BEND, OR -- Organizers of the annual fall fish rescue are scrambling to find volunteers after the event was moved up several days due to changing river conditions.
The Deschutes River Conservancy is looking for help over three days, starting this Saturday, to rescue fish stranded in drying pools. The effort is paid for by the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, which includes the eight irrigation districts in Central Oregon.
Volunteers take part in one of three tasks depending on their skills and experience handling fish:
- wade into the pools to help capture fish,
- hike the buckets of fish from the pools to the river,
- or help identify and count the fish as they are returned to the main channel of the Deschutes.
The rescue starts Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at Meadow Camp, off Century Drive. Sunday morning, the rescue base will shift to the Lava Island Boat Ramp area for the remainder of the operation.
Those interested in volunteering are required to register through the DRC’s website.
The rescue was expected to begin October 16th, but flows are dropping faster than anticipated, due to reduced river recharge and drier conditions resulting from drought. With the wind-down of the growing season in Central Oregon, says DRC, local irrigation districts are reducing flows in the Upper Deschutes River below Wickiup Dam in order to fill the depleted reservoir for the following irrigation season.