We are so excited to be partnering with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC) for our land stewardship event this April. The UDWC is a local non-profit that aims to restore and protect the 2,000,000-acre Upper Deschutes River watershed through collaborative projects in habitat restoration, monitoring, and watershed education. In order to protect our rivers and streams for current and future generations, they connect community members of all ages to our watershed through hands-on stewardship and place-based education.
In the 25 years since they were established in 1997, the UDWC has completed over 50 restoration projects within the Deschutes Watershed (see map below). They have brought more than $20 million to watershed restoration and education projects in the Upper Deschutes watershed. They are fundamentally a cooperative organization, involving landowners, ranchers, environmental interests, local citizens, and representatives from local governments and agencies, all around the restoration and protection of local waterways.
There are three main pillars to their work: restoration, monitoring and education. They lead collaborative projects for habitat restoration on Central Oregon’s treasured rivers and streams, like the Deschutes River, the Metolius River, Tumalo Creek the Whychus Creek. This past year, for example, the UDWC conducted a restoration project at Creekside Park in Sisters to create user access points, rehabilitate vegetation loss along the stream’s banks and incorporate wood and boulders into the banks to create habitat features. They set an example by balancing river access with river stewardship and protection within our communities.
Monitoring is another important element of the UDWC’s work. Over the last year they conducted monitoring of past restoration sites: mapping floodplain and stream elevations, measuring pebbles for native trout and salmon, surveying vegetation and collecting aquatic insect samples for food availability for fish. This analysis gives them an overview of watershed health and allows them to make decisions based on needs, trends, and the effectiveness of projects.
The UDWC believes that education is central to long-term conservation and watershed protection. They are dedicated to facilitating hands-on education experiences. They work with students and community members, encouraging them to interact with and learn about the local environment. Through their youth education program, The Upstream Project, they connect thousands of students to our rivers and streams each year to help them develop a sense of place and sense of stewardship. They lead watershed education events, like the Watershed Speaker Series, designed to educate the public on history, hydrology, water use and conservation, stream restoration, native fish, and community stewardship activities in the watershed.
What do we love about the UDWC? Their wholehearted, sincere commitment to their mission, their willingness to involve the public and their desire to make a real impact. The UDWC is community-based, working to involve the public in caring for the local watershed in what they call a “ripple effect” of positive change. Hear more directly from the UDWC staff and partners below.
Khyra and Cody
Wildland Guiding Company