Dear Deschutes River Alliance Supporter,
As a busy summer nears its end and we transition into fall, we would like to take a moment to reflect and to share our immense gratitude for your support and what it has helped us accomplish.
August has truly been a month for the books. In addition to our ongoing science work, we also celebrated a huge victory in our lawsuit against Portland General Electric
. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with DRA and refused to hear a PGE appeal that would have delayed this important lawsuit from moving forward. This decision also left in place a crucial ruling we secured this spring
, affirming the rights of citizens to enforce water quality requirements at hydroelectric projects.
We are proud to say that this month also marks the four year anniversary of the official establishment of the Deschutes River Alliance as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
. Over the past four years, the DRA has worked tirelessly to restore cooler, cleaner water in the lower Deschutes River. Besides our important victories in the courtroom, the DRA Science Team has been diligently documenting the sources and extent of the ecological changes occurring in the lower river.
Of our many accomplishments in that time, here are a few we are particularly proud of:
- A thermal imaging study of the lower Deschutes River and the area around the three dams of the Pelton-Round Butte Complex. This allowed us and others to have a better understanding of the temperature behavior of the river between the PRB Complex and the Columbia River.
- Two years (and counting) of algae and water quality studies on Lake Billy Chinook and the lower Deschutes River. This work documents the changes in water quality that have occurred since selective water withdrawal operations began, including the water quality violations that are at the core of our lawsuit against PGE.
- Three years (and counting) of our annual adult aquatic insect hatch survey. This survey was designed by DRA Board member and renowned aquatic entomologist Rick Hafele, to gather data on hatch timing and densities.
- Over one year of benthic aquatic insect sampling in two locations in the lower river, to document trends in subsurface aquatic insect activity. This study, along with the hatch survey results, indicates an increase in worms and snails along the river’s bottom, and a decrease in adult aquatic insect populations in the air.
- Funded a GIS mapping project of water quality in the lower Crooked River, to better understand the source of the pollution load entering Lake Billy Chinook.
This and more have been achieved over the last four years. None of this could have been achieved without the dedication of people like you. You are what keep us on the water and in the courtroom fighting to restore the river we all love.
Our mission continues to drum in our ears. It beats stronger with each day. As the river grows quieter, our voices grow louder.
Take a moment to listen to board member and key science team leader, Rick Hafele, as he masterfully recounts the abundance of activity that once filled the Deschutes River.
“Song for the Deschutes”
This is where we stand. As we enter our fifth year, we are proud to take with us many victories, but the final battle has not yet been won. After our critical legal victory this month, we are entering a new stage of our Clean Water Act lawsuit against Portland General Electric. Now more than ever, we need your help in our fight to protect and restore this spectacular river.
Many of you have a long history on the Deschutes. All of you have at least one story to tell of time spent by or in its waters. If you have been to the Deschutes this summer, you are likely walking away with a different tone to the story of your day. Maybe instead of catching steelhead, you hooked bass or walleye. Maybe you noticed the failure of caddis hatches to materialize in the evening. Maybe you left without the sounds of songbirds or the cloud of insects trailing behind you.
Rest assured that this fight is not over. We can revive the once vibrant display of the Deschutes River that you’ve long known. Thank you for your support over the past four years, and cheers to Year Five: may it be the loudest ever.
Deschutes River Alliance: Cooler, cleaner H2O for the lower Deschutes River.
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