Our rivers are critically important to Central Oregon's economy and quality of life. From the aqua blue springs of the Metolius River to the essential Deschutes River and its tributaries, Central Oregon LandWatch has been working to protect and restore our rivers and springs for more than thirty years.
City Club of Central Oregon has nominated four finalists for its newly minted “Conversation of the Year” award. Central Oregon LandWatch, a land use advocacy non-profit, played a key role in two of four of the nominations – for the UGB agreement that led to the Westside Transect and for the restoration of Whychus Creek.
A recent bombastic opinion column by Victor Chudowsky muddies the water on Tumalo Creek and needs correction.
Tumalo Creek provides a peaceful refuge, outdoor recreation opportunities and crystal-clear cold water to the Middle Deschutes River. Although it is known as one of Central Oregon’s iconic gems, the Bend City Council voted to build a $60+ million water project to take more water from the creek.
We are looking for a successful and enthusiastic event planner with excellent interpersonal skills to produce community awareness of our BCD Initiative and build support for Central Oregon LandWatch’s mission.
A vast majority of LandWatch's work centers around Oregon's state wide land use planning system, but the importance of preserving public lands on a national level is not lost on us.
A new study, released May 10, 2017, finds that when it comes to allocating water from the Upper Deschutes River for irrigation purposes, less is more.
The "kid from Kansas" continues his tireless quest to preserve the local environment
We're hosting a Student Mixer for OSU Cascades students, COCC students, and other young professionals to learn more about our work to protect farm and forest land, wildlife habitat, recreation areas and keep quality urban areas from inappropriate development.
Now through April, when you shop at Whole Foods you can donate your bag credit to LandWatch!
Saving the Deschutes River
Can you imagine Central Oregon without the Deschutes River? It is the life-blood of this watershed. People, farms, fish and wildlife – all depend on the river.
From water for drinking and for crops, to fish, birds, and wildlife habitat, to outdoor recreation and our economy, the river supports us. Our lives and livelihoods depend on a healthy river.
Once considered a model for river health, today the Deschutes is in trouble. Diversions, dams, and population growth have all taken a toll. While significant strides have been made to protect this important waterway, the pressures of development and continued wasteful practices impede progress.
Even though the Upper Deschutes is a Wild and Scenic River, it is managed as a conduit for irrigation water. In the summer months, almost all of the river's water is diverted for irrigation, leaving the Middle Deschutes too warm to support healthy fisheries. In the winter, the Upper Deschutes is reduced to a trickle, resulting in annual fish kills.
A new study commissioned by Central Oregon LandWatch finds that when it comes to allocating water from the Upper Deschutes River for irrigation purposes, less is more. Findings indicate that the current system encourages inefficient use of water by senior water rights holders and very efficient use of water by junior water rights holders, resulting in higher crop yields and economic value on farms that have implemented practices to improve water use efficiency.
Going to Court for Tumalo Creek
Tumalo Creek provides a peaceful refuge, outdoor recreation opportunities and crystal-clear cold water to the Middle Deschutes River. Although it is known as one of Central Oregon’s iconic gems, the creek is threatened by an oversized water project that LandWatch has opposed from the start. The City of Bend has built a huge pipe and plans to double the amount of water taken from the Creek, changing its natural flow, affecting fish habitat, and threatening Tumalo Falls’ thundering roar. With ample groundwater sources to provide cold, clean drinking water, this expensive and unnecessary project has already cost taxpayers millions and could forever alter this local treasure.
The opposition to this plan spans political and ideological differences. Seven former mayors, developers, conservationists and residents have all spoken out against it. LandWatch was successful in stopping an even larger planned diversion from the Creek by the City, but Tumalo Creek is still at risk. Our current efforts in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are to stop the city from withdrawing water when flows drop below what scientists say are minimum instream flow needs of the Creek and to force the Forest Service to take climate change into account when it issues permits for water withdrawals.
Banner Photo Courtesy of Kim Elton