Deschutes Partnership Projects


Whychus Creek

Three Sisters Irrigation District Main Canal Piping

Since 2005, the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC) and Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID) have partnered to restore streamflow to Whychus Creek by piping TSID's main canal, reducing seepage and evaporation loss. TSID dedicates the conserved water to instream use through Oregon's conserved water statue. The resulting instream water helps meet DRC's flow target - the state instream water right - from April to October each year and improves conditions for steelhead and redband trout. 

Youth Education Program

The education program of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC) has connected hundreds of students to our rivers and streams this fall. High Desert Middle School, Pacific Crest, Buff Elementary, Buckingham Elementary, and the new Skyline High School are just a few of the schools they have engaged in hands-on, inspiring, and active outdoor learning projects. With all of UDWC's educational activities, the primary goal is to help students develop a healthy sense of place and an informed sense of stewardship.

The Creekside Park Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration Project

As part of a watershed-scale restoration effort, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC) and the City of Sisters are working together to enhance and restore Whychus Creek in the developed reaches that flow through the City of Sisters. Decades of urban development have encroached upon the floodplain along much of Whychus Creek flowing through Sisters, resulting in channelization and extensive use of rip-rap along the channel banks. ​Once implemented, the plan will result in restored fish passage to help ensure upstream and downstream access to high-quality habitat for both resident fish species and reintroduced steelhead and Chinook salmon, along with improved instream and bank habitat that will be resilient and self-sustaining over time. ​

Crooked River

Opal Springs Fish Passage Project

Providing fish passage at Opal Springs is a key action to support reintroduction in the Upper Deschutes Basin, and in particular the Lower Crooked River. It is the second 

Willow Springs Preserve Restoration Project

The Land Trust acquired and protected the 130 acre Willow Springs Preserve in 2017. The Preserve includes one mile of Whychus Creek, creekside meadows, aspen and cottonwood stands, and rimrock cliffs. The Preserve is located outside of Sisters, Oregon (see map below) and is home to a host of wildlife species including salmon and steelhead, mule deer, rocky mountain elk, raptors, and numerous songbirds. The Land Trust and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council are working together to explore restoration opportunities at the preserve that will enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitat across the floodplain. With funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, a restoration design will be completed in 2019.

Ochoco Preserve

The Land Trust acquired and protected the 185 acre Ochoco Preserve in 2017. The Preserve includes 1 mile of the Crooked River, 1/2 mile of McKay Creek, 1/2 mile of Ochoco Creek, and is located outside of Prineville, Oregon (see map below). Ochoco Preserve is home to a host of wildlife species including salmon and steelhead, a variety of amphibians, and many species of water birds and songbirds. The property is currently leased to a local farmer.

McKay Creek

McKay Creek Water Rights Switch

The Deschutes River Conservancy is working on restoring natural flow to McKay Creek through the McKay Creek Water Rights Switch (the Switch). The Switch allows landowners from river miles 6 to 12 to trade their private McKay Creek water rights for Ochoco Irrigation District (OID) water rights, sourced from Prineville Reservoir. In exchange for more reliable OID water, landowners will transfer 11.2 CFS of certificated McKay Creek water rights instream. Restoring the natural hydrograph in this reach of McKay Creek will address many limiting factors, including low flow, altered hydrology, high water temperature, and impaired fish passage.