Monday, February 11, 2008

A region's vitality, melting away

clipped from
HOOD RIVER -- The melting of Mount Hood's signature
glaciers raises a crucial question for the region: How much
do we depend on them and the cool meltwater they pour into
rivers and creeks?
New findings by Oregon State University researchers show
that in certain places, the answer is: quite a bit. That is
important news for Hood River and its famous fruit crop,
which drinks in glacier water throughout the summer.
Although rapid melting of the glaciers could release extra
water in the near term, the glaciers eventually may retreat
to higher, cooler and, in the case of north-facing Eliot
Glacier, shadier reaches of the mountain, where their
melting would slow, Nolin said.
Eliot Glacier -- the mountain's largest -- supplies
more than 85 percent of the August water in Eliot Creek,
which flows from the glacier and provides an important water
source for a local irrigation district.
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