Save Hunters Hot Springs|
Save Historic Hunters Hot Springs!Your comments are necessary by February 18, 2011 in order to help stop the development and save the historic Hunters Hot Springs springs. Please read the DRAFT Environmental Assessment and give your two cents to ensure that these hot pots, seeps, ponds and springs continue to remain available not only to wildlife but for you, the public, as well.
Please, also SIGN THE SAVE HUNTERS HOT SPRINGS PETITION. Your comments will be provided to the Department of Energy decisionmakers as part of this process. There is strength in numbers.
The IssueHistoric Hunters Hot Springs, located in Lakeview, Oregon, is under direct threat from geothermal development. Hunters Hot Springs have been known for thousands of years, a series of 20+ hot springs, seeps, and deep blue pots that not only support a wide variety of wildlife and human activities, but unique invertebrate and bacterial colonies important to science. Until June of 2009, a geyser, Old Perpetual, the only hot water geyser in the pacific northwest, used to erupt 60 feet in the air at regular intervals.
The concern is a proposed geothermal power generation facility to be sited on an existing hot water well that is operated by the Town of Lakeview and currently serves the Warner Creek Correctional Facility. The proposal is to double the output from the well. This well is less than 100 yards from the geyser and 150 yards from the majority of the hot springs, pots and pools.
This well is ALREADY IMPACTING the health of the hot springs surrounding Hunters without the additional draw from the well, most notably through the absence of the geyser Old Perpetual that has not erupted since June 2009.
The State of Oregon paid for the installation of the Town Well that serves the Warner Creek Correctional Facility, the Town of Lakeview paid to oversize it in anticipation of a geothermal power generation project like the one proposed. At the time, no formal environmental analysis on the impacts of the development of this well were performed. Now that environmental studies have been performed in conjunction with the proposed power generation project, the modeling shows that the Town cannot use the oversized well due to negative impacts at Hunters Hot Springs associated with pumping (Appendix F - Aquifer Impact Study). They wasted their money, as they did not perform adequate testing on the water table when installing their well in 2004.
Three scenarios are developed in the EA and ALL illustrate a drop in the water table at Hunters Hot Springs: One at 200 feet, another at 30 feet, and a final at 3 feet, depending on the variables used in the Aquifer Impact Study model. These variables are entirely based on the inexact science of underground plumbing, "dialing in" two different hot water wells and a two reinjection wells to ensure that water remains flowing at Hunters and surrounding wetlands. The Town well must be suplemented by another hot water source (known as the Utley Well) in order to not completely wipe out Hunters Hot Springs altogether.
It must be understood that a 3 foot drop in the water table at Hunters Hot Springs wipes them out. Should this occur, the first line of mitigation measure proposed by the Town of Lakeview is to provide the springs, seeps, hot pots and ponds with water directly from the Town Well. Open the very real spigot. This is unacceptable, as the springs are then no longer doing their thing providing spring water for bacterial mats, wildlife, and humans alike. The second line of mitigation as stated in the EA is to stop pumping - killing a multi-million dollar project AFTER it has been constructed. What is the likelihood of that happening?
National Environmental Policy Act Documents - .pdf
History of Hunters Hot Springs