Groups file for Central Oregon water supply changes

Feb 09, 2016

Bend Bulletin

Groups file for Central Oregon water supply changes

A pair of environmental groups is asking a federal judge to immediately order changes to how the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and irrigation districts manage water out of three Central Oregon reservoirs, saying current operations harm the federally protected Oregon spotted frog.

The Center for Biological Diversity and WaterWatch of Oregon requested an preliminary injunction today in U.S. District Court in Eugene against the bureau, as well as Arnold, Central Oregon, Lone Pine, North Unit, Tumalo irrigation districts. They ask for changes to Crane Prairie Reservoir, Wickiup Reservoir and Clear Lake operations and for the court to issue the injunction by April 1 to help spotted frogs this breeding season.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the frogs as threatened in fall 2014.

An injunction could result in abrupt and severe restrictions for farms, ranches, homes and schools supplied by the reservoirs, according to the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, which consists of eight irrigation districts in Central Oregon. Such restrictions could disrupt the water supplies of thousands of families in and near Bend, Madras, Redmond and Tumalo.

— Dylan J. Darling

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