Lower Deschutes River Macroinvertebrate Hatch Activity Survey Results

From the Deschutes River Alliance: Fishing guides on the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes River have observed a number of changes since the Pelton Round Butte Dam started mixing surface and bottom water for release beginning in 2010, and raised concerns about what effect the new water management program may be having on the health of the river ecosystem.

Deschutes River Fly Fishing

Observed changes include declines in major insect hatches, changes in insect hatch timing, the absence of insect feeding birds such as swallows, changes in fish movement and behavior, increased summer turbidity, and changes in the type and extent of benthic algal growth.

In order to address these concerns, and engage Portland General Electric (PGE) and the appropriate agencies in open discussion about them, local guides and other concerned anglers formed the Deschutes River Alliance (DRA).

The DRA, through meetings with PGE and agency personnel, has completed a monitoring plan for 2014 that includes an assessment of water quality (temperature, DO, pH, conductivity), algal biomass and species composition, and aquatic insect hatch activity.

One of the first steps taken by DRA in 2013 was to more systematically gather guide observations about insect hatch activity. To this end a field data form was created for guides to fill out while on the river. This report describes the results of the guides observations collected from May through October 2013.

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2 Responses to Lower Deschutes River Macroinvertebrate Hatch Activity Survey Results

  1. Jason Wells says:

    I am not sure I entirely get what the Deschutes River Alliance is about. It seems to me that they mainly represent the interest of the guides and want to maintain the 1968-2010 status quo. PGE & the Tribes were required by federal law to change the way the dams are operated to more closely resemble pre-dam conditions and get anadromous fish back above the dams. That isn’t going to change. Do the guides think the temperatures that have been produced the past 3 years haven’t been accurate to pre-dam history? Just feels like they are on the wrong side of history with this one. The river is changing back to the way it was, adapt.

  2. Oregon Fly Fishing Blog says:

    Jason,
    I felt the same way initially and we held off on this issue at OregonFlyFishingBlog.com, but… I have since learned that it’s not just about water temperatures. There are new nutrients as a result of the water release points and invasive algae in the Deschutes is now choking out the bug life. Additionally DRA is the only group who is willing to fund and conduct a scientific study about the effects of the PGE project. It seems like that study should have been done prior to the project so that a proper analysis could have been done. Salmon restoration should be a priority no doubt, but is it working? Is killing a river worth it?

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