Though the date for the event shifted multiple times throughout the past week, we were blessed to have proactive volunteers ready to jump into action the moment we said: “go!” The rescue occurred across two days: Saturday evening and Sunday morning, rescuing over 3,000 fish from pools throughout the disconnected side channel (final count still pending).
Many wonder why the date shifted and it can be explained simply: the side channel drained differently this year, differently than the many years before it. There can be many theories as to why it behaved differently, but from our perspective what matters was that we were still able to jump into action and make the rescue when it was needed. We had many veterans and experts guiding the scheduling of this event, and because of their help, we were able to take the necessary action.
The rescues had great weather, the volunteers were appreciated with hot coffee donated from Strictly Organic Coffee, and a fabulous lunch sponsored/catered by Wild Oregon Foods and Village Bakery. The rescue is a temporary resolve for the seasonal flow rates within the Upper Deschutes, but even so, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, their partners Coalition for the Deschutes, Deschutes River Conservancy, and the Deschutes Redbands Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the many volunteers of Central Oregon made this event a positive collaboration of people sharing the same goal. The goal is to prevent damage to wildlife within the Upper Deschutes River, and to form strong connections that elevate collective action towards water management in the future.
Though this event has always been a positive experience for all those who help out, we look forward to no longer needing to rescue these fish.