Today, the Central Oregon Conservation Network (COCN) announced its second Priority for a Healthy Central Oregon by declaring support for the protection of the Whychus-Deschutes area. The priority and campaign to Protect Whychus-Deschutes seeks support from local elected officials and community members for permanent designation such as wilderness for the Whychus-Deschutes area to ensure that this spectacular landscape remains wild for future generations.
“Whychus-Deschutes has importance for the environment, recreation and the economy,” explained Nikki Roemmer, OLCV Central Oregon Regional Director and COCN Coordinator. “Our region is growing again, and we need to seize this opportunity to protect one of the places that makes Central Oregon so special.”
Winding through rugged canyons, Whychus Creek is one of Central Oregon’s most important waterways. It provides prime spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead and is crucial winter range for mule deer and other wildlife. Whychus Creek and the Middle Deschutes River to the east are popular recreation destinations, with thousands of visitors fishing, hiking and exploring the canyons each year. In spite of the importance of Whychus Creek and the Deschutes River to our region, the confluence of these two waterways lacks permanent protection. “Confluences are critical for wild fish populations and this location is vitally important for native redbands and recently reintroduced steelhead and Chinook salmon.” said Darek Staab, with Trout Unlimited, adding, “We are excited to help protect this important area for our future and I’m thrilled that our Central Oregon Conservation Network members also support this as a priority.”
To learn more about the Protect Whychus-Deschutes campaign, join OLCV for a presentation at its monthly gathering, Pints and Politics, on Thursday, January 16th. Gena Goodman-Campbell of the Oregon Natural Desert Association joins us for a presentation about this spectacular area needing protection. Come to learn, ask questions and find out how you can get involved. Thursday, January 16th from 7 pm – 9 pm at Broken Top Bottle Shop, 1740 NW Pence Lane #1 in Bend. Details at www.olcv.org.
The Oregon League of Conservation Voters Education Fund coordinates the Central Oregon Conservation Network (COCN), a growing coalition of 9 local organizations that work with elected officials and community members to protect the region’s environment and natural legacy. COCN sets Priorities for a Healthy Central Oregon each spring and fall. Learn more about COCN, Protect Whychus-Deschutes and other priorities at www.centraloregonpriorities.org.
The Oregon League of Conservation Voters Education Fund works to increase the political effectiveness of Oregon’s environmental community by educating, training, and coordinating citizens and organizations. www.olcveducationfund.org.
Nikki Roemmer, OLCV Central Oregon Regional Director
Gena Goodman-Campbell, ONDA Central Oregon Wilderness Coordinator