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Stakeholders celebrate ‘Shared Vision for the Deschutes’


Stakeholders in the Deschutes River, many of whom have been at odds in the past, came together Tuesday to celebrate their efforts to create a shared vision for the river’s future.

The idea is to get everyone who depends on the river for one reason or another to come together and support a shared vision for the Deschutes.

The main purpose behind the shared vision for the Deschutes is to create a healthy river, sustainable farms, and contribute to the communities that the river benefits, in terms of the economy and recreation.

Gail Snyder is the executive director of the Coalition for the Deschutes and has been instrumental in bringing together the 27 “shared vision” partners who gathered Tuesday evening.

Snyder called it a fantastic first step in making sure that the river is sustainable for everyone.

“As a river advocate, I want to see the river problems solved as soon as possible, but we solve the problems of the river by solving the problems that face irrigation districts,” Snyder said. “So it’s with our irrigation district partners that we really need to work, support them in the work that they are doing.”

Snyder said now that everyone is on the same page, she feels the real work can begin to solve those key issues the river faces.

One key is balancing the river and wildlife health with that of the needs of farmers and irrigation districts.

Craig Horrell, general manager of the Central Oregon Irrigation District, said he wants to make sure all irrigation districts are getting the water they need, while still sustaining the river.

“Our goal is to help our junior water right holder and those farmers at North Unit Irrigation, to shore up their supply of water in the summer, and at the same time put more water in the river,” Horrell said.

“COID is a big large district that has lots of opportunity to do projects that generate water back into the river, so we’re excited to do that.”

Horrell said four years ago, this never would have happened, where all those interested in the river were at the same table, discussing the future.

Horrell said he’s excited to get to work, and create a sustainable future for the Deschutes.

If you would like to read more about the “Shared Vision for the Deschutes,” click here.

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