BEND, OR -- The Bend Park and Recreation District and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council are working together to improve riparian habitat along the river and Tumalo Creek with 13 projects to be completed over the next 10 to 15 years.
While the goal is to restore wildlife habitat, Park and Rec's Perry Brooks says it's important to maintain recreational access for everyone, "We know people want to get to the river; we're not going to prohibit people from getting to the river. It's a recreational amenity that a lot of people utilize. We want to make the access points sustainable, so we won't have continued erosion and riparian loss. That's really a big component of it, and to really reestablish some of the riparian corridor for wildlife is another major goal." Brooks tells KBND News, "We have a lot of access points to the river, and there continues to be more access points, which is degrading the riparian corridor. 75% of the wildlife inhabits 2% of Central Oregon, and most of that is that riparian corridor along the Deschutes and Tumalo Creek."
The 13 areas have been tagged for restoration, with costs estimated between one and two million dollars. Parks and Rec is working with the Oregon Watershed Board to write grants to help with funding. The first project is located between the Bill Healy bridge and Farewell Bend footbridge.