Bend talk explores spotted frog settlement

November 29, 2016
Bend talk explores spotted frog settlement

An upcoming City Club of Central Oregon event will explore the ramifications of a recent settlement in a lawsuit involving the Oregon spotted frog and Deschutes River flows.

The Dec. 15 event will include discussion with Central Oregon Irrigation District Manager Craig Horrell and Coalition for the Deschutes co-founder Gail Snyder. The panel talk will start at 11:30 a.m. at Riverhouse on the Deschutes in Bend.

Water levels change every fall and spring for irrigation needs. Reduced flows from Wickiup Dam in the fall store water through the winter for the next year’s irrigation season. But river advocates have long argued that the switch — sometimes a drop to around 30 cubic feet per second after running at 2,000 cfs through the summer, for instance, then back up again in the spring — helps erode the waterway and strand fish, among other problems.

Recent lawsuits from conservation groups argued that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation had violated the Endangered Species Act partly by failing to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the effect of dam operations on the Oregon spotted frog, a protected animal. The recent settlement among federal, environmental and irrigation organizations set various provisions. For instance, the irrigation districts must maintain a minimum water level of 100 cfs from mid-September 2016 through March 2017 for winter flows in the Upper Deschutes River. The measures in the settlement serve as an interim step. Work continues on a long-term plan for habitat conservation.

The event costs $25 for City Club members and $40 for non-members to attend. For more information, visit

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An aerial view of a body of water.