Announcing the Release of DRA’s 2019 Lower Deschutes River Water Quality Report

Photo caption: Lower Deschutes River. Photo by: Rick Hafele

We are pleased to announce the release of the DRA’s latest water quality report. The report is an analysis of water quality in the lower Deschutes River in 2019. This monitoring continues to be an important element in our science program and provides invaluable insight into changes occurring on the river. What did we find?

Selective water withdrawal continues to result in exceedances to the Deschutes Basin water quality standards:

• Water temperature exceeded the state water quality standard during the period designated for salmon and steelhead spawning.

• Dissolved oxygen concentration is not being managed to adequately protect incubating trout eggs and fry.

• Excessively high pH levels above the state water quality standard occurred and large diel swings were recorded. Large diel swings in pH and dissolved oxygen are an indicator of excess nutrients in the water leading to high amounts of algae and aquatic plant biomass.

Some interesting changes were observed in 2019 compared to prior years’ results. These findings are detailed and substantiated in our annual water quality report (link to report). While any positive changes are welcome news, Oregon’s water quality standards are still not being met. Absent effective action by state and federal authorities, the DRA will continue to seek enforcement of the Clean Water Act water quality standards as a principle means of improving water quality in the lower Deschutes River.

We want to give our most heartfelt thanks to our supporters for making it possible to do this work. These challenging times are affecting all of us. Despite the challenges ahead we will continue to work toward our mission. Thank you for your support in defending the lower Deschutes River.

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