The Deschutes River Basin

CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR FOCUS AREAS:      CROOKED RIVER      UPPER DESCHUTES     MIDDLE DESCHUTES     MCKAY CREEK      TUMALO CREEK      WHYCHUS CREEK

Trout Creek
Willow Creek
Mill Creek
Ochoco Creek
Whychus Creek
McKay Creek
Tumalo Creek
Fall River
Metolius River
Crooked River
Lower Deschutes River
Middle Deschutes River
Upper Deschutes River
Lower Deschutes River Trout Creek Willow Creek Metolius River Whychus Creek McKay Creek Crooked River Ochoco Creek Mill Creek Middle Deschutes River Upper Deschutes River Tumalo Creek Fall River

 

​THE DESCHUTES STORY: COLLABORATION OVER CONFLICT

HISTORY
Over 100 years ago, federal and state policies encouraged the settlement of the high desert by facilitating access to land and irrigation water. In many cases, the state gave out more water rights than existed in the river during the dry summer months. While this access to water has allowed our region to support an early agricultural economy, the philosophy of the time didn't include concern for ecological health of the region.

PROBLEM
European settlers constructed an impressive 700 miles of canals to convey water throughout the land to "make the desert bloom," but the fractured basalt they dug into is now known to leak up to fifty percent of the water passing through. Combined with inefficient watering practices, increased urbanization of previously designated farmlands, and increased competition for water supply, we are seeing the unintended consequences of these actions. Low and altered streamflow has led to a decline in healthy habitat and overall health in many basin streams. Sadly, a similar story is echoed throughout the arid Western United States and has been the source of much conflict. 

SOLUTION
Unlike other basins however, the Deschutes Basin has a long history of collaboration around water issues. ​Diverse partners and stakeholders have made significant progress restoring streamflows together in ways that support agriculture and communities. In a world of increasing water scarcity and a changing climate, we strive to model cooperation instead of conflict.

There is an African proverb that states: "If you want to ​go fast, go alone. If you want to ​go far, go together."

For 25 years, we've chosen not to go alone. By bringing often conflicting stakeholders together to solve complex water issues, our work in the Deschutes basin has set a standard of long-term collaborative streamflow restoration. We believe that's the way we ​will make lasting change in the health of our rivers and streams and provide a healthy region for our children and grandchildren.