Monday, October 28, 2013

Deschutes Die-off - Oregon TU responds

John Hendricks/KTVZ.COM

Oregon TU and the Deschutes Chapter have reacted to a recent fish die-off on the Deschutes River just south of Bend [ODFW News Release] according to Tom Wolf.
TU has been active in working on this issue on both the state and local levels:
  • Sent in Op-ed to Oregonian and Bend Bulletin
  • Contacted and met Water Resources Department Director Phil Ward to share TU's concerns and talk about long term solution to this problem.
  • Contacted ODFW Director Roy Elicker, Fishery Director Ed Bowles and Assistant Fishery Director Bruce McIntosh to talk about how ODFW can avoid this in future and to forward our concerns to local ODFW staff.
  • Sent letter with our concerns to ODFW commission and the Water Resources Committee [WRC] Board expressing TU's concerns about this issue.
  • Contacted and sent letter Governor's office and met with Governor's Natural Resources Policy adviser Brett Brownscombe to get Governor Kitzhaber to put pressure on agencies to do something about this issue and look for quicker solutions.
  • Contacted other groups concerned about this issue - Oregon Conservation Network, Waterwatch, Native Fish Society trying to form a united front on this issue.
  • Contacted various state legislators to express concern on this issue and ask for their support and possible action.
Most importantly on the local level, the Deschutes chapter - lead by Gabe Parr and Mike Trip - are working with local agency representatives to help save fish now and prevent this from happening in the future. Gabe has sent out information on Facebook and other communication levels and is leading efforts to bring all the groups involved in this issue together. Mike Trip is sitting on a task force working on an update on Upper Deschutes Management plan that will help make sure this doesn't happen in the future.

We hope through these efforts to make a difference so that this never happens again. Feel free to contact your Oregon governmental representatives and share your thoughts with them. There is a lot at stake for fish, wildlife, ranchers and local residents so understand the breadth of this waterways reach.