Conservation measures underway to help balance streamflow within the Deschutes River (Bend, Ore.) In mid-October,Central Oregonians will come together as a community to rescue fish and mitigate impacts caused by drought and scheduled, seasonal streamflow changes in the Upper Deschutes River. Fish get stranded along a 1-mile stretch of channel that dries out every year from Lava Island Trailhead to Meadow Camp off the Deschutes River when water released from Wickiup Dam into the Deschutes River is reduced to store it for next year’s irrigation season. Nearly 50% of Central Oregon farmers depend on the water stored within Wickiup Reservoir. “The fish rescue is a temporary measure,” said Lisa Windom, special projects coordinator for North Unit Irrigation District. “The irrigation districts are working toward long-term solutions to balance the flows.” By piping open irrigation canals, promoting on-farm conservation by patrons (piping private deliveries, converting to sprinklers), and entering temporary instream … Read more
Sustainable agriculture is more than a buzzword at Fox Hollow Ranch…it’s a family lifestyle. Martin and Nancy Richards operate Fox Hollow Ranch in North Unit Irrigation District raising carrot, parsley, and spinach seed, peppermint oil, Kentucky Bluegrass seed, hay and grain on 640 irrigated acres. People, planet, and profits are all important parts of the continued viability of this operation. Son Kevin and his wife Natalie joined the farm partnership in 2013 and are raising their growing family (3 boys and twins on the way) on the farm. Son Gary earns his livelihood off the farm but has chosen to raise his 3 girls on the farm. These family members and their employees count on a profitable operation to provide economic security for their families. They in turn contribute both economically and socially to the Madras community and beyond. A willingness to react quickly to changing weather, technology, and societal values is … Read more
Join Backcountry Hunters and Anglers for their 3rd annual Beers Bands and Public Lands! When: June 15, 2019 2pm – 7pm Where: Drake Park Bring your friends or family to celebrate, share campfire stories and learn to be better stewards of our precious wild places. We’ll have live music, local brews, raffles and prizes from many of Oregon’s amazing outdoor gear companies plus games, vendors and learning opportunities. All proceeds will help the Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in our mission to maintain the integrity of, and our access to, America’s most valuable resource.
“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. Those fish long lost have been referred to as “ghost fishes.” 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. A number of 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 little more than a century, it has been transformed from a flourishing ecosystem to a highly altered, managed system with greatly diminished habitat for native fish … Read more
In today’s acrimonious political climate, it’s rare to read stories about public and private entities working together for the common good — particularly when it comes to the environment and limited natural resources. This is one of those stories. In 2015, Hood River-based Farmers Conservation Alliance, with support from Energy Trust of Oregon, developed the Irrigation Modernization Program to help irrigation districts and the farmers they serve revolutionize their water delivery systems. The goal? Improve conservation efforts and keep more water flowing for farmers, food and fish. In Central Oregon and throughout the western U.S., aging agricultural infrastructure, an expanding population, persistent droughts and declining fish populations are stressing scarce water resources. Farmers rely on irrigation to grow food. But the centuries-old dams and canals that capture and convey this water from rivers to farms can be inefficient — anywhere from 30 to 70 percent may be lost to seepage … Read more
Many streams and rivers are expected to flow at normal to above normal levels for the spring and summer. The exceptions are rivers in northwest Oregon and the Upper Deschutes Basin. Check out this recent coverage on this very topic from KTZV News Channel 21