Editorial: Help the Deschutes River by passing Merkley/Wyden bill

Date:
February 17, 2022
Editorial: Help the Deschutes River by passing Merkley/Wyden bill

By Bulletin Editorial Board

Get close to the Deschutes River and it can be loud, cascading across rocks and logs. But the river has no voice of its own.

And that is what makes the Deschutes River Conservancy critical. The DRC, as it is known, is not a purely conservationist or environmental viewpoint. It’s not the mouthpiece of the basin’s irrigation districts. It’s not a tool of governments or recreationists.

It tries to bring them all together. To grow relationships between those different interests and invest money to get river restoration projects done.

Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both Democrats, are putting together a bill that would reauthorize the ability of the DRC to directly get federal funding for water quality and conservation projects. The bill would also give the DRC up to $2 million in funding for the next 10 years.

The DRC does projects like its water bank. It created a program that enables people who have water rights and don’t need all their water to shift water to where it is desperately needed in the basin: the farmers of North Unit Irrigation District near Madras.

Want to fight the drought? Want to help the health of the river? Passing the Merkley/Wyden bill is one way to get that done.

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