Category : We The River

Why groundwater makes the Deschutes so unique

March 6th, 2017

This winter has been a refreshing change from the recent past. Central Oregon’s snowpack is 138% of average. Skiers are ecstatic and irrigators look forward to plentiful water supplies this summer as the snowpack melts and releases water into our rivers and reservoirs.

Historically, Central Oregon sees these large snow events from time to time. People have compared this past winter with that of 1993 or even 1996.  What’s important to note is that these huge snow events do not happen regularly and we can’t plan on them.

When we get a significant snowpack, it’s a gift from nature. Much of that water makes its way down through highly permeable volcanic landscape and into the groundwater system. This groundwater then bubbles up as springs that recharge the Deschutes River, contributing 80% of its flow in the lower reaches of the Deschutes.

This special groundwater connection is one of the primary reasons why the Deschutes River is considered so unique.

Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more interesting facts this week in honor of National Groundwater Week.

Upcoming Community Learning Opportunities

January 20th, 2017

Photo: Scott Nelson

 

Do you want to play a more active role in local environmental issues this year? The best way you can help the river is to learn about the problem and support the organizations working to protect it. Here are several upcoming community learning opportunities to help you navigate the complex issues facing the Deschutes River and its tributaries.

 

Feb 1 | OSF and Related Initials: The Oregon Spotted Frog Legal and Policy Story
6:30 – 7:30 pm

OSF, NEPA, HCP, ITP…If you’re scratching your head about the nuts and bolts of the Oregon Spotted Frog lawsuit – what happened, where are we today, what’s next, and what do the initials and acronyms stand for – this is your opportunity get your questions answered. RSVP requested.

Feb 3 | Overview of the Deschutes River Basin: Science, Water Law, the Challenges and Potential Solutions
1:30 – 3:30 pm @ The Oregon Duck Store

Kyle Gorman of the Oregon Water Resources Department will give an overview of how water is managed in the Deschutes Basin and the geology in Central Oregon. He will also discuss how water is used in the region and the role water rights is playing in today’s water issues. Only 20 spots available. RSVP required. Please email srbutterfield@gmail.com


Feb 6 | Farmers Conservation Alliance: Connecting the dots between irrigation modernization, our environment, and our community
6:30 – 7:30 pm

Farmers Conservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization working throughout the western US, including Central Oregon, to modernize irrigation for the benefit of agriculture, the environment and community. Learn about irrigation modernization and its role in restoring healthy flows to the Upper Deschutes River. RSVP requested.

 

Feb 17 | Environmental Issues on the Deschutes River
1:30 – 3:30 pm @ The Oregon Duck Store

Ryan Houston, the Executive Director of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council will speak on topics including native fish, the Oregon spotted frog, riparian issues, the Endangered Species Act, the Habitat Conservation Plan and the human impacts on the river. Kate Fitzpatrick, Program Director for the Deschutes River Conservancy will speak about the Basin Study Work Group and the collaborative planning process to solve water supply issues in the Deschutes Basin moving into the future. Only 20 spots available. RSVP required. Please email srbutterfield@gmail.com


Feb 23 | The Return of the River: Film and panel discussion
6:30 – 8:30 pm

This award-winning film tells the story of a remarkable campaign to set the Elwha River free. It is an unlikely success story for environmental and cultural restoration that offers hope and possibility for a more sustainable future. The film will be followed by a panel discussion about river restoration with the director/cinematographer and two research scientists who worked on the project. RSVP required.

March 3 | Irrigation in the High Desert: Perspectives on Water Use from North Unit Irrigation District and Central Oregon Irrigation District
1:30 – 3:30 pm

Mike Britton (North Unit Irrigation District), Craig Horrell (Central Oregon Irrigation District) and Patrick Griffiths (City of Bend) will discuss topics including farming, municipal needs, water challenges, opportunities, and solutions for irrigation districts and the river. Only 20 spots available. RSVP required. Please email srbutterfield@gmail.com

 

Three 2016 River Successes You Need to Know About

December 22nd, 2016

We are here because we love the Deschutes River. Our local rivers give life to an otherwise arid, high desert climate. No matter who we are, we are all connected to the river, and therefore, to each other.
 
By working together with farmers, fisherman and urban communities, we have done great things.
 
Central Oregon’s rivers have seen some hopeful successes in 2016. We’d like to thank our partners, supporters and funders who have helped:

  • Restore water back to the Middle Deschutes. Through your support of our Leasing Program, 2135 acres and 10,180 acre-feet of water were protected instream from April through October, with protected peak flows of up to 31.15 cfs from mid-May to mid-September.
  • Increase Minimum Winter Flows in the Upper Deschutes. The Oregon Spotted Frog Settlement Agreement has ensured a permanent increase in winter flows raising the minimum from 20 cfs to 100 cfs. This is a first step toward further flow restoration we hope to accomplish through continued partnership and collaboration within the basin.
  • Improve Conditions for Salmon and Steelhead in Whychus Creek. Increased flows through piping and partner-led habitat restoration work have improved summer flows for Salmon and Steelhead in Whychus Creek.

We want to sincerely thank all of you who have supported the Deschutes River this year. We need the river—and now, the river needs us. We pledge to work together to care for the river today and for generations to come!
 
Join us in continuing to restore the Deschutes River and its tributaries in 2017. By working together, we really can do great things!

 

“Together we can do great things,” says DRC Exec. Dir. Tod Heisler

December 15th, 2016

From the Desk of the Executive Director, Tod Heisler

This year has been unpredictable for many reasons. Water supply, climate change and politics have all been top of mind.

As we enter uncertain times, it is important for us to work together as a community. To keep calling for the protection of our beautiful places. To keep educating our children about the value of nature.

In my family, we have all pledged to do everything we can to protect the beautiful world we live in.

In the Deschutes Basin, we have been working to set aside our differences and find solutions for water conservation where we can all win – fish, families and farmers.

Though we’ve been successfully working at this for twenty years, today we need your help more than ever.

Restoration of the Upper Deschutes is our greatest undertaking and affects our entire region. We can’t do this without community support.

We need you to pledge your support to restoring the Deschutes River. We need you to pledge to do everything you can to conserve water and educate others.

Please join us in being a river supporter. The only way we will see healthy flows in the Upper Deschutes is by pulling together.

Together we can do great things!