Friday, June 3, 2011

HR 2060 Terrible for Deschutes Steelhead

A bill before the US Congress seeks amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to lay out guidelines for the allocation of water in the Crooked River. The bill is little more than a water grab by local irrigation districts. HR 2060 would establish "first fill" guidelines for water resources in central Oregon's Prineville Reservoir meaning that in dry years irrigators would be given a normal allocation of water from while flows in the Crooked River below the dam would be reduced, taking water from fragile populations of steelhead and chinook. Perhaps more disconcerting are the minimum flow guidelines which the bill would establish for the Crooked, guaranteeing only 17 cfs of flow for fish compared to the 120-200 cfs which are needed for healthy populations of steelhead and chinook. Contact your senator or congressman today and tell them that this bill cannot be adopted without significant improvements in the minimum instream flow guidelines and protections for downstream fish in the case of a drought.

Wyden's local contact:
Wayne Kinney
The Jamison Building
131 NW Hawthorne Ave
Suite 107
Bend, OR 97701
(541) 330-9142

Wyden's Portland contact:
Mary Gautreaux

Wyden's DC contact:
Michele Miranda

Merkley's local contact:
Susanna Julber
Central Oregon Field Representative
Office of U. S. Senator Jeff Merkley
131 NW Hawthorne Ave., Suite 208
Bend, Oregon 97701
541-318-1298 office
541-653-6288 cell

Merkley's DC contact:
Jeremiah Baumann:

If you don't live in Oregon you can find contact information for your congressional representative:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HR 2060 doesn't really change current conditions in the Crooked River - irrigators already have the only rights to most of the water in Prineville Reservoir. They have de facto first fill water rights because no one else has water rights at all. Also, existing agreements require only 10 cfs in the Crooked River. This bill won't really change flows coming out of Prineville Reservoir in the short term.

From a fish standpoint, HR 2060 doesn't do that much yet. Its biggest flaw (besides not providing much water for fish) is that allocating first fill rights to irrigators might change future flows for fish. If fish get an allocation from Prineville Reservoir in the future, HR 2060 will reduce the amount of water available for fish in dry years.