Archives : Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

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.

Ken Bierly of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) recognized for his long-term commitment to Oregon’s natural areas

August 28th, 2012

Ken Bierly of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

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.”