Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan

Central Oregon’s Deschutes Basin is renowned for local farmers, ranchers, fishing and river interests, conservation groups and others working together to improve the environment and resolve natural resources issues.

In 2006, the 8 irrigation districts (and the City of Prineville) began work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a Habitat Conservation Plan (Deschutes HCP) to benefit fish and wildlife species, including the Oregon spotted frog.

Over 20 different stakeholders have participated in this process, including the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Trout Unlimited, the Deschutes River Conservancy and WaterWatch.

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Water Conservation

Irrigation canals dug over a century ago out of the hard, black basalt throughout Central Oregon still function as reliable, low-maintenance conveyance facilities. But they’re also prone to seepage. The Districts are working on irrigation modernization plans to conserve water. The DBBC is working with several groups on conservation including The Farmers Conservation Alliance. Click here for more information

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Fish & Wildlife Habitat Restoration

Nearly every diversion operated directly by the eight Districts includes a protective fish screen that meets state and federal standards. These screens prevent small fish from entering irrigation canals, enabling them to safely move downstream. In addition to fish screens several of our diversions have fish ladders as well to allow fish passage up and down stream and out of the irrigation canals.

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Hydropower Generation

A new trend among irrigation districts is the construction of small hydropower facilities inside their existing irrigation systems. Renewable energy generated by rushing water is one of the earliest innovations of irrigation use, but it is becoming economically feasible for even small districts to employ this innovative technique and produce clean electricity.

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