Middle Deschutes River

Central Oregon

PROJECT PARTNER: Deschutes River Conservancy
PROJECT TYPE: Water Management Agreements


The Middle Deschutes River is a 35-mile section of the iconic Deschutes River that flows between the city of Bend and Lake Billy Chinook, Oregon. In this section of the river, deep canyons and public lands comprise one of the most scenic desert canyons in the state of Oregon. Red-band trout, otters, ospreys, and myriad wildlife species inhabit this section of river and depend on clean, healthy flows of water.

However, historically most of the flow to the middle Deschutes River was diverted near the City of Bend to serve agricultural needs throughout central Oregon. Thanks to partnerships with businesses like the Portland Trail Blazers, the Deschutes River Conservancy, and local irrigation districts, new solutions have been developed to restore over 115 cubic feet per second of flow to the Middle Deschutes during the summer months. BEF and our partners’ purchase of Water Restoration Certificates® helps provide funding that allows the Deschutes River Conservancy to negotiate lease agreements with irrigators and keep these flows in the river, fostering a healthy ecosystem for people, plants and wildlife.

While agency-led monitoring efforts are underway to assess the positive impacts of this restored flow, fly-fishing guides and biologists who regularly visit this area continue to report improved populations of Red-Band trout.

*This resource has been reviewed and found to meet the BEF Flow Program Certification Criteria for Evaluating Proposals to Secure Environmental Flows by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.