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Bacteria plague parts of Bear, Neil creeks

By Mark Freeman
Mail Tribune

Elevated bacteria levels in portions of Bear Creek and Neil Creek near Ashland are prompting health officials to warn people against water contact

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Elevated bacteria levels in portions of Bear Creek and Neil Creek near Ashland are prompting health officials to warn people against water contact there in an ongoing problem likely exacerbated by drought.

The Rogue Valley Council of Governments Thursday issued the advisories for Neil Creek east of Ashland as well as the stretch of Bear Creek between Lynn Newbry Park in Talent and Fern Valley Road near Phoenix.

Bear Creek from its confluence with Griffin Creek to the mouth of Jackson Creek near Central Point also falls under the advisory. Such advisories are somewhat typical during hot, low-flow periods within the Bear Creek Basin, usually in late summer.

"We're seeing water-quality conditions that are poorer earlier than typical, something we normally don't see until June," says Greg Stabach, RVCOG's natural resources program coordinator. "Part of it has to do with the drought conditions."

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The Ashland-based Rogue Riverkeeper organization next week plans to do its regular water-quality testing for bacteria at popular recreation places such as the Rogue River at Gold Hill and Grants Pass, the Applegate River at Cantrall-Buckley Park as well as portions of the Illinois River and Lost Creek Lake, says the Rogue Riverkeepers' Forrest English.

 

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