Fifteenmile Watershed Projects
Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District
Copyright (C) 2015 Wasco Co. SWCD All Rights Reserved
A watershed is the area of land that drains into a particular body of water such as a stream, river, lake, or bay.
The watershed includes not only the waterway itself, but also the entire land area that drains to it.
Water plays a vital role in Fifteenmile agriculture.The Fifteenmile Watershed is known for its dryland and irrigated crops, orchards, vineyards, livestock, pasture, and irrigated hayland. It is also known for it's ESA listed salmon/steelhead populations and other sensitive aquatic inhabitants. A fish kill on 15Mile in 2009 raised concerns about the future of irrigation in the watershed. High temperatures combined with low waterflows boded ill for both fish and irrigators. A way needed to be found to balance water rights with Endangered Species Act concerns.
This led to a conversation between the Fifteenmile Watershed Council, water regulators, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, The Tribes, NOAA National Marine Fisheries, and the Freshwater Trust to work out ways to manage for all needs. The group explored monitoring, water rights, instream leasing options, off stream storage, dry year contingency plans, riparian improvements, and irrigation efficiency. The minutes from that meeting can be found at the link below. Presentations and relative documents have been archived. A list of the those documents can be found in the drop down menu titled "WS Project Archive" under "Watershed Projects" in the menu bar above. Please contact the the Watershed Coordinator for emailed copies.
Problem solving in the Fifteenmile Watershed
Groundwater in the Fifteenmile Watershed
Oregon Water Resources presented information on groundwater in Fifteenmile that includes data from USGS that looks at the ground geological structure, withdrawals and recharge data.
15Mile Off Stream Above Ground Water Storage Feasibility Study
One of the ideas explored to relieve pressure from Fifteenmile in the summer months was finding a way to store water during high flows and use it during low stream flows. To this end The 15Mile Watershed Council successfully applied for and was awarded an OWRD 1069 Water Conservation, Reuse & Storage grant.
Fifteenmile Flow Monitoring Project
The FAST Program is activated when temperatures and water flows create conditions detrimental to the survival of fish in Fifteenmile Creek. When models project these conditions, alerts are sent out to irrigators who then can voluntarily shut down irrigation until the danger has passed. Irrigators can also signup in advance for instream leasing during these critical periods under certain conditions and situations. Nate Woodard administerd the FAST Program under a grant by the Freshwater Trust. He can be reached at 541-296-6178 ext 119, or emailed: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Led by the efforts of the Fifteenmile Watershed Council. local restoration groups, tribes, and state and federal agencies are taking a comprehensive and coooperative approach to tackling the recommended actions identified in the initial ESA planning documents. Watershed Council partners installed 5 new staff gages and are metering all significant irrigation diversions as part of its 15Mile Watershed Flow Monitoring Project. This will help to promote efficient and fair regulation of irrigation withdrawals and help paint a more complete picture of water movement throughout the watershed.
FAST - Fifteenmile Action to Stabilize Temperatures Project
Pesticide Stewardship Partnership
The PSP Program is an ongoing effor to monitor the presence of pesticides at sites in Mill, Threemile and Fifteenmile Creeks. The program monitors, identifies, collaborates to implement voluntary management practices, and provides follow-up monitoring to determine the effectiveness of management strategies. Latest results and more information can be found below.
15Mile Aboveground Storage Feasibility Study Results
Anderson Perry was awarded the contract to conduct the study in late fall 2016. Relative documents to the study are linked below. The council will be receiving an update at the 50% point - anticipated to be sometime in June 2017.
15Mile Underground Storage Feasibility Study