Crooked River

a river running through a rocky landscape

The Beautiful Crooked River and its Tributaries Flow Through the Southwestern Portion of the Deschutes Basin

Our work focuses on the 73 miles of the Lower Crooked River below Bowman Dam and its two tributaries, McKay Creek and Ochoco Creek.

Salmon and steelhead have recently been reintroduced into these reaches. Our two major projects are the McKay Creek Water Rights Switch, which aims to restore natural streamflows to McKay Creek, and the North Unit Initiative, which restores streamflow in the low flow section below river mile 28 that runs through Smith Rock State Park.


  • McKay Creek Water Rights Switch with OID

    • +11.2 cfs restored

    • Restored natural hydrograph

    • Monitoring surface, groundwater, macro-invertebrates, and riparian vegetation.

  • North Unit Minimum Flow Agreement

  • Crooked River Water Quality Partnership

    • Initiative focused on decreasing human caused nitrogen in the Lower Crooked River

  • Annual water leasing

Crooked River Map
Wildlife Inhabitants:

Bull trout

Chinook salmon

Mountain whitefish

Redband trout

Steelhead trout

Progress: (Goal: 80 CFS)

Up to 11 CFS (in progress in summer)

Up to 51-61 CFS (summer)


Low Flows in the Summer
and Shoulder Seasons (Apr. & Oct.)

Water Quality (temperature)

Fish and Wildlife Habitat



Instream Leasing

Instream Transfers

*Flows were not met in 2022 because of extreme drought.