The streamflow challenges currently facing the Deschutes Basin trace back more than 100 years. Eyeing a successful future for local agriculture and unaware of potential environmental consequences, settlers put the Basin’s water to work.
The process of bringing life to the desert laid the groundwork for much of the local economy, and it still impacts how our rivers are managed today. But today, we also know far more about the need to protect ecosystems while protecting livelihoods.
We’re fortunate to live in a basin in which there is enough water for all – provided that it’s properly managed. To that end, it’s essential that we find ways to restore flows so that human, aquatic and riparian needs are all met.
The recent award of $1.5 million in state and federal funding to study the Deschutes Basin will help all who depend upon the river to better understand the demands upon it.
DRC helped convene the Basin Study Work Group in the autumn of 2013. The Work Group is a diverse consortium of local, state and federal government agencies, irrigation districts, and conservation and recreation interests. All agreed to the need for the study and worked jointly to obtain the grant.
Ultimately, we expect that the study will help shape strategies to ensure sustainable water management long into the future. Bottom line: this is excellent news for the rivers and streams of Central Oregon.
There is a lot to do, but we know it can be done. Simply look at the successful restoration efforts over the past decade in Whychus Creek to see how dedicated people – sometimes with competing interests – can work together to positively impact the health of the Basin.
Please help us ensure that we leave these rivers better than we found them.