He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand. - Elbert Hubbard ca. 1915
While the solution to prevent the thousands of dead trout on the Upper Deschutes we have seen may be, "Put more water in the river", the issue is far more complex than most of us realize and therefore will need a more creative solution to resolve it.
As point of fact, there are quite a few organizations involved who are actively working on the "simple" solution even as we speak. The Deschutes River Conservancy published a white paper in September of 2012 called "Upper Deschutes River Background Paper" that outlines a variety of items which address the flow issues which have annually (to varying degrees of severity) resulted in fish being stranded and dying in side channels of the stretch of river between Wickiup Reservoir and Bend. I think this paper has some interesting observations and potential solutions in it. To which I would like to point out the following information from it without getting in to all of the details contained inside:
This article was originally an email sent to me by Water Watch of Oregon. Please read this thoroughly and consider taking some of the steps outlined in its content to help us move forward on getting better flows on the Upper Deschutes River:
Last week extremely low flows in the Upper Deschutes River resulted in a major fish kill, with over 3,000 fish confirmed dead, including native redsides and brown trout. Links to news stories about the fish kill can be found below.
Unfortunately, the dewatering of the Upper Deschutes is not unique in Oregon. Draining a river dry can be perfectly legal under Oregon water law. WaterWatch needs your help to secure the reforms necessary to prevent results like this fish kill. While there is nothing we can do to bring back these fish, here are actions you can take that will ultimately be helpful:
1. Write a letter to a local newspaper, particularly the Bend Bulletin, asking for better management of Oregon’s waters. If writing the Bend Bulletin, share a story about your use of the Upper Deschutes and why it’s an important river to you. The Bulletin's address and other suggestions are below.
2. Write a letter or e-mail to your Oregon legislators and tell them this isn’t acceptable and that you want change. To do this, go to https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/ and click on the "Find your Legislator" link.
3. Drop a note to the Oregon Water Resources Department (541.306.6885) to let them know that while you understand what happened with the water on the Upper Deschutes may be legal, what happened to the fish isn’t right. Let them know you care and you will be watching their actions in the future.
4. Share the links below with your social media circles to increase awareness and build a demand for change.
5. Distribute this e-mail to your friends and family and ask them to sign up for WaterWatch’s River Action alerts. We need to raise our voices together if we want healthy rivers in Oregon. Click here to sign up for River Action Alerts.
WaterWatch of Oregon