The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council is offering this special day for stewards of all ages to get their hands dirty and feet wet! Help clean up the river we all love. Volunteers will help remove invasive weeds from the riverbanks as well as debris in and along the river. Bring a kayak or paddle board if you would like to help transport garbage in the river collected by the divers.
One of the best ways to get to know the Deschutes River and the plant and animal species that depend upon it is to photograph them.
Join Coalition board president and amazing photographer Kim Elton and the celebrated nature guide author LeeAnn Kriegh for a short walk along the First Street Rapids trail near downtown Bend. Bring your camera because we’ll be learning how to take better photographs of specific species and the broader landscape. The trail is mostly flat. Total distance walked will be no more than 2.5 miles round trip.
Registration required. $10/person
If you are inspired by the Deschutes River and the natural beauty of Central Oregon and would like to learn more about expressing your thoughts on paper, please join us for this community creative writing workshop.
The workshop will entail readings, structured writing in response to prompts, and optional sharing of participants’ work.
Our instructor will be Courtney Carlson. Courtney is assistant professor at the University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, where she teaches creative writing and literary analysis in the context of socio-ecological systems. Courtney has been artist in residence at Caldera and the H.J. Andrews Forest.
Bring pen, paper and your appreciation of place.
Registration required. $10/person
Long and Winding River – Explore the Headwaters of the Upper Deschutes
Have you ever wondered where all the water in the Deschutes River comes from and where it goes? If so, then join Dr. Daniele McKay and Dr. Lisa Seales on an exploration of the headwaters of the Deschutes.
Explore the Upper Deschutes River and learn about its geology and hydrology, dip a toe into water rights and policy, and delve into how water is used in the basin. We’ll spend the day visiting places like Sparks, Devils, and Little Lava Lakes along with Crane Prairie and Wickiup dams. Discover how volcanoes have shaped the geology and the hydrology of our area, and how the water that comes from these sources is used by all of us in Central Oregon.
Please note that transportation won’t be provided, so folks will need to drive their own vehicles or carpool with others on the trip. We’ll be meeting and departing from the gravel parking lot by the dog park near Riverbend Park in Bend.
For more information, please contact Lisa Seales at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deschutes can’t go to meetings, write letters, or call decision-makers. The river needs you to be its voice.
We have a chance to make real headway on restoring the Deschutes, and we can do this in a positive way. In the coming weeks, several irrigation districts will be applying for federal funding through the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program. Please join us to learn about this program, how it translates directly to restoring the Deschutes River, and how you can speak for the river.
What: Background on Oregon’s Conserved Water Program and update on irrigation modernization projects in Central Oregon. In order to apply for federal funds for irrigation projects, applicants (the irrigation districts) must go through the NEPA process. This includes public hearings, which will be coming up in July for two of the Central Oregon irrigation districts.
The program next Thursday will include:
–an overview and update on the work done by Farmers Conservation Alliance and the irrigation districts over the past 18 months
–an overview and update on the application process for federal funding that the districts’ must go through in order to apply for funds, and how you can participate
–plenty of time for Q and A
At the meeting on Monday, Margi Hoffman with the Farmers Conservation Alliance will explain the work that FCA has been doing for the past 18 months with Central Oregon irrigation districts. We’ll also have Natasha Bellis from the Deschutes River Conservancy there to speak about Oregon’s Conserve Water Program. This is a crucial element of ensuring that “conserved” water from irrigation piping projects stays in the river.
There are many details and complexities to the story, among them to following:
–the irrigation districts need to find ways legally and practically to share water between junior and senior water rights holders;
–there need to legal mechanisms and contracts that allow water to be left in the Upper Deschutes at Wickiup Dam in the winter months
–we need to make sure the Middle Deschutes, Tumalo Creek and Crooked River also benefit from these changes
There are other tools available to conserve water, including on-farm efficiencies (which go hand-in-hand with irrigation modernization), market incentives, and policies that allow water to be shared and conserved. These are all being discussed at the Basin Study Work Group, so that’s an important forum for engagement.
But for now, our focus is on irrigation modernization and the Conserved Water Program.
PL 566 Background Information
The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manages the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, authorized by Congress in 1954.
The purpose of this program is to provide technical and financial assistance to irrigation districts to plan and implement authorized watershed projects that:
Improves water quality,
Reduces soil erosion,
Enhances fish and wildlife habitat, and
Creates opportunities for hydroelectric power production.
