The Upper Deschutes Basin contains large individual river systems which serve as healthy tributaries to form 150 miles of the Upper Deschutes River. These many headwaters and feeder streams coalesce at Lake Billy Chinook Reservoir then pour down the Lower Deschutes River through 100 miles of a wild and scenic river corridor.
The goal of the Upper Deschutes Home Rivers Initiative is to protect this dramatic and unique river basin and to restore strong populations of redband trout, steelhead, bull trout, sockeye, chinook salmon, and other native species within the Upper Deschutes Watershed. With TU members in our area we hope to sustain those fish populations through watershed restoration, education, and stewardship within our surrounding communities. TU believes that people must have a powerful connection to the critical landscapes that support the Northwest's ecosystems, and we will emphasize community engagement as part of the Upper Deschutes Home Rivers Initiative.fundame
Principles of the Upper Deschutes Home Rivers Initiative:
Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park
TU has a strong track record of engaging its volunteers and other members of the community in hands-on restoration work, advocacy, and youth education. This involvement helps create a lasting sense of stewardship that allows the community to sustain restoration achievements for future generations. TU believes that conservation programs must be rooted in sound science. For that reason, we identify ecological and social objectives for all of our conservation work. TU assesses watershed conditions and native trout population status through its Conservation Success Index, and uses that information to formulate habitat protection, reconnection, and restoration strategies. We can then collaborate with partners to protect and restore habitat and migration corridors for each fish population. Conservation projects and supporting biodiversity for native trout will become our framework and provide opportunities for our community members to become stewards for land and water along their local streams.
Our local Trout Unlimited chapter, The Deschutes Chapter, was established in the mid 1970s and is invaluable in their support of the Upper Deschutes Home Rivers Initiative. The Deschutes Chapter is headquartered in Bend, OR, but its membership incorporates all of Central Oregon. The Chapter has currently includes roughly 450 members and is growing all the time. Our Board of Directors is active in contributing time and energy to the Upper Deschutes Home Rivers Initiative as well as pursuing the Chapter's own objectives and projects. Joining the Deschutes Chapter is an outstanding way to become involved with Trout Unlimited. Please click here for more information regarding Trout Unlimited's Deschutes Chapter.
The Upper Deschutes River is home to many sensitive fish species such as bull trout, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and the Columbia River Basin redband trout. It is a watershed of regional significance to TU members and individuals around the world. Yet, the Upper Deschutes watershed has had 100 years of heavy community use along its shorelines and surrounding forests and canyons. The basin has reaches which have suffered from heavy impacts by large agriculture industry, the steady encroachment of urban development, and a patchwork of forest management and fire succession. All of these forces lead to a setting and ecosystem that require careful management to protect the health of the Deschutes River Basin.
Upper Deschutes River in Central Oregon.