April 30, 2009 - The Oregonian Deal Returns Water to Whychus Creek

May 1, 2009
April 30, 2009 - The Oregonian Deal Returns Water to Whychus Creek

Deal returns water to Whychus Creek

by Matthew Preusch, The Oregonian

Thursday April 30, 2009, 8:22 AM

A central Oregon stream will have more water in the summer months thanks to a deal brokered by a group in Bend.

A landowner with the right to divert water from Whychus Creek has agreed to sell that right to the Deschutes River Conservancy, which runs a water bank in the Deschutes Basin.
The conservancy frequently leases water rights from landowners on a temporary basis to keep water from being diverted out of rivers and creeks for irrigation, but this is its first permanent water transaction.

Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs helped finance the purchase of 1.5 cubic feet per second of water from the owner, Lazy Z Meadows, LLC.

The extra water should help an ongoing effort to reintroduce runs of ocean-going trout to the creek, which runs through Sisters and in the past sometimes ran dry in summer due to water diversions. That reintroduction effort is on hold after a $100 million tower meant to help fish pass a series of dams on the Deschutes River broke in half earlier this month.

"Collaborating with the Deschutes River Conservancy to enhance water flows into Whychus Creek allowed our partnership to find the balance between good business and what's good for the earth," said Bill Willits, one of the seven Lazy Z partners.

-- Matthew Preusch, mattpreusch@news.oregonian.com

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