History of the Deschutes River Estuary available

How the Deschutes River estuary came to be dammed in the 1950s has been a heated topic locally the last few years. A history of the local efforts to dam the estuary and create Capitol Lake is now available.

The history covers the time from just after statehood when the first dam was proposed to just after World War II when the funding for Capitol Lake became available. The piece refutes the position that the lake was entirely inspired by the “City Beautiful” design of Wilder and White in the 1911 proposal for the capitol campus.

History of the Deschutes Estuary, 1895 to 1948:
Google docs format
PDF format

Also available is the total works cited for the history
Works cited
Other related materials

Finding low summer flows on the Deschutes

The Squaxin Island Tribe is conducting a season long study to find out when the Deschutes’ flows get low:

In order to establish how much water salmon need to survive during the summer months, the Squaxin Island Tribe is starting a lengthy examination of streamflow in the Deschutes River. “We want to look at the relationship between flows and salmon habitat,” said John Konovsky, environmental program manager for the tribe. “As flows decrease, available habitat also decreases. We’re trying to identify the point when that lack of flow and habitat becomes critical for juvenile salmon survival.”

The end result of the tribe’s research will be set of minimum flow targets or standards for the watershed between April and December. A state-adopted standard would mean that if flows drop beneath the minimum, the state can take corrective action to bring flows back up. The state set a minimum flow standard over 30 years ago for the winter months, but didn’t address summer flows.

A historical analysis by the tribe shows that in recent decades summer flows have gotten lower and winter and spring floods more frequent and larger. The analysis points to an increase in impervious surfaces and a loss of forest cover as prime causes of the change in hydrology. Those changes have decreased flow during the summer months by at least 20 percent.

Read the entire piece here.