Farmers, Fish and The Freshwater Trust Collaborate to Save Water and Lives

This comes to On Pasture from Meg Belais, Restoration Project Manager & Analyst with The Freshwater Trust. The Freshwater Trust works with farmers and ranchers in the west to target and fund projects that create healthy rivers and streams and healthy and profitable working landscapes. You can learn more by visiting their website. At 5:15 a.m. on July 30, 2017, a robo-call and email blast were sent to 50 irrigators and stakeholders in the Fifteenmile watershed. The messages were not unsolicited spam; they were collaborative, proactive water management in action. The alert acted as The Freshwater Trust, farmers, state agencies and other nonprofits had all intended it to. It let the irrigators know that water temperatures downstream were rising, putting Fifteenmile Creek's inhabitants in danger of being killed by high water temperatures. The irrigators sent more water their way, lives were saved, and the farmers were compensated for their participation. This early warning system is the result of lessons learned some years back. 2009 was a blazing hot year. Oregon’s Fifteenmile watershed, which originates on the northeastern slopes of Mt. Hood and meets the Columbia River near The Dalles, was suffering as a consequence. That summer, extended high air temperatures and low flow in Fifteenmile Creek created a lethal combination, killing thousands of juvenile fish, including threatened winter steelhead. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), people can be held

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