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Old 04-04-2017, 11:28 AM   #1
AlseaAssassin
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Default Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

For those of you that care deeply about the health of the lower Deschutes River I hope you take an in depth look at this letter for the data it represents and assertions that are in it (rather than discounting because of who wrote it). It is worth a read for anyone that spends time on the lower Deschutes and offers the other side of the story that is not being told by DRA.
Don's professional credibility is widely accepted within the professional fish biology community and he has been on the river for over 40 years (see bio). I was lucky enough to have Don as a mentor early on in my career. I can also appreciate his concern with DRA's perspectives and never discount Don's passion for the Deschutes.
Sorry for the choppy cut and paste job but I can't get the .pdf to load. If you want the original .pdf PM me and I can email it to you.


"This is an open letter. Feel free to share it within PGE and outside, especially with anglers that have been getting one side of the situation on the Deschutes. This afternoon I will spend going between fly shops in Redmond and Bend, talking to the employees and sharing this letter.

Have a great day, Don"


























































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Old 04-04-2017, 12:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

Did I read that too quickly?
Don does a good job of refuting most of the contentions, but seems dismissive on what may well be the most important -- the nutrient load from mostly Crooked River runoff at the tower...Or is that my own mis-perception?
And didn't I see a study somewhere saying as much as 75 percent of the returning steelhead headed for Crooked River regardless of their origin above RB?
Don Ratliff is, however, a recognized expert on the Deschutes and I'd like to see some answers to his observations.
Thanks for posting this.
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

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Did I read that too quickly?
Don does a good job of refuting most of the contentions, but seems dismissive on what may well be the most important -- the nutrient load from mostly Crooked River runoff at the tower...Or is that my own mis-perception?
And didn't I see a study somewhere saying as much as 75 percent of the returning steelhead headed for Crooked River regardless of their origin above RB?
Don Ratliff is, however, a recognized expert on the Deschutes and I'd like to see some answers to his observations.
Thanks for posting this.
I wouldn't say he was dismissive, in fact he made a point of (paraphrasing) "we need to better understand it and address it if it's a problem".

I'm not sure about the second question. I don't believe they knew the exact origin (which trib) those returning steelhead came from, just that 75% of the steelhead passed upstream were homing back to the Crooked. I may be wrong though.
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

First off, I'll admit I'm far from being any sort of biologist or any other scientist, but I do try to keep up a little bit on this subject so my views are simply from layman's perspective. That being said............

That's a lot of words to convince us that the temperature changes are actually good for the fish. Well, great, I guess. But what about the changes that have also come along with that like the seemingly growing abundance of bass, the increasing algae, and the disappearing hatches of insects? None of that seemed to really be addressed and all those things are major concerns that many would argue aren't worth the exchange for some science experiment to get anadromous fish above LBC.

Is the end game of having a sockeye run up river really worth sacrificing the blue-ribbon trout stream that was the lower Deschutes?
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Old 04-04-2017, 02:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

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First off, I'll admit I'm far from being any sort of biologist or any other scientist, but I do try to keep up a little bit on this subject so my views are simply from layman's perspective. That being said............

That's a lot of words to convince us that the temperature changes are actually good for the fish. Well, great, I guess. But what about the changes that have also come along with that like the seemingly growing abundance of bass, the increasing algae, and the disappearing hatches of insects? None of that seemed to really be addressed and all those things are major concerns that many would argue aren't worth the exchange for some science experiment to get anadromous fish above LBC.

Is the end game of having a sockeye run up river really worth sacrificing the blue-ribbon trout stream that was the lower Deschutes?
I think the problem is you're assuming that you have to or have sacrificed a blue-ribbon trout stream. There is ZERO scientific evidence that suggests the red band population has decreased from pre-post tower. Any other claim (at this point) is just conjecture/opinion/fear mongering. I think that was one of the main points of the letter, DRA is expressing opinion as fact or scientific evidence. As Don mentioned the DRA has not published any of their science and I've yet to see any of their data presented at a professional level or reviewed by peers outside of the DRA for scientific rigor. As Don eludes to in the article that is very time consuming and considering they are volunteer driven perhaps time is a factor.

