When Peter Keane started running mountaineering tours in the Cascades 30 years ago he helped climbers summit peaks well into August. These days he has to stop running his trips in early July due to the glaciers melting away in the summer sun. It’s simply too dangerous to trek up the melting glaciers due to loose rock and snow.
Collected and curated media Articles about the water and rivers in the western united states
Apr 15, 2020 - Bend Bulletin - Guest column: $1 billion is too much to give irrigation districts in these times
A recent guest column author argued that the solution for water shortages in the Deschutes River Basin is large canal piping projects for irrigation districts funded by the public, instead of much cheaper water market solutions. What he completely ignores is the cost of the large pipes, around $1 billion. In this economic crisis that is absurd, a pipe dream. It will cost too much and take too long. Climate change, threatened fish and wildlife, degraded rivers and farmers without water security compel us to act quickly to solve this problem.
“Frog, fish populations under threat in the Upper Deschutes,” reported on the dire shape of the Upper Deschutes river (The Bulletin, March 30). For decades, the Upper Deschutes has had unnaturally high flows in the summer when water is released from reservoirs to meet irrigation demands. Summer flows are three times the natural levels and have scoured the banks, widened the channel, and filled spawning beds with silt (as well as Mirror Pond). In the winter, the reservoirs are refilled, and the river is reduced to unnaturally low flows, exposing the riverbed to freezing temperatures, and killing fish, aquatic plants, insects, and amphibians.
Recent snowstorms have lifted the state's overall average snowpack to 109% of normal as of April 8, compared to 91% of normal at the beginning of March, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
With the mountain snowpack running above average in most places, Morgan is confident that 2020 will be the second straight year without a drought.
For decades Rob Rastovich relied on flood irrigation to water the hay fields on his family-owned ranch outside Bend. The system was archaic and wasted large amounts of water, which ran off the edge of his 200-acre plot.
Apr 01, 2020 - Bend Bulletin - Guest column: Central Oregon farmers are fighting together to improve water stewardship
Farmers are known for adapting. We adapt to bad weather, water scarcity, low market prices, labor availability and cumbersome regulations. Refusal to adapt could result in devastating outcomes. We adapt; that’s what farmers do.
Below the bridge, the banks of the Deschutes River were visibly shorn off from summertime high water flows. The channel was wider than its historic width, they said. And unnatural, isolated winter ponds caused by seasonal low flows did not appear to provide suitable habitat for fish and other wildlife.
Two Deschutes County landowners have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the Tumalo Irrigation District from replacing open canals with underground pipes to conserve water.
Building a new reservoir, drilling new wells to tap into underground aquifers and pumping water out of Lake Billy Chinook are among the high cost options under consideration by the North Unit Irrigation District to gather new water supplies. In the face of chronic water shortages in Wickiup Reservoir, North Unit has been looking to diversify its water sources.
Mar 06, 2020 - Bend Bulletin - Guest column: North Unit and COID farmers partner to get more water in the Deschutes River
As new farmers and North Unit Irrigation District patrons, we were eager to find ways to be more efficient with the two most precious natural resources that enable our livelihood: water and soil. To improve our water efficiency, we implemented drip irrigation, scientific irrigation scheduling and wireless irrigation monitoring.
The Deschutes River is flowing 5.45% higher this winter due to agreements between two irrigation districts to increase the amount of water flowing from Wickiup Reservoir.
Feb 27, 2020 - Bend Bulletin - Guest column: Removing water from the Deschutes is not a right; it's a privilege
The Deschutes River was once one of the gems of the West. Due to numerous springs, its flow was nearly constant throughout the year. Clean and cold, it supported huge numbers of native trout, and other associated wildlife like the river otter, mink, bald eagles and Oregon spotted frog.
There is a growing conflict between “environmentalists,” ecologists and Central Oregon farmers over irrigation. Both farmers and frogs need water. With authentic biological research and practices, solutions for each are possible.
Mike Britton, general manager for the North Unit Irrigation District, didn’t want to use a cliche when speaking earlier this month in Madras to a group of farmers about the water crisis hitting farmers in Jefferson County. But the phrase “it takes a village” just seemed too appropriate to pass up.
Millions of dollars. Widespread agreement on contentious issues. Changes in laws and regulations. With those three things, all of the water issues in the Deschutes Basin could be solved. So it’s simple, right?
Inside a low-slung building at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds it was standing room only for presentations that would give insight into how much water would be available to farmers in 2020.
From the top of the dam holding back the waters of Wickiup Reservoir, Curtis Wood, Josh Bailey and Gary Calhoun — three employees of the North Unit Irrigation District — huddled against the wind and peered down at the partially frozen water, a swirl of green and white.
At its December 3 Bend Park and Recreation District board meeting, local leaders once again took up the discussion of the future of Mirror Pond—the water feature in downtown Bend that has been accumulating silt since its last dredging decades ago.
U.S. Sen Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will make an appearance in Bend on Dec. 14 to discuss his campaign to increase the number of Oregon rivers protected under the national list of Wild and Scenic Rivers.