Archives : Deschutes River

Some like it hot – but not fish

September 6th, 2015

TumaloConfluence-5147-web
July was hot; the hottest month on record according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Combine that with an unusually warm winter, dismally low snowpack and drought declaration in 90% of Oregon and you get some pretty unhappy conditions for fish and other river dwellers.

Native fish such as trout and salmon thrive in river temperatures below 60°F, but as water warms and oxygen levels decrease, fish become stressed. An increase to 68°F and above can turn a river lethal for most native fish.

Sadly, thousands of fish died around Oregon this summer as a result of the low flows, warm water and increased levels of temperature related diseases. We hope the weather conditions we experienced this summer will give way to more normal patterns, but we do have to acknowledge the likelihood of more droughts in the future.

The good news is that here in the Deschutes Basin, many of our streams are spring fed and don’t tend to get as warm as other streams in Oregon. While flows in the Deschutes River below Bend can approach unhealthy temperatures, colder snow-melt tributaries such as Tumalo and Whychus Creeks help cool flows and preserve a healthier habitat.

With our partners, we are now underway with the Upper Deschutes Basin Study which will design the next generation of water management projects to restore flows in the Deschutes River help modernize century old water management practices that are no longer sustainable for today’s diverse needs.

We all have an interest in maintaining healthy rivers. We are all working together to create a sustainable water plan in the Deschutes Basin for tomorrow and for generations to come. Support this important process by getting informed and sharing information with others.

Read more at www.deschutesriver.org.

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.