BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Landwatch is appealing a decision allowing the Bridge Creek water pipeline project to proceed. In December, a federal judge ruled the forest service proved the project would not hurt the environment and allowed it to continue. Paul Dewey with Central Oregon Landwatch tells KBND News, preliminary evidence from their recent study found climate change will drastically reduce water flows in Tumalo Creek in the next 20 years. "What other scientists have found out is there's a decrease in snowpack from glaciers melting in the higher elevations and that means less water in summer and fall. So July through October we could see a significant decrease in the water flowing over Tumalo Falls."
Dewey claims the U.S. Forest Service failed to do a thorough analysis on the impact of climate change on Tumalo Creek and how those slow flows would affect the fish. "The city of Bend has a choice about taking groundwater or Tumalo Creek water. It won't make any sense to take Tumalo Falls water, and they will have invested $70 million and it could potentially run dry June through October if water goes over the falls instead of down the pipe."