Coalition for the Deschutes Guide

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Vanishing Glaciers in the Deschutes Basin

VOICES FOR THE RIVER WHISKEY IS FOR DRINKIN’ by Holly Mondo, Board Member, Coalition for the Deschutes In water world, we hear the adage, “whiskey’s for drinkin’; water’s for fightin’ over” far too often. It’s still true that whiskey is for drinking, but it is time to change the saying to “…water is for discussing for hours with people from varying walks of life who can come to the table to solve problems.”

From fish to farms, from flora to fire hazard, glaciers are crucial to our well-being. Oregon’s glaciers are the natural water reservoirs of the high Cascade water towers. Glacier meltwater sustains rivers during the late summer and fall for flora, fauna and irrigation. The glacier melt chills streams for salmon and trout, with the attendant effect of cooling surrounding forests that reduces fire risk and intensity. In short, glaciers are an integral part of Central Oregon ecosystems and economies. And yet, we do not know how many glaciers remain today in the basin, let alone how many existed a century ago. The Oregon Glacier Institute is undertaking the first census of glaciers in Oregon since the 1950s. They are examining how glacier changes are related to regional climate change, to determine what the future holds for the remaining glaciers in the Deschutes Basin.

As the Deschutes River meanders through Central Oregon, you’ll find countless people enjoying the benefits of its waters. What calls them to the River? Perhaps it’s beauty, tranquility or cultural significance; perhaps it’s recreation or agriculture; maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever the calling, the value of water is not easily calculated or defined—it is complex and delicate. Listening to and sharing perceptions with a diverse set of folks will help us understand the complexities. There is power in understanding what motivates people to come to the table. The greater the diversity of voices, the greater the chance of solving our water issues. “Whiskey will always be for drinkin’, but water is now for collaborating over.”

WE ARE ALL STEWARDS OF THE RIVER by Zavier Borja, Program Coordinator, Latino Outdoors Through learning and appreciation, I connect to the river. Appreciating and utilizing the river for recreational purposes has been for my personal enjoyment. In the same vein, I have seen how the river has been almost exploited for its recreational opportunities. Over time, I have seen how much the river is used. Collaboration is vital to the health of the river and our communities.

Got Carrots?

If you like to eat, then thank a farmer. From the family unit to the global commons, we are connected by food and farmers. Jefferson County grows 55% of America’s hybrid carrot seed. That seed goes into packets for backyard gardens; it goes into the fields that supply farmers markets and supermarkets. Our urban and rural lives are intertwined. Who are Central Oregon farmers? They are parents and grandparents. They fish and recreate on rivers. They are stewards of the land. They are our neighbors. 2


At Latino Outdoors, we embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented. Our vision is to have a world where all Latino communities enjoy nature as a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place. I am reminded that we are here temporarily, yet the river endures. I encourage folks to enjoy the river to its fullest, and also learn ways to give back to the river.

VOICES FOR THE RIVER BALANCED! by Courtney Braun, Naturalist Guide, Wanderlust Tours Balance is so important in our daily lives as humans and also for the Deschutes River. We need to continue looking out for the users, to make sure that they can recreate and enjoy this incredible resource in our community. We need to make sure that “users” include everyone that uses the river- from tourists, to residents of Central Oregon, to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. We need to make sure that we are irrigating responsibly so that our awesome farmers and ranchers can continue what they do. But most of all, we need to make sure that the river is getting what it needs. If the river is getting all that it needs, then the fish, the flies, the frogs, the beaver, the deer, the willow, the aspen, the alder and all of the things that rely on this incredible resource will get what they need. My connection to the river continues as I explore Central Oregon further. Whether skiing the mountains or running the river from Warm Springs to the Columbia—taking notice of the correlation between a good snow year, and the happy-looking river as that snow starts to feed the Deschutes, or years in which the riparian habitat thrives—my connection continues to grow.

THE RIVER IS LIFE by Lisa Windom, Board Member, Coalition for the Deschutes “The River brings life to my purpose and purpose to my life.”

