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Annual Fish Rescue In Upper Deschutes

BEND, OR -- The end of the irrigation season means lower water levels in the upper Deschutes River, and stranded fish. 

The Deschutes River Conservancy along with state agencies led efforts to move fish over the weekend and into Tuesday.

Mt Hood Environmental Field biologist Ben Briscoe says this year’s fish rescue count will be typical, “Looking like we're on track for an average of about 6,000 to 8,000 fish per year.” He reports the fish are in good shape, “The fish are coming out healthy. They look great. We haven't had any major issues with fish health yet.”

Deschutes River Conservancy Executive Director Kate Fitzparick thinks the rescue may not be necessary in four or five years, thanks to a partnership with irrigation districts, “They are using most of the water in the basin. And we're working on large scale conservation efforts that will reduce their demand for water and will keep minimum flows in the river.” Fitzpatrick is grateful for the efforts again this year, “The last couple of days we've saved about 1,000 fish a day. And so, we're really making a difference to make sure that in these years when that side channel does dry up, that we can keep some of those fish alive.”

Sarah Ross, from Portland General Electric Project Zero, tells KBND News first-timers and veterans step in to lend a hand, “It's been amazing to see the support even with the dates changing. And now we're extending the event as we have so many more fish to rescue.”

Emily McCain, with the Oregon Water Resources Department, seconded the collaborative effort, “It's great to see Oregon Water Resources Department, Department of Fish and Wildlife. Local folks like the Deschutes River Conservancy and, and others come together.”


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