Conservation Corner – Foundation Grantee for 2019

Flyfisher Foundation Announces This Year’s Recipient of the Keith Hansen Memorial Paddle Raise

After careful consideration of several excellent conservation grant applications this year, your Flyfisher Foundation has chosen to award WaterWatch’s proposal to improve streamflow on the Crooked River in Central Oregon. WaterWatch states in their proposal that “The Crooked offers one of the best river restoration opportunities in Oregon, with the potential for excellent redband and anadromous fish habitat – if streamflows can be restored.”1 The reason for this optimism lies, in large part, on the fact that protection and allocation of the river’s water for fish is already federal law under the Crooked River Collaborative Water Security and Jobs Act of 2014.2 . By keeping the designated “fish water” instream, water quality will improve for both resident and anadromous fish. Moreover, WaterWatch suggests that improving instream flow will “reduce water temperatures and dilute other forms of pollution” in this stretch of the river. WaterWatch has a long history working in the Deschutes Basin to improve water management for the benefit of fish and wildlife. They plan to hold federal and state agencies accountable to follow this 2014 law.

The Proposal

Their proposal will employ two strategies to achieve their goals to help the Crooked and its fish. First, they will work with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and other conservation groups to pressure the Bureau of Reclamation to follow the Act as stated, including water management “for the maximum biological benefit of fish.” This means that the Bureau must see to it that this water for fish is not siphoned off by irrigators from the lower reach of the river from Bowman Dam to Lake Billy Chinook. According to WaterWatch, the Bureau has been slow to work with the State of Oregon to implement the requirements of the Act.

The second arm of WaterWatch’s strategy will focus on water upstream of Bowman Dam. There are several proposals for water withdrawal/storage above Bowman Dam that are before the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD). WaterWatch wants to make sure OWRD follows the law and protects upstream flow so that designated fish water can fill Prineville Reservoir, thereby maintaining adequate flows downstream.

Auction Paddle Raise

Your Foundation Board will encourage you to learn more about the 2019 WaterWatch proposal and plan to support it on Tuesday May 7th at the Annual FFF/FCO Auction. Remember, it’s the FIRST Tuesday in May – Mark your Calendars!

Lisa Hansen

  1. WaterWatch of Oregon Application to the Flyfisher Foundation and the Flyfishers’ Club of Oregon Conservation Grant, January 2019.
  2. Crooked River Collaborative Water Security and Jobs Act of 2014, Public Law 113-244, December 18, 2014.