For this week’s episode of “Bend Don’t Break” we talk with Kate Fitzpatrick, the executive director of the Deschutes River Conservancy.
Boating on the Lower Deschutes River has plenty of fans. The fees charged for it? Not so much. But the Bureau of Land Management’s rationale for new fees for boating and camping is simple. Its costs for upkeep are rising. Its revenues aren’t keeping up.
The story goes that Sisters had a river once, then we lost it, but then we found it again. This is a tale distilled from science but fueled by community passion. It reminds us that we can overcome huge challenges with the work of a village of willing souls.
Outdoor recreation on the Deschutes River continues to be fun and very popular, but increased use has chewed away at the riverbanks. The Bend park district has proposed a cleanup plan.
Oregon is gorgeous and people travel to the state from across the country to whitewater raft, canoe, fish, kayak, and camp along its many rivers and streams. But surprisingly few of the state’s roughly 110,000 river miles are protected as “Wild and Scenic.” That can change!
The Central Oregon Irrigation District said Friday it has received final approval from the Oregon Water Resources Department for the West-F project that piped 2,210 feet of a leaky lateral canal north of Redmond.
The struggles to tame the river changed it into something less healthy. Before irrigation canals and reservoirs, the Deschutes had more regular flows. It averaged 600 cubic feet per second to 800 cfs upstream of Bend. Until recently, it’s been fluctuating much more wildly from 20 cfs to 1,800 cfs. Low flow levels warm up the river making it more unhealthy.
A year ago U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Oregonians to nominate their favorite rivers to be included in an expansion of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Thousands of nominations poured in, and Wednesday the legislation to have some of those rivers formally protected was introduced to Congress.
A proposed 17% fee increase on water transactions and dam inspections has raised concerns about increasing the economic burden on Oregon farmers during the coronavirus pandemic.