State of the Drought

State of the Drought

State of the Drought. I'm Greg Martin with Washington Ag Today.

Cooler weather has been asserting itself across the northwest but that has not translated into much precipitation. Maia Bellon, Director of the Washington Department of Ecology yesterday gave reporters a look at how the state is faring with the drought.

BELLON: Our late season burst of cooler temperatures and rain was sweet relief but it was short -lived on the west side of the state and it was essentially non-excitant in the central and eastern parts of our state. So today's take home message, this historic drought is not over and we're already planning for next year

Western Washington is in severe drought with central and eastern parts of the state listed as extreme.

BELLON: And in fact 68% of the state remains in extreme drought status. We smashed water records all over the map this year but none of them were good. Historically low snow in the mountains completely absent in some places, a crazy low river level with creek beds that morphed into dry cobblestone paths. Salmon stranded returning home to spawn with lethally warm water killing other fish and water was curtailed for almost 900 junior water right holders more that a dozen river basins.

The list goes on and on. Bellon says this is on top of the disastrous wildfires.

BELLON: Rains are desperately needed to recharge these reservoirs and even then that won't be enough to get us through next summer. We need winter snowpack in the mountains, what we call out frozen reservoirs and there's growing concern we may not get it and if we don't the harm will be felt much earlier next year.

And that's Washington Ag Today. I'm Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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