinate and provide help for the counties to gather federal resources to mitigate drought conditions and help local agriculture producers.
The Oregon Water Resources Department and the state Water Resources Commission are also tasked to coordinate and help water users. Brown directed the Water Resources Department to seek pursue information from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to understand the impacts of less water on fish and wildlife. The state Office of Emergency Management is also help with drought mitigation and all other state agencies are ordered to provide resources to help the four counites.
The governor already declared a drought emergency in 10 other counties.
Malheur County is now in severe to extreme drought conditions, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s drought information system.
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