Congress recently appropriated $150 million for the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program this year. Three irrigation districts in the Deschutes Basin are going to apply for funding from this program to complete water conservation projects: Tumalo, Swalley and Central Oregon Irrigation Districts.
The NRCS will be initiating a public comment period on Monday, June 26th. Please sign up for our email alerts to receive more information when it is public and to learn how you can get involved in helping us make sure we can restore our river through this investment.
Wonky Water World is series of occasional forums and discussions about aspects of river and water management that affect the Deschutes River and other creeks and rivers in Central Oregon. Our primary objective is to learn about and promote policies and actions that lead toward restoring the Deschutes River, and how we, the community, can be a part of positive change for the benefit of all.
Wednesday, May 31, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
St Helens Hall, 231 NW Idaho, Bend 97701
Cost: Free. Your RSVP is appreciated.
Changes are coming…
Aging water infrastructure, a warming climate, and more people moving to Oregon from warmer, drier regions are already happening, and more is in our future.
Families, farmers, and fish will all be affected.
In 2012, Oregon adopted its first innovative Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS). Last year, Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) sought recommendations from citizens for updates to the IWRS, including hosting an open house in Bend. The draft revised IWRS is now complete, and OWRD is back in Bend inviting your feedback on the report.
If IWRS sounds wonky…
then think of it terms of dealing with climate change and drought, ensuring that we have healthy ecosystems, making sure we have adequate water for cities and agriculture, and more.
As stakeholders in the future…
with a vested interest in how rivers and groundwater are managed, this is our opportunity to have a say about how the state navigates water management in the Deschutes Basin and throughout Oregon.
Please join us to hear from OWRD staff about the draft revised Strategy and to give your feedback. Comments on the draft will be accepted through Monday, June 19, and later this year, the state will adopt its next Integrated Water Resources Strategy.
Join the Coalition for the Deschutes, the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance, High Desert Educational Agricultural Tours and Deschutes Basin Board of Control for a day-long field trip to explore the Upper Deschutes River and farms that depend on it.
We’ll begin our exploration of the Deschutes River at La Pine State Park and learn about our remarkable river. From La Pine State Park, we’ll have a stop at the North Canal Dam in Bend, where water is diverted for agriculture. Then we’ll head north for tours of two farms in Jefferson County.
This is an all-day tour. Transportation and food will be provided. Please consider making a $10 donation toward lunch. (We’ll have a donation bucket available when we stop for lunch.)
Lavender Fields in Jefferson County
Exploring La Pine State Park
An old gaucho’s tale inspired the search for a new world- record brook trout;
but the water, landscape and the culture surrounding it became
the impetus to conserve and protect it all.
Sunday, June 11, 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Door at 6:00 pm – Raffle starts when doors open
Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St, Bend
We’re thrilled to bring Finding Fontinalis, a story about fish, culture, and conservation, to Bend. The film’s Executive Producer (also Patagonia’s Global Director of Fishing), Bart Bonime, who grew up fishing on the banks of the Deschutes River, will be joining us for the event. Watch a short trailer below. Please share this with your friends.
We also have a wonderful assortment of prizes that will be raffled off during the event:
The Secret Life of Rivers, presented by Dr. Jerry Freilich
Rivers are like eyeglasses. They appear transparent and utterly simple, yet the subtle curves of lenses are anything but simple. Likewise, a river seems like a pipe where water enters the top, runs down a channel, and empties into the sea. What could be simpler?
Actually, the ecology of rivers is complex, concealed, eye-opening and will likely surprise you. This program by Dr. Jerry Freilich will explain how rivers work. How many organisms actually make up the riverine ecosystem? Where do they get their energy? And how many of them have you actually heard of?
With awareness of riverine ecology, you will understand why it is unrealistic to think of a river as pipe and why a river cannot be simply turned on and off like a garden hose without causing great harm to its delicate fabric of life.
Dr. Jerry Freilich is a native of Philadelphia. He worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences there beginning at age 11. He is an aquatic ecologist who spent 25 years working for the National Park Service in six parks nationwide. For the last 13 years he was Research Coordinator at Olympic National Park and recently retired to Bend.
Registration requested so that we know how many chairs to set out.
Please help us cover the cost of renting St Helens Hall by making a small donation of $2 to $5.
Connecting the dots between irrigation modernization, our environment, and our community.
Farmers Conservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization working throughout the western US to modernize irrigation for the benefit of agriculture, the environment and community. FCA is currently working in Central Oregon with local irrigation districts. Learn about irrigation modernization and its role in restoring healthy ecological flows to the Upper Deschutes River.