Fifth round of grants from joint fund for Deschutes Basin projects
MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs on Friday announced $4.5 million in grants to 13 new fish passage, wildlife habitat and water quality improvement projects across Central Oregon.
Individual grants range in size from $51,000 to $1.25 million. A full list of the grants is attached below.
Over the past 15 years, PGE and CTWS – co-managers of the three-dam Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project near Madras – have distributed $26.5 million through a joint fund earmarked to support a healthy environment for fish and wildlife in the Deschutes Basin.
The 2020 cycle represents the fifth round of grants from this fund, which PGE and the Tribes established in 2005 during federal relicensing of the hydroelectric project. Pelton Round Butte is the largest hydro project located entirely within Oregon and generates enough emissions-free electric power to serve a city the size of Salem.
“The tribe continues to believe that working together is much more effective than trying to accomplish these objectives alone,” says Jim Manion, general manager of Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises. “Together we can achieve great outcomes.”
A team of representatives from PGE, CTWS, and federal, tribal, and state agencies selected projects to fund after reviewing applications submitted in 2019, hearing presentations, and conducting site visits.
The funded projects are dispersed throughout the basin, from Whychus Creek in the south to Log Springs Meadow north of Warm Springs; stretching east from the Ochoco National Forest all the way to Link Creek, west of Black Butte.
As part of the 2005 relicensing, PGE and the Tribes committed with 20 other local, state, and federal agencies and non-profit organizations to restore historic salmon and steelhead runs cut off from the middle and upper Deschutes Basin when the dams were built in the 1950s and 1960s.
Working with the partner organizations, the co-managers reestablished fish passage around the dams in 2010. They’ve since passed more than 1.4 million juvenile salmon and steelhead downstream to migrate to the ocean.
Adult fish have returned to the project every year since the new fish passage system began operating, with spawning confirmed near Bowman Dam on the Crooked River, in Whychus Creek at Camp Polk, and above Camp Sherman on the Metolius River.
The co-managers’ and their partner organizations’ shared, long-term goal is to build sustainable, harvestable runs of spring Chinook and sockeye salmon and summer steelhead in the basin. Their program focuses on using good science to adapt reintroduction strategies over time as the participants learn more about the needs of the fish and the challenges they face returning to their historic habitat after a four-decade absence.
An interactive “roadmap” of reintroduction efforts is available online at www.PRBFishCommittee.com.
“When we started our long-term reintroduction program on the Deschutes, we recognized the importance of investing not just in fish passage, but also in quality fish habitat,” says Megan Hill, the PGE biologist who leads the fisheries and water quality team at Pelton Round Butte. “Through the Pelton Fund, we’ve been able to support the incredible work of our partners throughout the region, and we’re proud to continue this basin-wide collaboration with our 2020 grants.”
More information about the Pelton Fund and an interactive map of past projects can be found at portlandgeneral.com/peltonfund.
PGE and the Tribes have also recently launched a new grant opportunity specifically benefitting Pacific lamprey in the Lower Deschutes River. Like salmon, lamprey are ecologically and culturally significant to river ecosystems and have experienced population decline over the decades. By contributing $1.5 million to restoration and research projects targeting lamprey, PGE and the Tribes hope to learn more about how to serve these unique and often-overlooked creatures. Interested applicants can find more information at portlandgeneral.com/lampreyfund.
See attached for more information about PGE and CTWS 2020 Pelton Fund Grants
About Portland General Electric Company: Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) is a fully integrated energy company based in Portland, Oregon, with operations across the state. The company serves approximately 892,000 customers in 51 cities, has 16 generation plants in five Oregon counties, and maintains and operates 13 public parks and recreation areas. For 130 years, PGE has delivered safe, affordable and reliable energy to Oregonians. Together with its customers, PGE has the No. 1 voluntary renewable energy program in the U.S. PGE and its 3,000 employees are working with customers to build a clean energy future. PGE, employees, retirees and the PGE Foundation donate more than $4 million annually to support nonprofits and schools. In addition, employees and retirees log more than 45,000 volunteer hours annually. For more information visit portlandgeneral.com/cleanvision.
About the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon:The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon, is based in Central Oregon with a membership of over 5,000 Tribal Members from the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes. Learn more at warmsprings-nsn.gov.
Projects selected in the Pelton Fund 2020 funding cycle
Upper Deschutes Watershed Council
- Creekside Park Fish Passage & Habitat Restoration; $51,000
- Plainview Fish Passage & Screening; $214,550
- Whychus Canyon Preserve Habitat Restoration; $945,000
- Willow Springs Preserve Habitat Restoration Project; $405,000
Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Beaver Creek Watershed Restoration; $51,000
- Link Creek Large Wood Project; $67,931
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon
- Log Springs Meadow Restoration; $350,000
- Warm Springs River & Middle Beaver Creek Large Wood Placement
U.S. Forest Service-Deschutes National Forest - Sisters Ranger District
- Metolius River Fish Habitat Project; $55,208
U.S. Forest Service (Ochoco & Deschutes National Forest) and The National Wild Turkey Federation
- Metolius Winter Range Restoration; $250,000
Deschutes Land Trust
- Priday Ranch Steelhead Conservation Project; $1,250,000
- Rimrock Ranch Fee Purchase; $168,000
The Forest Service - Ochoco National Forest
- Upper Trout Creek Rehabilitation Package; $125,000
Highlighted Projects & Quotes
- The Priday Ranch Steelhead Conservation Project is an effort by the Deschutes Land Trust to protect 5,820 acres of grassland and sagebrush habitat in the Trout Creek subbasin, where redband trout and threatened summer steelhead spawn and rear. By purchasing the ranch property and dedicating water rights to in-stream flow, the Land Trust hopes to improve habitat connectivity, water quality and surface flow.
- The Link Creek Large Wood Project is a restoration effort from Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Forest Service. Trees and logs will be placed in this historic sockeye habitat, providing refuge for Chinook, sockeye, kokanee, bull trout and whitefish. Much of the restoration project will take place on property belonging to Caldera, an arts camp for underserved youth, which will use the site as an educational tool.
“Caldera is grateful for this partnership, which will support our mission to provide year-round arts and environmental programming for youth from Central Oregon and the Portland metro area,” says Maesie Speer, Arts Center Programs Director for Caldera. “Our students build strong connections to this land over their years in our program. They see spawning fish every fall, and through this project we will continue to build their awareness of the important connection between returning fish and the habitat they need to survive.”
- The Metolius Winter Range Restoration is a collaborative project from the U.S. Forest Service (Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests) and the Wild Turkey Federation to improve habitat for mammals and birds that rely on this protected grassland area.
“The Metolius Winter Range Restoration Project not only benefits terrestrial and aquatic habitats, but connects landscapes by holistically blending restoration objectives across the Crooked River National Grassland, Deschutes National Forest, and Portland General Electric Properties.” – Monty Gregg, Forest Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Forest Service.