By day, I am challenged to help manage the Deschutes River to sustain local agriculture, fish and wildlife, and communities. There are hard days beyond description, tears shed in sorrow over failures… failures to save fish impacted by fluctuations in the river flow or failures to save the multi-generation farms starved of water. But even through the hardship, the river brings us together, as families, farmers, business owners, recreationalists, and conservationists. We are all connected to this river; I am humbled by the river’s draw to surmount our differences.

PLOTTING FOR POLLINATORS Everyone needs pollinators! Bees and other pollinators are essential to many crops and other plants. Pollinators help plants live and reproduce by transferring pollen between the flowering plants. Because of pollinators we have everything from beautiful flowers to many of the foods we eat, including nuts, fruits and many vegetables. In fact, they are responsible for approximately one third of everything we eat! But there’s a problem. Due to many factors, including loss of habitat, disease, and use of pesticides, pollinators (especially bees) are in decline around the world. Through our Plotting for Pollinators (P4P) program, Coalition for the Deschutes is committed to helping keep bees and other pollinators healthy. Last year, we planted 11.5 acres of native wildflowers on farms to help the bees, and this year we will be planting another 12 acres. In addition, we are working with Central Oregon Irrigation District to plant pollinator flowers atop piped canals in and around Bend.

P4P is a program withShared Vision partners: Coalition for the Deschutes North Unit Irrigation District Central Oregon Irrigation District C. O. Agriculture Research &Extension Center

Middle Deschutes Watershed Council

To learn more and help a buzzillion bees, go to :

Collaboration is invaluable to the health of the river, our communities, and our future. Without collaboration, we all lose. I have moments when I am angry, jealous, or saddened by the management of this river; I’m not alone in these sentiments. But letting these emotions divide and alienate will only isolate and silence my voice. We are blessed with water leaders dedicated to the collaborative mission. This work carries weight beyond comprehension. Please thank those who carry the weight of this watershed on their shoulders. They sacrifice more than could be imagined.

“Every river deserves a smart, engaged, committed organization that's dedicated to working together with others for the health of the stream and everything it touches. All who care about this great Oregon waterway have that in the Coalition for the Deschutes.” — Tim Palmer, Author/Photographer, River Advocate COLLATION FOR DESCHUTES COALITION FORTHE THE DESCHUTES




by becoming a member

A healthy, restored Deschutes River Thriving farms and sustainable agriculture


to push our mission

Robust and vibrant communities


Make a powerful, personal commitment to the river you love As a member of The Coalition for the Deschutes, you’ll be part of an exclusive circle of community leaders who have made an exceptional personal commitment to restore our river for generations to come.

JOIN US: You will be investing in the health of our river from your own backyard and across the Deschutes River Basin.

With the river, our community, and collaboration at heart, together with Deschutes River Conservancy, Deschutes Redbands Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and irrigation districts of Central Oregon, we created the Shared Vision for the Deschutes.

SHARED VISION PARTNER QUOTES “What I truly appreciate about the Coalition and what makes it different is the tireless effort to get people together who would normally not be allied.” ~Phil Fine, Central Oregon family farmer

“We’re about conserving, protecting and restoring the cold water fisheries of the Deschutes Basin. We love native and wild fish, and the places they call home. We look forward to partnering with all who share this vision.” ~Shaun Pigott, Deschutes Redbands Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Chair

“The irrigation districts are proud to be a Shared Vision partner. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with organizations, businesses, and individuals to work together and find ways to conserve water and restore the Deschutes River.” ~Craig Horrell, Deschutes Basin Board of Control, Chair 4


WE BELIEVE: • T he Deschutes River is integral to our Central Oregon communities, culture, and economy. •W e all benefit from a healthy river and sustainable agriculture. • T here’s enough water to meet all needs if it is managed wisely and shared equitably. •W e can restore the Deschutes River to a healthy condition. •W orking together as partners is the key to our success.

Today, we have 45 Shared Vision partner organizations and businesses. BECOME A SHARED VISION PARTNER shared-vision-for-the-deschutes/