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Coalition for the Deschutes announces ‘shared vision’


The Coalition for the Deschutes, a non-profit river-advocacy group based in Bend, and the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, comprising the eight irrigation districts of Central Oregon, announced Tuesday they have jointly developed and signed a memorandum entitled: ” A Shared Vision for the Deschutes: Working Together so Families, Farms, and Fish can Thrive.”

To date, other organizations endorsing the “Shared Vision for the Deschutes” memorandum include the Deschutes River Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, the Deschutes Redbands, Sunriver Anglers, the Oregon Environmental Council and the Wild River Owners Association.

This diverse set of stakeholders commit to working together as partners and embrace the goals of having:

· A healthy, restored Deschutes River

· Thriving farms and sustainable agriculture

· Robust and vibrant communities

The strategic agreement aligns the shared interests of the parties to maintain irrigated agriculture in Central Oregon and restore the Upper Deschutes River to a healthy ecological condition.

“The Deschutes River is essential to all facets of our culture and economy. Farmers, recreationists, hunters and anglers, businesses, fish and wildlife, and the Central Oregon community all benefit from a healthy river and sustainable agriculture. The Shared Vision grew out of our work together, and recognizes that the fastest way to restore flows to the Upper Deschutes River is for us to work together,” said Gail Snyder, executive director of the Coalition for the Deschutes.

“Irrigation districts have been doing conservation projects for many years and we are committed to helping improve conditions for the Upper Deschutes,” said Mike Britton, DBBC chair and general manager of North Unit Irrigation District. “The districts are working toward modern, efficient irrigation systems that divert less water from streams and rivers and deliver more reliable water to farms.”

Bobby Brunoe, Deschutes River Conservancy board chair, said the DRC board passed a resolution last year outlining how the Central Oregon Irrigation District and North Unit Irrigation District will partner for the benefit of irrigated agriculture and the Deschutes River.

He said, “We are encouraged by innovative problem-solving being undertaken by COID and NUID. As conservation occurs, water will be made available to NUID and they agree to protect an equal amount in-stream below Wickiup Reservoir.”

Shaun Pigott, president of the Deschutes Redbands Chapter of Trout Unlimited, said; “The Shared Vision memo reflects the reality that there is enough water to meet the needs of fish, farms, and families if it is managed wisely and shared equitably.”

Craig Horrell, general manager of Central Oregon Irrigation District, said, “This is an exciting time in the Deschutes Basin, and we look forward to more organizations, businesses, and individuals being part of this initiative to conserve water and restore the Deschutes River.”

“Collaborative solutions to regional problems are most effective when local leaders work together,” said Karen Lewotsky, Rural Partnerships Director with the Oregon Environmental Council. “We are proud to support these shared goals and interests in providing clean and plentiful water to all those in Central Oregon, today and for the future.”

Businesses, nonprofits and individuals are invited to co-sign the Shared Vision for the Deschutes memo. For information, send an email to

About Coalition for the Deschutes: Coalition for the Deschutes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration and protection of the Deschutes River and its watershed through education and advocacy so that fish and wildlife can thrive and future generations can enjoy and benefit from a healthy river and watershed . Learn more at

About the DBBC: The Deschutes Basin Board of Control includes eight irrigation districts in Oregon’s Deschutes Basin. The districts supply water throughout the Deschutes Basin to 8,700 patrons across 155,662 acres. The districts work in partnership with conservation groups and local, state and federal agencies to increase in-stream flows in rivers and creeks, while improving fisheries passage and ecologically important habitat. Since 2000, the districts have increased in-stream flows by nearly 80,000 acre-feet in the Deschutes River, Little Deschutes River, Ochoco Creek, Whychus Creek, Tumalo Creek and Crescent Creek, benefiting salmon, steelhead, bull trout, Oregon spotted frog and other species. For more information on the irrigation districts and their conservation efforts, visit

About the Deschutes River Conservancy : Twenty-two years ago, the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC) formed with a mission to restore streamflow and improve water quality in the Deschutes River Basin. The DRC specializes in programs and projects that employ voluntary, market-based incentives to restore flows. The DRC is non-litigious and serves as leaders and facilitators of basin-wide water management conversations. Learn more at:

About Trout Unlimited Deschutes Redbands: Our mission is to conserve, protect, and restore the cold-water fisheries within the Deschutes River watershed by engaging our communities in education, stewardship, collaboration, and advocacy. Learn more at:

About Oregon Environmental Council: Oregon Environmental Council brings Oregonians together to protect our water, air and land with healthy solutions that work for today and for future generations. Founded in 1968 by concerned Oregonians from across the state, we are a membership-based, nonpartisan nonprofit. Visit:

About Sunriver Anglers: Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and understanding of the sport of fishing through instruction, events, and service; To encourage, advocate, and support conservation and protection of watersheds, fish habitat, and wild fish populations; To provide education opportunities to learn about fish, fish habitat, and the environment in which they live; To learn basic fishing skills, principles of stewardship, ethical conduct, and safety around the water. Visit:

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