Category : River Restoration Stories
Ken Bierly of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) recognized for his long-term commitment to Oregon’s natural areas
Earlier this month, Ken Bierly received the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) fifth annual Regional Policy Award for his outstanding record for informing political decision-making with ecological science.
Throughout his long career at OWEB, Bierly has strived to ensure a strong scientific basis is applied to the funding body’s ecological projects.
He has also worked tirelessly to maintain strong trust relationships with OWEB’s restoration partners on the ground.
One such example is the Deschutes Special Investment Partnership (SIP), a collaborative effort between the Deschutes Land Trust, the Deschutes River Conservancy, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and the Crooked River Watershed Council to restore and maintain the watershed conditions necessary for successful salmon and steelhead reintroduction.
Bierly has followed salmon and steelhead restoration efforts since childhood, when he attended the dedication of the Pelton-Round Butte Dam.
“It has been an incredible personal odyssey to see the successful return of anadromous fish to the Upper Deschutes Basin,” said Bierly.
“The integration of land and water conservation with habitat restoration that is happening in the Deschutes Basin is unmatched anywhere in the West. It is deeply gratifying to be a part of this larger conservation solution.”
From the Desk of the Executive Director, Tod Heisler
In 2011, the Deschutes River Conservancy surpassed the state’s 20 cfs flow target on the upper reach of Whychus Creek, a feat never before achieved on any stream in Oregon. Reaching this goal, established by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, was successful thanks to the cooperation of private landowners and Three Sisters Irrigation District.
These remarkable accomplishments are only possible when parties of seemingly different interests find common ground and work together. Along these same lines, 2011 saw the start of a landmark agreement between the DRC and North Unit Irrigation District to restore flows in the Crooked River while providing the district significant savings in pumping costs. The project will enhance habitat for reintroduced steelhead and salmon and will assure a better water supply for Central Oregon’s most productive commercial farmers.
It is our partnerships of which we are most proud – partnerships not only to restore streamflows and improve water quality, but also to provide municipal water supply, restore streamside vegetation and fish passage and to conserve critical lands. Together, the DRC and its partners are making historic change in our precious watersheds throughout the Deschutes River Basin. And 2011 was another great year.