Posted on February 24 2014
Social Media Helps
We received some disturbing pictures from a friend of Patagonia living in Bend, Oregon of a massive fish kill due to improperly regulated water flows on the Deschutes River. We, as well as some others, helped spread the word that the ODFW needed to take a closer look at this issue and initiate discussions with corresponding agencies like ORWD. The results:
I wanted to circle back around with all of you, because you were part of the original e-mails about the fish kill on the Deschutes this past October. Your efforts to spread the word helped to elevate this issue greatly.
Through this event I was able to become connected with many others in Bend who are also passionate about impacting some change so that this does not again happen in the future. I’ve met some truly amazing people and am confident that even if nothing were done to change the flow rates, there would not again be the same kind of killing that happened last year. Collectively, we have raised the community in support of coming to the river with buckets en masse whenever it might be needed again. But more importantly, irrigation districts have sat down together at the table with conservation groups and water management officials to talk about solutions and ways to mitigate the need for such low flows in our river.
The attached, is a Forest Service study that was just released. (I’m so excited that they actually did this study!) We are beginning to gain a better understanding of the flow rates needed in order to sustain the side channel so that fish don’t get stranded or die. From here we are working backwards to find out if there might be ways to work with ORWD to target flow rates that will better sustain this channel, and life in the river in general. ORWD sent us a note last week indicating that they were going to begin to release water from Wickiup Reservoir as a result of the recent heavy snows and melts, they indicated that they would release in 50cfs increments if needed, in order for us to better understand how/when the side channel fills. Communication channels between everyone involved in the river are more open now, and for that alone I am so thankful!
The week before the fish kill I had been talking with a friend who was telling me just how “f'd” our planet is and that she couldn’t understand how I had such a positive attitude about it, she laughed when I told her, “don’t give up, even one person can make a difference.” A week after the fish kill we had a huge laugh when she told me that I had clearly proved my point. I wanted to thank you all, for helping so much to spread the word and elevate the issue. I don’t want to hear, “this happens every year, ” ever again.
Sending the very best, filled with love for great river and all of its creatures.
photo and words by Kim Brannock