Friends of Toppenish Creek

Our Mission

Friends of Toppenish Creek is dedicated to protecting the rights of rural communities and improving oversight of industrial agriculture. FOTC operates under the simple principle that all people deserve clean air, clean water and protection from abuse that results when profit is favored over people. FOTC works through public education, citizen investigations, research, legislation, special events, and direct action.

 


 

Meeting Regarding Water Law, Confined Animal Feeding Operations & Tribal Law

Presentation by Attorney Andrea Rodgers from the Western Environmental Law Center

Eagle Seelatsee Auditorium 401 Fort Road, Toppenish, WA Thursday March 19, 2015 from 10 AM to 12 Noon

 

 

Learn

How agencies protect water quality

How other Tribes are dealing with water pollution

State & Federal laws protecting water quality

 

Sponsored by Friends of Toppenish Creek & Concerned Citizens of the Yakama Reservation

 

 

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 The following guest editorial by Jean Mendoza, Executive Director for the Friends of Toppenish Creek was published in the Yakima Herald Republic in February, 2015

 

Inside the Lower Yakima Groundwater Management Area: A Message for the Dairy Industry and the Community

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so. Mark Twain

     By law the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) advisory committee is supposed to represent all stakeholders in the area. In reality 35% of the members have direct financial ties to the dairy industry. (Strangely, in a community where the majority of the population is Hispanic, there is only one Mexican American member.) Committee decisions are supposed to be made by consensus. When this is not possible a 75% majority vote is required to approve actions. The dairy coalition within the GWMA blocks any measure that diminishes their standing in the community. This group refuses to hear information that contradicts their own world view which seems to encourage producers to over apply manure to the fields and pretend that it does not reach the groundwater.

     So far the dairy coalition has vetoed a presentation on environmental law by the man who literally wrote the books on environmental law, Professor William H. Rodgers, Jr., from the University of Washington. They have prevented the GWMA from joining with the U.S. Geological Survey in a project that would study hydrogeology in the Lower Yakima Valley and develop a cutting edge model of nutrient (manure) management and groundwater. USGS is the premier science agency in the United States. There is none better. This partnership would have added $400,000 worth of research to our program.

     Most recently, in December, an instructor from the University Of Washington School Of Public Health asked to partner with the GWMA Education and Public Outreach work group on a project to identify abandoned wells that might be conduits for groundwater contamination. These future doctors, nurses and social workers, would benefit by learning hands on how to work with populations such as ours. They would be doing work for which Yakima County has insufficient staff. The GWMA committee voted to reject the University of Washington offer. (Interestingly enough, the county note takers and the paid facilitator for the GWMA did not record the votes. They simply stated that the majority ruled.)

     One of the representatives for the Yakima Dairy Federation has said repeatedly that he has more at stake than anyone else at the table. This may be true in strictly monetary terms. However, some farmworkers lose their lives milking and herding cows. There have been two job related deaths on a single Lower Yakima Valley dairy. There is not much more to lose than your life, unless we embark on a spiritual discussion, which might be a good idea.

     In order for the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area project to succeed, with public support, within the guidelines established by law, the committee must either expand to include all stakeholders or operate in a way that acknowledges the interests of all the people who live and work in the valley. We must hear and consider more than the needs of a single interest group. The only goal for the GWMA is to reduce groundwater nitrate levels below the safe standard of 10 parts per million (ppm). When the GWMA first took shape the highest recorded level was 140 ppm. Currently the highest recorded level is 234 ppm. Things are getting worse.

Jean Mendoza is Executive Director for the Friends of Toppenish Creek and a member of the GWMA committee.

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EPA Presentation: Dairy Cluster in Lower Yakima

December 18, 2014

 

 

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Lower Valley GWMA Budget Discussion Video Series

September 17, 2014

The Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area was created in 2012 to address pollution of groundwater with nitrates. Various studies have found that 12% t0 20% of wells in the area have nitrates higher than the safe level -10mg/L.
In the interest of keeping the public well informed, Friends of the Toppenish Creek will post videos of the ground water management committee meetings.
These videos are from August 21, 2014, recorded at Radio KDNA in Granger WA. The purpose of this meeting was to develop a plan for the spending of 2.3 million that WA State has provided to address the problem. Five workgroups presented requests and Yakima County presented a need for overall funding.

The videos are separated into topics:

- See more at: http://www.friendsoftoppenishcreek.org/article.html?blogid=51#sthash.7DRuZJYW.dpuf

September 17, 2014

The Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area was created in 2012 to address pollution of groundwater with nitrates. Various studies have found that 12% t0 20% of wells in the area have nitrates higher than the safe level -10mg/L.
In the interest of keeping the public well informed, Friends of the Toppenish Creek will post videos of the ground water management committee meetings.
These videos are from August 21, 2014, recorded at Radio KDNA in Granger WA. The purpose of this meeting was to develop a plan for the spending of 2.3 million that WA State has provided to address the problem. Five workgroups presented requests and Yakima County presented a need for overall funding.

The videos are separated by topics:



Part 1 of 6


Click Here for more information &
view the rest of the series 

 


Lower Valley GWMA Budget Discussion

September 17, 2014 - The Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area was created in 2012 to address pollution of groundwater with nitrates. Various studies have found that 12% t0 20% of wells in the area have nitrates higher than the safe level -10mg/L. In the interest of keeping the public well informed, Friends of the Toppenish Creek will post videos of the ground water management committee meetings. These videos are from August 21, 2014, recorded at Radio KDNA in Granger WA. The purpose of this meeting was to... Read More »

Chief Sealth's Words

August 06, 2012 - Chief Sealth's Words - 1854
Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change. Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.
My words are like the stars that never change. Whatever Seattle says, the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons.
The white chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship ... Read More »

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