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Button Links for Reclamation's Basin Study Program, The Basin Study Work Group and the Meetings Notes Reclamation's Basin Study Program Basin Study Workgroup Meeting Notes

How it all started
More than 100 years ago, federal and state policies encouraged the settlement of Central Oregon’s high desert by facilitating access to land and irrigation water. This water helped support the diverse agriculture that has been so important in the region. However, unintended consequences of this water development left many rivers and streams with low or altered flows.

As the region grew, the Deschutes Basin experienced increased demand for water for people, cities, farmers, and fish and wild life. For the last two decades, irrigation districts, agencies, and conservation groups have worked together to address these issues.

A collaborative process
In 2014, a diverse group of 40 stakeholders -- the Basin Study Work Group – got together to work on the Upper Deschutes Basin Study. The $1.5 million Study is funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and the State of Oregon. The group has successfully co-managed the Study throughout its three-year duration -- a demonstration of the commitment to collaboration in the Deschutes Basin.

What have we learned?
The Study looked at a wide variety of water supply tools - all of which have opportunities and barriers. While the Study does not recommend any particular plan or project, it provides a wealth of information to help inform future water management in the Basin.

Water conservation methods such as piping district canals and upgrading on-farm infrastructure can increase irrigation efficiency and help restore flows in the Deschutes. Market-based approaches and potential storage concepts can also contribute to water management goals in the basin. In the Upper Deschutes River, lower summer flows and higher winter flows tend to benefit riparian vegetation, redband trout, and Oregon spotted frog. The Upper Deschutes Basin Study is anticipated to be completed in late 2018. A strategic approach to combining water supply tools could benefit any future implementation.

Please send questions, comments, and suggestions to bor-pnr-udbasinstudy@usbr.gov.

Upper Deschutes Basin Study Documents
10/2019 Upper Deschutes River Basin Study, Water for Agriculture, Rivers, Cities PDF 6.40 mb
10/2017 Oregon Spotted Frog and Deschutes Redband Trout Habitat Modeling and Riparian Analysis at Two Sites on the Upper Deschutes River PDF 28.26 mb
07/2017 Crooked River - Diversion Gaging Memo Technical Memorandum PDF 862 kb
01/2017 Task 6 - Groundwater Mitigation under the Deschutes Basin Groundwater Mitigation Program; A Summary of Projected Supply and Demand PDF 5.30 mb
12/2016 Upper Crooked River Basin - SNOTEL Memo PDF 698 kb
10/2016 Task 2, Part 2 - Water Right, Legal & Policy Opportunities and Impediments for Stored Water, Forebearance, Instream Flow Protection and Mitigation PDF 399 kb
06/2016 Task 5 - Water Right Opportunities and Impediments for New or Expanded Reservoir Storage PDF 4.04 mb
07/2016 Basin Study Program Semi-Annual Basin Study Status Report PDF 514 kb
02/2016 Basin Study Program Semi-Annual Basin Study Status Report PDF 172 kb
10/2015 Upper Deschutes River Basin Study Project Management Plan PDF 313 kb
07/2015 Basin Study Program Semi-Annual Basin Study Status Report PDF 33 kb
04/2015 Memorandum of Agreement / Plan of Study PDF 1.60 mb
01/2015 Basin Study Program Semi-Annual Basin Study Status Report PDF 140 kb
12/2014 Upper Deschutes River Basin Study Factsheet PDF 140 kb
Related Documents
11/2008 Assessing the Impact of Mitigation on Stream Flow in the Deschutes Basin HTML
USGS Groundwater Reports
Deschutes Basin Board of Control
Basin Study Workgroup - Meeting Calendar and Members
Related Links
Reclamation's Basin Study Program
Deschutes River Conservancy
Flow and Storage Data from Reclamation
Near Real Time Hydrographics Data from OWRD
Historical Streamflow and Lake Level Data from OWRD


Jessica Peters
CPN Region Basin Studies Coordinator

Bureau of Reclamation
Columbia–Pacific Northwest Region
1150 N. Curtis Road
Boise, Idaho 83706

Last Updated: 10/16/23