- Associated Press - Monday, September 18, 2017

BEND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon residents living near the Upper Deschutes River have grown accustomed to its flooding every summer.

The rising waters flood Three Rivers area resident Nancy Capell’s yard and her neighbors’ yards to form a water wonderland that draws in geese, great blue herons and neighbors with kayaks, The Bulletin (https://bit.ly/2xsFnFa ) reported Friday.

The river’s waters began to recede in early September, restoring Capell’s yard back to normal.

“We couldn’t use it for two months,” the 65-year-old said Thursday. “But we did have our own lake.”

The flooding is caused by summer temperatures, water management and an increase in plants surrounding the river, officials said.

The river’s waters typically reach 1,600 cubic feet per second (45.3 cubic meters per second) near the Wickiup Reservoir, 60 miles (97 kilometers) southwest of Bend, in July and August and up to 2,100 cubic feet per second (59.5 cubic meters per second) near Benham Falls, according to data from the Oregon Water Resources Department.

The department’s data showed the water near reservoir stayed at that level longer this year than it has in recent years, but was not measurably higher at its peak.

The river’s water levels stay low during the winter and the spring, when most of the water is stored in large reservoirs, said Mathias Perle, project manager for the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council. In the summer, central Oregon’s irrigation districts need to let out more water for farmers and other customers, which also causes the river to rise.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other groups are working with the irrigation districts to develop plans that will help them stay in business while still finding a way to address the Upper Deschutes River’s flooding issues.

“I think most people realize we can’t go back to pre-dam, pre-history management of the river,” Perle said. “But we’re trying to find the middle ground.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Department’s habitat conversation plan should be finalized by 2019, said Bridget Moran, the head of department’s Bend field office.


Information from: The Bulletin, https://www.bendbulletin.com

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