The Deschutes

MISSION OF THE BASIN: Provide stakeholders with decision-support platform to improve water-use efficiency.

The Freshwater Trust’s ties to the Deschutes River reach back to the organization’s founding in 1983 by fly fishers along the banks of the river. As the nation’s first water trust, TFT spent decades brokering hundreds of instream flow restoration projects throughout Eastern Oregon. We have since transferred that work to partners but remain committed to the water scarcity issues of the region. Today, many farmers in this high-desert basin have less water due to drought, and fish suffer from low instream flows, high water temperatures, and nutrient-driven algae blooms that diminish their food supply.

Over the past two years, TFT has made considerable progress applying analytics and forging strategic partnerships to prepare stakeholders in the region to access significant federal funding that will become available in 2024. We are working to ensure our partners have access to the data and insights they need to produce competitive proposals for high-impact work that both restores critical instream habitats and supports agricultural resilience. TFT supported the Central Oregon Irrigation District and Deschutes River Conservancy by developing the data infrastructure and decision support tools that will guide project prioritization and benefits accounting. When scaled, the data and tools can help irrigators streamline the modernization of surface water irrigation systems throughout the basin, with benefits for farmers and ecosystems alike.


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