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The Water Issue 

Conservation, agriculture, recreation and restoration

This week’s Water Issue brings together many local voices with diverse perspectives on the Deschutes River. Read about the effect of this year’s drought on farmers in Jefferson County in Laurel Brauns’ story “No Farms Without Water.” We also spotlight a number of local environmental organizations working to restore river flows to support fish and wildlife including Central Oregon LandWatch, the Deschutes River Conservancy and the Raise the Deschutes campaign. Cayla Clark’s story on women in fly fishing highlights recreation, while Kyle Switzer showcases a new trend in farming and water conservation: going vertical! 

LORI LABISSONIERE O'NEIL
  • Lori LaBissoniere O'Neil

As our staff interviewed a wide variety of sources for this issue, one thing we heard over and over was that everyone who values the river wants the same thing. While this may sound good in theory, in reality these groups have spent years working out their differences. They continue to collaborate and compromise to come up with the best solutions to keep water in the river, crops in the ground and tourists in tubes. While all these issues are still up for debate, most can agree, in the words of Jefferson county farmer Phil Fine “None of us would be here without the river.”

Read the stories to get a feeling of water issues around Central Oregon:

No Farms Without Water - Farmers in Jefferson County face a second summer of severe drought and less access to water from the Deschutes - By Laurel Brauns

The Virus and Bend’s Sewage - With COVID-19 able to live on in sewage, does Bend’s untreated wastewater pose a risk? - By Nicole Vulcan

Restoring the River: A Talk With ShanRae Hawkins of the Raise the Deschutes Campaign - A look into the campaign that's promoting water conservation and flow restoration in the Deschutes basin - By Miina McCown

Super Fly - Central Oregon fly fisher-women - Central Oregon fly fisher-women dominate the water while encouraging camaraderie and environmental awareness - By Cayla Clark

A Community Vision for Restored Rivers - By Marisa Chappell Hossick, Communications Director, Deschutes River Conservancy

Grownology: The Garden that Grows Up - The creator of a local vertical farming company talks about conserving water while growing fresh food for the needy -By Kyle Switzer

Environmental Watchdog: Ben Gordon of Central Oregon LandWatch - Following the retirement of Paul Dewey, Gordon leads the organization’s efforts to enforce Oregon’s land use law and protect local rivers, farmlands and forests - By Laurel Brauns

Beavers, Our Eager Aquifer Engineers - Like it or not, everyone who uses water is unknowingly depending on the dam-building talents of our North American Beaver - By Jim Anderson

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