Archives : 2012 : September

Funding salmon and steelhead reintroduction in the Deschutes Basin

September 28th, 2012

The Pelton Fund was created by Portland General Electric Company (PGE) and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to protect and enhance habitat for salmon and steelhead being reintroduced above the Pelton Round Butte Project.

Historically, salmon and steelhead migrated from the Columbia River up the Deschutes River and into the Crooked River, Metolius River and Whychus Creek. In 1964, PGE completed the construction of Round Butte dam on the lower Deschutes River, providing fish passage facilities to promote continued migration. Unfortunately, the passage system was unsuccessful because of the confusing currents in Lake Billy Chinook. To mitigate the loss of the salmon and steelhead runs, PGE funded a hatchery program to replenish the downstream fishery.

The Deschutes River just above the Pelton Round Butte Dam

 

In 2005, PGE and the Tribes received a new operating license which made restoring fish passage at the dams its centerpiece. To solve the fish barrier issue, PGE and the Tribes partnered to construct a $100 million dollar Fish Passage System, which saw the first returns of salmon and steelhead making their way through the facility and into the Upper Basin this year.

The Pelton Fund has been dedicated to funding habitat restoration in the Upper Basin, including the Deschutes River Conservancy’s streamflow restoration projects in Whychus Creek and the Crooked River, to support the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead. These funds have helped the DRC develop and implement the largest water conservation initiative in Oregon and to achieve one of two streamflow targets in Whychus Creek.

The Pelton Fund also supports a project to restore healthy conditions in McKay Creek, a tributary of the Crooked River. The scope of the Pelton Fund’s commitment to enhancing tributary conditions for salmon and steelhead has greatly leveraged the DRC’s ability to collaborate with its restoration partners to implement strategic and comprehensive reach-wide restoration.

The Deschutes Brewery launches the Deschutes River Recordings to benefit the Deschutes River

September 19th, 2012

Eric D. Johnson sings “Ballad of Easy Rider” on the banks of the Deschutes River. The first in a series of Deschutes River Recordings produced by the Deschutes Brewery.

Here at Deschutes River Conservancy, we are lucky to have the outstanding support of many companies in our community. On the heels of pledging to restore one billion gallons of water to the river for the next few years, Deschutes Brewery has come up with a creative way to provide the DRC with additional support and it is called “Deschutes River Recordings”.

Here’s how Deschutes River Recordings was born:

  • The brewery issued a call to its fans – otherwise called “advisory board members” – to choose songs with a river theme through an online voting process.
  • Next, the brewery teamed up with indie artists to record the selected songs. The musicians traveled to Central Oregon and recorded the music “streamside high-wire: live, unadorned, far from a studio safety net”, resulting in a completely unique sound blending acoustic tunes with the sounds of nature.
  • A partnership with popular music site, pitchfork.com, was formed and implemented to help promote the new recordings.
  • Fans can download the songs for free, but are able to make a donation if they desire. Proceeds from downloads of this new music benefit the Deschutes River Conservancy, which is working to preserve streamflows and health of the river in Central Oregon.

The first music video in the Deschutes River Recordings lineup was released today, 9/12. It features artist Eric D Johnson of the popular Chicago-and-then-Oregon-based band The Fruit Bats. He’s belting it out on the banks of the Deschutes River with a little help from a keyboard, some rushing rapids and a squirrel or two. Here’s the direct link.

Two more recordings are coming up in the next few weeks, featuring Laura Gibson and also Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper.

We are so excited about this project and it truly represents a community collaboration to help support our important mission. We hope fans of the brewery, indie music and the river all go online to download this one-of-a-kind music and make a donation to the DRC.

Volunteer Opportunity with the Deschutes River Conservancy

September 5th, 2012

We are looking for 6 volunteers to help pull weeds and and to learn about river restoration with a project tour.

Dates: Two events on Friday, September 7th and 14th. Chose one or both.

Time: 9 am until about noon.

Location: Meet at the Deschutes River Conservancy’s office on 700 NW Hill Street in downtown Bend.

Requirement: Please bring your own gloves. These are required!

Volunteer Perks: Helping to restore streamflow in Whychus Creek AND a free lunch!

Contact: Gen Hubert at 541.382.4077 x16 or gen@deschutesriver.org
Why weeds? In our ongoing efforts to restore streamflow to Whychus Creek in Sisters, the Deschutes River Conservancy recently transferred 0.97 cfs of senior water rights back instream. This is the equivalent of 627 thousand gallons of water per day pouring back into Whychus Creek, which is important habitat for steelhead trout! As a part of our agreement to transfer this water, we are providing assistance to control weeds and establish native plants in the affected pastures.
Ready to volunteer? Start your day on Friday learning about the project first hand with a brief tour of the project site and then do your part to help restore Whychus Creek by pulling out this invasive species (see wanted poster below). PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING GLOVES!

Whychus Creek: A unique restoration opportunity

September 5th, 2012

Newly rerouted Whychus Creek meandering through Camp Polk Meadow near Sisters, Oregon.

Whychus Creek tumbles down the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains, through the City of Sisters, and into the Deschutes River. For over a century, summer irrigation demands far exceeded water supply meaning parts of the creek often ran dry, dramatically affecting native fish populations. Over the past decade, The Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC), The Deschutes Land Trust, and the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, and Three Sisters Irrigation District have worked to restore the conditions necessary to restore healthy habitat for steelhead in Whychus Creek.

In 2007, longtime funder of the DRC, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), created their Special Investment Partnership (SIP) program designed to help implement significant collaborative restoration projects that obtain long-term ecological outcomes. The unique integration of land and streamflow conservation, habitat restoration, and steelhead reintroduction efforts underway in Whychus was the perfect fit for SIP funding.