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Wickiup and water resources

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  • Wickiup and water resources

    Anyone understand what is going on. Flow out of Wickiup this summer has averaged about 1500 cfs (typical year is about 1200-1300). Inflow from Crane has averaged about 200 CFS this summer (typical year is over 300 cfs, they just bumped up to 400). That means in a typical summer, the outflow is 900 to 1000 cfs greater than inflow, this year is over 1300 cfs. The result appears to be that Wickiup is currently 24% capacity, typical year it is about 50% at this time. In April, the res was higher than average. Crane is well above average for this time of year.

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    There is an article from the Bend Bulletin where irrigation managers seem to suggest that we are just at the mercy of Mother nature:

    None of this makes sense to me, the above date would suggest water managers are completely blind to what they are doing. You don't have to have stayed at Holliday Inn to understand that less water in and more water out means you're draining faster. Are they setting it up so over the winter they can release less than the mandated 100cfs? Is there higher irrigation demand? Water rights would suggest the demand is stable, so why are they releasing more water than average, holding back inflow, then scratching their collective heads in wonderment about what to do with the low water level in Wickiup?

    Anyone gots any idears as to what's goin' on?


  • #2 has some info on this issue.


    • #3
      It's the spawn of the spotted frog/Endangered Species issue. To keep sufficient water in Crane Prairie for the spotted frogs to self sustain, something has to suffer. For downstream irrigation purposes Wick water level is the sacrificed portion.
      I like Phamily, Phriends, Phly-Phishing, and Phood......wouldn't you know it, I live in Philomath, Oregon!


      • #4
        It was the 2016 agreement that mandates the 100 cfs minimum release from Wickiup. At the rate they are emptying, they will have "cause" to go below that minimum, as they did in the winter of 2016/17. The agreement doesn't explain the higher release than normal. Also does not explain the lower than normal input, which just jumped and will is leading to a rapid emptying of Crane. It is sudden drops in water levels (rivers and lakes), as is occurring now that cause the problems. Sorry, this still does not make sense.



        • #5
          I just read the Article in the Bend Bulletin. I am not sure how the journalist could have written this article without mentioning the whole Spotted Frog issue. They are mandated to keep more water in Crane for spawning habitat for the endangered Spotted Frog - so Wickiup takes the hit. However, I don't think that is the primary reason - just based on the the fact that Crane is less than a third the size of Wickiup. Seems like some real mismanagement going on somewhere. The real head scratcher is the Water management of Wickiup last year when they had so much snow/water and it seems like it has all gone to waste. Where did all of that water go? The Kokanee fisherman over on that other Website are up in arms about how the water is being managed up at Wickiup and they aren't getting good answers. Pisses me off really to see all of these reservoirs dropping so quickly - seems like the doomsday predictions made 10-12 years ago are coming true.

          The good news though is that Crane has alot of water still. I fished it this weekend and the water levels up there are solid to this point, but it is now starting to empty as well. Now if they can do something about the bass in there .



          • #6
            How much water does it Take to run Bends snazzy whitewater river Park? Follow the Water and the money.


            • #7
              Not the water park, water has already been diverted by then, its actually higher in the winter.

              Still have found no answer to why the release is higher than normal. Spotted frogs is not the answer to that.


              • #8
                I emailed Central Oregon Irrigation District last night asking about outflows. It is actually the north unit Irrigation District that has the most control. It seems demand can fluctuate this is the statement in the response email that was most applicable to the outflow question:

                Demand by NUID irrigators ( crop choices change and may have different water demands at different times of the year).

                You could contact NUID to confirm but it sounds as simple as the farmers asking for more water this year than normal. That is certainly not sustainable!


                • #9
                  Thanks Patrick. I had thought the total allotment for irrigation was baked in, guess not.


                  • Patrick
                    Patrick commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yup. Seems like there is more flexibility than I thought too. It kind of implies that they don't use their full water right - scary. It will be an interesting winter on the upper D for sure.