WaterWatch of Oregon, which, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation and the Arnold, Central Oregon, Tumalo, Lone Pine and North Unit irrigation districts. The issue is the Oregon spotted frog, since 2014 listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
The environmental groups want Deschutes River stream flows, which vary greatly depending on the season, restored to save the frog. Farmers and others who rely on Deschutes River irrigation water say their livelihood is imperiled if the court interrupts the flow of water.
But anglers say it’s not just the spotted frog that needs a consistently flowing river.
Perin, in a court filing, wrote that low winter flows in the river kill thousands of fish. When the irrigation season ends in October and the bureau begins storing water in Crescent Lake and Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs, the reduced amount of water flowing in the river leaves fish stranded and dying in isolated pools. During spring and summer when more water gets released for irrigation, he’s had to cancel guided fishing trips due to high water levels, he wrote.
“I would say with absolute certainty that the majority of the fly-fishing community, including my colleagues that own fly shops and guide the rivers and lakes of the region, would agree that something needs to be done to protect a resource that brings us income,” Perin said Wednesday “It’s our economy, too.”