Human Drugs Are Polluting the Water—And Animals Are Swimming in It

That’s the title of a short article in The Atlantic magazine.  It’s a short read.  Among other things, chemicals are disrupting salmon migrations.  Of course, this impacts humans as well.  Here’s an excerpt:

Waterways can contain traces of many drugs—among them antifungals, antimicrobials, and antibacterials, as well as ones for pain, fertility, mood, sleeplessness, and neurodegenerative diseases. If current trends persist, scientists estimate, the volume of pharmaceuticals diffusing into fresh water could increase by two-thirds by 2050.

Tumalo Irrigation Piping

I recently went on one of my favorite cross county mountain bike rides and dropped down to see how the Tumalo Irrigation District Feed Canal piping is progressing.  Here is a photo of a section that has been finished.  The old canal is now lined with a pipe buried under all that dirt.

20190512_095810

Read More »

‘Tis the Season to Waste Water

That is the title of a guest column that appeared today in the Bend Bulletin. It was written by Tod Heisler who lead the Deschutes River Conservancy for 15 years where he attempted to cooperatively work with irrigators to more efficiently use water and return savings to local rivers and streams. While Tod and the DRC had some minor success in this endeavor it has not yielded the needed results. The upper and middle Deschutes continue to be significantly damaged by irrigation practices that have largely remained the same for a hundred years. Tod has now joined Central Oregon Land Watch in a new attempt to initiate change from outside the system. I agree with the viewpoint in this column and welcome him to the community agitating for water reform in the Deschutes Basin.Read More »

Davis Lake Bass Electrofishing

I just heard from Brett Hodgson, ODFW district fish biologist, that they were able to capture about 600 bass in Davis Lake this week. Bass are invasive at Davis so an attempt is made annually to capture and move them to other locations. This year’s bass were mostly moved to Prineville Reservoir but also to Bend’s Pine Nursery, Prineville’s Youth Pond, and Redmond’s Fireman’s Pond.

Bend Bulletin Story on Snow

Immediately after making my River & Drought Outlook post on Monday I contacted the Bend Bulletin and told them that “there has to be a story in there for you”. Today they did publish a story about the rapidly diminishing snowpack but, not surprisingly, completely omitted any mention of impacts on fish & wildlife or water recreation. The story was all about what it means for local business, irrigation districts, and fires. It’s no wonder that the paper is bankrupt (again), they just don’t seem to understand the mindset of the rapidly changing local population. We have have a lifestyle economy, people want to recreate outdoors, and healthy rivers and lakes are a key element of that.

Another Poor Steelhead Year?

Yesterday ODFW released their projections for 2019 summer salmon and steelhead returns for the Columbia River basin.  The outlook is for another bleak year.  “Due to the low projected returns for upriver summer steelhead, additional protective regulations are needed this fall including a one steelhead daily bag limit and area-specific steelhead retention closures. The rolling 1-2 month closures start in August and progress upriver following the steelhead return to reduce take of both hatchery and wild fish. These closures affect the mainstem Columbia and the lower reaches of specific tributaries.”  This includes the Deschutes below Moody where only one hatchery steelhead may be kept all year (June 16 – December 31) but none from August 1 to September 31.

River and Drought Outlook

20190512_132243Headwaters of the Deschutes at Little Lava Lake on 5/12/19.  A dry river.

Without a doubt, current water conditions are dramatically improved from the beginning of the year.  All is not well, however, and work to conserve water and improve river flows should remain at the forefront of every angler’s agenda if we hope to continue to enjoy our sport at a high level.  As of yesterday, Little Lava Lake is very low, is not spilling into the upper Deschutes, and there is essentially no snow to be seen in that area.Read More »