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Deschutes River Basin Habitat Conservation Plan

Middle Deschutes River (photo: B.Moran/ USFWS)

The goal of developing a Deschutes River Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is to provide sufficient, reliable water for residents and farmers while conserving fish, wildlife, and water resources.

  • Background

    The Deschutes River Basin HCP is a large scale planning effort that will help the City of Prineville and the Irrigation District members of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control meet their current and future water needs while enhancing fish and wildlife habitat. The HCP will cover approximately 10,700 square miles of land in central Oregon. Bounded by the Cascades Mountains on the west, the Ochoco Mountains on the east, and the Columbia River to the north, the Deschutes River Basin includes six major tributaries above Lake Billy Chinook.  

    The HCP will eventually become part of an application for one or more Endangered Species Act incidental take permits (ITPs) that would authorize incidental take of listed species caused by covered activities. The potential applicants for the ITP(s) include the City of Prineville and members of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (i.e., Arnold, Central Oregon, North Unit, Ochoco, Swalley, Three Sisters, Tumalo, and Lone Pine Irrigation Districts in Oregon). The National Marine Fisheries Service is a cooperating agency in the draft EIS process. Conservation measures in the HCP would be designed to minimize and mitigate impacts caused by the take of covered listed species that may result from the storage, release, diversion and return of irrigation water by the Districts and the City of Prineville. 

    Species covered under the Deschutes River Basin HCP include three federally-listed species (Oregon spotted frog, bull trout, and steelhead), and two currently unlisted species that have the potential to become listed during the life of the HCP (sockeye salmon and spring Chinook salmon). The Service has jurisdiction over Oregon spotted frog and bull trout, and NOAA Fisheries has jurisdiction over the other three species.

    We intend to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act to evaluate the potential impacts on the human environment caused by alternatives to the Deschutes River Basin HCP.  

    Public Scoping Meetings

    We initiated a public scoping period to engage Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments and the public in the identification of issues and concerns, potential impacts, and possible alternatives to the proposed action for consideration in the draft EIS. We held four public meetings during August 2017 in Madras, OR and Bend, OR.  

    Public Comments

    The comment period for the public scoping process closed September 22, 2017.  All comments submitted can be viewed here.  Once the draft Environmental Impact Statement and draft HCP are prepared, there will be further opportunity for public comment on the content of these documents through an additional 90-day public comment period.

    Stakeholder Meetings

    We held a stakeholder group meeting in Bend, OR on December 13, 2018.  Notes from that meeting are available here.

    For more information about the HCP, please contact Bridget Moran, Field Office Supervisor, Bend Field Office at 541-383-7146.


    Timeline for Deschutes HCP, May 2019

    2018 NEPA Scoping Report, June 2018

    PowerPoint Presentation - National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Habitat Conservation Plans, August 2017

    PowerPoint Presentation - Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan, August 2017

    Public Scoping Notice - July 24, 2017 (Scoping period is closed)



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