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News from the Coalition for the Deschutes

FLOWtilla Event


What if you discovered that every October, the Upper Deschutes River is reduced to extremely low flows that harm the river’s ecology, including fish and other wildlife?

Would you wonder why?

Would you wonder if there are solutions that would allow our river to flourish again?

It can be done! There’s enough water for fish AND farms, but only if we conserve and share.

The river needs your help. 

The Coalition is hosting a Deschutes River FLOWtilla “Let it Flow” on Saturday, October 15th.

Rally for the River.

Join us at Tumalo Creek Canoe & Kayak at 2:00 PM. Bring your kayaks, canoes, and SUP’s and paddle together in the Old Mill area or gather on the grass in support of the river.

Family friendly. Everyone is welcome! Rain or shine.

Live Music by Appaloosa.

FLOWtilla FAQ Sheet

What is a FLOWtilla?  A FLOWtilla is a gathering of kayaks, canoes, and SUPs. We are rallying in support of a healthy Deschutes River.

Where is the event?  We will gather at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, located at 805 SW Industrial Way, launch our water crafts from there, and paddle upriver towards the Old Mill.

When is the event?  The FLOWtilla will take place on Saturday, October 14th, from 2-4pm.

Where can I park?  Parking will be available at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, located at 805 SW Industrial Way.

Do I need to have a boat to participate in the event?  We welcome all participants, both those who want to paddle as well as those who want to stay on dry land to show their support.

What if I don’t have a boat, but I still want to paddle?  Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe will have rentals available for those who don’t have their own watercraft but want to be part of the FLOWtilla.

Does the event cost money?  No, the FLOWtilla is free.

Is this a family-friendly event?  Yes, everyone is welcome! The more the merrier!

What do I need to bring?  Bring your own boats, paddling gear, and clothing/gear appropriate for the weather.

Will the event take place rain or shine?  Yes, we will be paddling regardless of the weather.

What kinds of conditions will we experience on the water?  We will be paddling on a flat but moving section of the Deschutes River. We’ll begin by paddling upstream into the current. It isn’t a difficult paddle, but it is also not a float. Come prepared to paddle both upriver and downriver (tubes are not appropriate). There are no rapids in this section of river. We will not be entering the whitewater park.

What does Let it Flow mean?  Under natural conditions, the Deschutes River had extremely stable flows all year round. Because of this unusual attribute, it was known as the Peculiar River.

For the past seven decades, however, the river has been subjected to two artificially imposed flow regimes, one characterized by extremely high flows and the other by extremely low flows.

Throughout the winter months, water is held back and stored in Wickiup Reservoir so that it can be used for irrigation the following summer. The flows in the Upper Deschutes below the reservoir drop dramatically.

From April to mid-October, the water stored in Wickiup Reservoir is released for irrigation. This raises the river to unnatural, extremely high flows.

These practices have been wreaking havoc on the health of the Upper Deschutes for more than 70 years. We are advocating to “Let it Flow” at rates that are sustainable for both fish AND farms. We have enough water for both, but under current practices we are damaging the health of our river and the life that depends on it.