This article was published on: 02/22/23 8:03 AM
Love was in the air this month as we celebrated Valentine’s Day and it had us thinking about how much we love the Deschutes River.
Do you remember the first time you saw the Deschutes River? I sure do. I was mesmerized by the sight of clear blue water tumbling over volcanic rock, while the ponderosas and Doug firs danced in the wind. I had moved to Bend as a student studying Natural Resources and couldn’t believe my luck that Oregon State had an extension campus tucked away in this beautiful community. I wasted no time upon my arrival, grabbed my fly rod, and headed out searching for hungry trout.
While I ultimately left Bend for a short while, having the opportunity to come back and work for the DRC has been a dream come true. Being a part of an organization that works tirelessly to protect not only the Deschutes River, but the entire basin, is something I’m immensely proud of. When I think back on the day I met the river for the first time, I’m humbled to consider how its influence beckoned me further down the path of conservation work and how I can now return that favor by working hard to protect it. Sure, it’s a romantic notion, but it is the month of love.
About the author: James O’Brien joined the DRC in 2022 as a Program Associate. His work primarily consists of water rights transactions and data monitoring and analysis.
Prior to joining the DRC, James spent four years in the U.S. Army and post-discharge earned a BS in Natural Resources Policy & Management from Oregon State University. After working in grassroots campaign and freshwater conservation roles, he returned to school where he earned a Master of Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law & Graduate School in 2021.
Most recently, James worked in policy research and analysis for a watershed council in his home state of Michigan. He also just completed a Digital Marketing certificate from Cornell University and is currently pursuing a Communications for Conservation Graduate Certificate through Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources.
When he’s not working, James loves to spend time outdoors with his wife and their dog. You can find him exploring the beautiful waters of Central Oregon, almost always with a fly rod in hand.