News & Events
September 2, 2015 update
Click on the link below to read the latest story on the Oregon spotted frog in the Family Farm Alliance newsletter (Page7).
Click here Bulletin_Article_08-27-2015.docx to read an article from the Bend Bulletin on August 27, 2015 regarding the Oregon spotted frog.
Click here Capital_Press_Article_08-26-2015.docx to read an article regarding legal action threatened over spotted frog habitat from August 26, 2015.August 26, 2015 update
Click here OSF_update_Aug._262015.pdf for an update from the DBBC (Deschutes Basin Board of Control) regarding the Oregon Spotted FrogAugust 24, 2015 update
The following article was from the Madras Pioneer. The North Unit Irrigation District in Madras calls a town hall meeting on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm at the Madras Performing Arts Center.
NUID calls town hall over threatened lawsuit
WaterWatch, other groups file intent to sue
A lawsuit against North Unit Irrigation District and three other groups is being threatened by WaterWatch of Oregon, a nonprofit river conservation group, over alleged harm caused by water operations in the Upper Deschutes River.
WaterWatch sent a 60-day notice on Aug. 13, of its intent to sue the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the managers of NUID, Central Oregon Irrigation District and Tumalo Irrigation District, if complaints are not remedied within that time.
NUID Manager Mike Britton said the NUID Board of Directors has called a public town hall meeting for 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Madras Performing Arts Center.
“It’s for anybody who has an interest in it and will be an informational discussion. It’s so everybody will be on the same page versus the rumor mill,” Britton said.
Britton is also the president of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, which represents the seven irrigation districts that draw water from the Deschutes Basin.
“WaterWatch has been part of our collaborative process. Given that they know the work that’s been done, I would have thought they’d have more patience with the process,” Britton said.
“These environmental groups aren’t taking into account all the good work the basin district and its partners have been able to accomplish in recent years,” Britton said, adding, “Litigation will only distract from the work done for the spotted frog and other species. It will take away time, resources and funding from the projects these folks will be asking for eventually.”
The area of concern is the section of the Deschutes River between Wickiup Reservoir and the city of Bend. The WaterWatch statement claimed the irrigation districts were “managing the Deschutes more like an irrigation ditch than a river (which) has caused significant damage to river health.”
The group said the operation of irrigation reservoirs “has severely altered the natural system, creating extremely high flows in the summer months … followed by a sharp drop in flows in October and extremely low flows in winter.”
When reservoirs are refilling in the fall and winter, the group said it “causes streamflows to drop far below levels needed for fish and wildlife.” The “wildly fluctuating” water flows harm wildlife habitat, cause erosion and release nutrient pollutants and sediment into the river, the notice said.
Area animals listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act include steelhead, bull trout and the spotted frog, and the WaterWatch notice said “water rights in the Upper Deschutes exceed the river’s capacity” to return enough water to the river for those animals.
The group said spotted frog habitat was being harmed, and therefore the named agencies were violating the Endangered Species Act.
There was also public concern in 2013, when low river flows led to hundreds of trout and other fish getting stranded in a side channel of the river.
The notice said if ESA regulations, including maintaining water flows to fully protect spotted frogs, their eggs and habitat, were not remedied within 60 days, WaterWatch would file a citizen lawsuit with the U.S.District Court to compel compliance.
July 22, 2015 update
As many of you may have noticed in the Bend Bulletin today, July 22, 2015, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation regarding the Oregon spotted frog. As stated in the newsletter we sent out earlier this year, this topic is of utmost importance for irrigation districts.
Below, is a statement from the Deschutes Basin Board of Control who is working on behalf of all irrigation districts regarding this matter. Below the statement, you will find links to the Bend Bulletin article and the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity. Click here to view the statement and links. DBBC_Statement.pdf
OREGON SPOTTED FROG TO BE PROTECTED UNDER THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
In August 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the Oregon spotted frog (OSF) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. On August 28, 2014, the Service finalized this decision. A decision to designate critical habitat fopr the OSF is pending. The Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC) has been closely following the status of the OSF, even before the Service's proposal in 2013. The DBBC has been developing a comprehensive Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), which will include conservation measures specific for the OSF. The HCP is meant to improve habitat for federally listed species in the basin, including the frog, while enabling the Districts/City to continue all of their traditional water management activities, including storing water in and releasing it from Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs. The DBBC is aware that the listing of the frog may present significant challenges for managing the Deschutes Basin's water supplies. The DBBC will continue to work diligently with the Services and other local, state and federal agencies, conservation groups, and others to address the needs of the frog, as well as the other species of fish and wildlife which are the focus of the HCP.
Click here OSF_News_Release_08-28-2014.pdf to view the news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
DBBC (Deschutes Basin Board of Control) and HCP (Habitat Conservation Plan)
The Deschutes Basin Board of Control
To get a better understanding of what the Deschutes Basin Board of Control is and its efforts in developing the Habitat Conservation Plan, please click here DBBC_Profile_Newsletter.pdf
The Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan
For all District Patrons.... please review this information. Click here HCP_Explanation.docx to view this information.