Ore. water official returns to work

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (H&N) — Linda Seater, office specialist at Klamath Irrigation District, returned to work from paid administrative leave on Monday, according to Scott Cheyne, acting manager of the district.

Seater was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 8, but management and legal counsel have declined to comment on the reason for her absence, citing the situation as a “personnel” matter. The district has paid her $6,635.60 during her paid leave and the district has utilized a KID patron as a volunteer replacement during her absence.

As office specialist, Seater serves as secretary to the board of directors and keeps minutes for board meetings and provides notifications for upcoming meetings, according to updated bylaws approved by the board of directors in 2017. She is also responsible for collections of all charges and assessments of the district and keeping books of accounts.

Cheyne emphasized nothing has changed about Seater’s position moving forward.

“Same position, same everything,” Cheyne said. “I can’t really comment on the particulars of what we did.”

Seater passed on an opportunity to comment on the matter when asked by the H&N, deferring to management.

KID’s former manager John Wolf voluntarily placed himself on paid administrative leave on Aug. 9, later announcing his retirement prior to the completion of his contract, which originally ran through Oct. 1.

Hemp farmer nets crop after water fight

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana hemp farmer has harvested her first crop after more than a year of battling federal regulations to gain access to irrigation water.

The Independent Record reports Kim Phillips planted about 30 acres of hemp in early June in Helena Valley, yielding about 20 acres of the crop this month.

The Helena Valley Irrigation District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation denied Phillips access to irrigation water from Canyon Ferry Reservoir in 2017. The bureau bans the use of water from federal reservoirs on federally controlled substances, including hemp, which is related to marijuana.

The Department of Agriculture authorized Phillips’ crop last year under Montana’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, which was created under the 2014 Farm Bill.

Divers: no mussels in Mont. reservoir

CHESTER, Mont. (AP) — The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports that for the second consecutive year, divers did not find any invasive mussels in Tiber Reservoir.

Larvae were found in the reservoir, also called Lake Elwell, in the fall of 2016, leading to inspections and other preventive measures at the reservoir southwest of Chester and stepped up inspections statewide. Larvae were also suspected, but not confirmed, at Canyon Ferry Reservoir near Helena.

Five divers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service searched the dam’s rock structure to a depth of about 35 feet in mid-September and did not find any mussels. Wildlife officials say the dam is searched because mussels prefer attaching to solid substances, such as rocks.

Aquatic mussels have no natural predators and can clog irrigation and other water pipes and displace native species.

Wash. watching cougars in Kittitas Co.

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (DR) —Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Carlo Pace said the department is dealing with cougar issues in different parts of Kittitas County.

Area property owners recently had goats killed and taken from their property by cougar(s).

“There’s likely more than one based on the amount of meat consumed,” Pace said. “I did go out and found a small goat that was missing, it was in the brush nearby Brick Mill Road. I went across the street and found some cougar hair.”

Traps were set, but they were unsuccessful. Cougars were also sighted in the Manastash area.

“We were not successful in tracking down any cats in that area,” Pace said. “For now we’re just monitoring, we need to remove those animals after what happened (if they return).”

Per Washington law, cougars cannot be relocated if they are trapped and must be euthanized.

Coyotes also are a popular threat to other animals and owners shouldn’t be surprised by coyote attacks, especially if animals are not put away. He said people with animals shouldn’t be surprised by animal attacks in a rural county if they are not taken care of properly and that it is part of living in a rural area.

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