Got Glaciers? Going, Going, Gone Past-to-Future: Vanishing Glaciers in the Deschutes Basin

This event took place Thursday, April 1st 2021.  Find the event recording below. From fish to farms, from flora to fire hazard, glaciers are crucial to our well-being. And yet… Oregon’s glaciers are the natural water reservoirs of the high Cascade water towers. Glacier meltwater sustains rivers during the late summer and fall for flora, fauna and irrigation. The glacier melt chills streams for salmon and trout, with the attendant effect of cooling surrounding forests that reduces fire risk and intensity. In short, glaciers are an integral part of Central Oregon ecosystems and economies. And yet, we do not know how many glaciers remain today in the basin, let alone how many existed a century ago. In this talk, Dr. Anders Carlson will present on the Oregon Glacier Institute’s findings from the first census of glaciers in Oregon since the 1950s. We will examine how these glacier changes are related … Read more

Chuush iwa waq’ishwit: Water is Life

Chuush iwa waq’ishwit. Water is life. Our rivers function not only hydrologically but also in a cultural context. They have been dramatically altered since the first white people ventured here. With their arrival, forests were logged. Early newcomers tried to eradicate beavers. They introduced nonnative fish and other species. Rivers were dammed and water diverted. The people who already called this place home were displaced, often brutally. The colonization of people, and the monetization of land and water, go hand in hand. We must dismantle both if future generations are to inherit a just society and livable planet. I am Carina. I belong to this land and its rivers. My ancestors lived along the Columbia River and its tributaries, practicing subsistence fishing and hunting. My grandparents ranched on today’s Warm Springs Reservation. My family instilled in me the importance of using traditional knowledge to benefit all, and to think of … Read more

Song of the River

Just over four years ago, we created the Coalition for the Deschutes so the river would have a voice, so that it would be seen as more than an extension of urban and agricultural infrastructure, a utility to be tapped. We can’t talk about restoring rivers without talking about how we all use them, from farming to recreation to household use. And so, I was drawn into Central Oregon “Water World.” Discussions revolve around projects, policies, politics, often with conflicting narratives in a milieu of misinformation and mistrust. To enter into Water World is to be drawn away from the river, diverted just as the river is diverted. For me, it has meant willingly entering into a place of personal sorrow. But with that has come conversations and with conversations has come hope. Hope that we will get to know our neighbors and hear each others’ stories. Hope that we … Read more

A Wild Ride with Explorer George Kourounis

Missed George’s talk? You can watch it here. In the midst of the huge drag that is Covid-19, join Coalition for the Deschutes and the Juniper Group of Sierra Club and escape for a while with explorer George Kourounis. What: Hold on tight as explorer George Kourounis shares his 20+ years of tracking down and documenting the most fearsome natural forces on planet Earth. Chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma, hunkering down in the eyes of hurricanes like Katrina & Sandy, descending deep into menacingly active volcanoes…George is the guy who runs into places that most sane people run away from, all to showcase the beauty and power of Mother Nature. George will be sharing stories, images, and videos from his most extreme expeditions in more than 75 countries spanning all seven continents. Curious about George Kourounis George Kourounis is Explorer In Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and has hosted 50 episodes of the globally-broadcast TV series “Angry … Read more

Beyond Blame: Restoring the Deschutes River

“Who hears the fishes when they cry?” Those haunting words were penned by Henry David Thoreau almost 200 years ago, a reaction to the declining salmon runs he witnessed on the East Coast. Today those fish, now long lost, have been referred to as “ghost fish.” We do not intuitively know what used to be. We suffer from ecological amnesia, accepting what we see today as normal. A hundred years after the Deschutes River was dammed and diverted in order to irrigate arid lands, how do we know what we’ve lost? Thoreau’s piercing question echoes through time. Seven years ago, the reality of my own front-yard river hit home for me. The Deschutes, our beautiful river, once teemed with fish and other wildlife. In short order last century, it was transformed from a free-flowing river to a highly managed system. Add to that mix the impact of logging, farming, housing … Read more

Looking for What Brings Us Together: From Otters to Anglers to Itinerant Farm Workers

This article was published in the River Management Society’s 2020 Spring edition of their print and online journal. From Otters to Anglers to Itinerant Farm Workers: Looking for What Brings Us Together Why would the words of a war zone journalist be relevant to river advocates? Photographer and journalist Ami Vitale offers these insights: If we choose to look for what divides us, we will find it. If we choose to look for what brings us together, we will find that too. Water in the west is filled with conflict among stakeholder groups who often feel misunderstood and sometimes maligned by each other. There are winners and losers, but too often, rivers and all the life that depends on them are on the losing side. This had been true for the Deschutes River in Central Oregon, but positive change was finally underway. Then tensions came to a head in November 2017, … Read more