Several agencies and irrigation districts are coming together to further a plan for the future of the Deschutes Basin.
It’s something that has been in the works for years, and the over 800-page plan hopes to allow for a sustainable future when it comes to water.
The Deschutes Basin Board of Control, along with the city of Prineville, are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve water and animal habitats while maintaining irrigation.
The Deschutes Basin Board of Control has submitted a Habitat Conservation Plan to preserve species while maintaining storage, release, diversion and return of irrigation water.
Tuesday night’s public meeting, the first of two, was aimed at gathering public input on the plan.
Bridget Moran with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the goal is to get the river back to its more natural flow.
“Currently 40% to 60% of the water that leaves the Deschutes River to go to irrigation on farms never reaches the farms,” Moran said. “So the idea is that they could modernize those systems, put that conserved water back into the stream. And then we would have the water that we need for the species, as well as long-term certainty for the water users.”
The plan will ultimately create a sustainability plan for the river basin for the next 30 years.
There will be another public meeting Wednesday night in Prineville at the Crook County Fairgrounds.
If you would like more information on that meeting and the conservation plan, click here.