Have the hatches changed? You bet. However that does not mean the net productivity of the river changed. If the ecology of the river is effected to the point productivity has been reduced then there should be an observed decrease the red band condition factor and/or population size/structure. However data obtained by ODFW from last year indicates it has not. In fact I'm not sure I've seen a single piece of data that suggests the fishing for redband is worse (my own experience suggests it's still damn good).

If your last statement is corroborated by scientific evidence then no, IMO it's not worth trading one of Oregon's few blue ribbon trout streams for a sockeye run.

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Old 04-04-2017, 02:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

[QUOTE=blackdog;13971937]First off, I'll admit I'm far from being any sort of biologist or any other scientist, but I do try to keep up a little bit on this subject so my views are simply from layman's perspective. That being said............

That's a lot of words to convince us that the temperature changes are actually good for the fish. Well, great, I guess. But what about the changes that have also come along with that like the seemingly growing abundance of bass, the increasing algae, and the disappearing hatches of insects? None of that seemed to really be addressed and all those things are major concerns that many would argue aren't worth the exchange for some science experiment to get anadromous fish above LBC.

Is the end game of having a sockeye run up river really worth sacrificing the blue-ribbon trout stream that was the lower Deschutes?[/QUOTE]

Its not just sockeye that will benefit ,but IMO yes. Considering the current state of anadromous fish in the Col river I'd say they need every bit of help they can get...and nothing indicates the trout are being sacrificed. Surveys indicate the population hasnt changed from natural range of variability

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Old 04-04-2017, 03:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

Great letter!

I had heard some of the DRA complaints over the years and they had me concerned about the D. This however is the first time I have seen some actual data that shows what is happening. It's nice to see some real info, as opposed to the opinions that are passed as facts everywhere these days. I wouldn't say that I'm not concerned anymore, but at least now I'm somewhat educated on the intent of that temperature control project.

Thanks for posting!
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:30 PM   #8
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A very nice summary of fact vs. anecdotal observation. As someone who publishes in scientific journals, peer review is no trivial matter. Peer review would require all the points brought up in Don's letter be addressed with facts, not observations. To do that requires testing mechanisms not generating hypotheses.

As to Bill's comment on nutrient load, I believe it is a mis-perception. Don't let the fact Don did not focus on what the report probably has right take away from its potential importance. Nutrient loads, specifically nitrogen, could explain the emergence of the stemmed diatoms below the dam.
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

Thanks for posting Don's letter, AA. It's long and detailed, so it will take me some time for me to get my head around it. I gotta say Don is more knowledgeable on Deschutes River history, hydrology, and biology than anyone else I've ever met. I met him about 5 years ago and learned so much good info about the Deschutes, I went home and wrote a bunch of it down.

Here's some things I personally learned from Don Ratliff about the Decshutes:

-There was a single major flood, hundreds of years ago, that created most of the Lower Deschutes features, including the formation of Cedar Island. The flood of 1996 was much smaller in comparison.

-The Round Butte hatchery steelhead, which are being used as broodstock for re-introduction above Pelton, were originally taken from upper Deschutes wild stock.

-Northwest temperatures were cooler before an ocean change in 1977. There were temps above 70 degrees at Moody going back to the late 1970’s, usually in July or early August.

-If the Deschutes gets over 7000 cfs, they cannot pull all the water from the tower and have to pull from below. This (which is happening right now btw) results in losing some of the stored cold winter water and affects how much cool water they can spill in summer.

-The Metolius River actually gets colder as you go downstream because the spring that comes out of the Black Butte area is warmer than the others. The downstream springs are about 40 degrees. On a cloudy day, the Metolius arm of LBC runs about 5 degrees colder.

-The eruptions of the Newberry Crater and Mt Mazama filled central Oregon with pumice. Water seeps into the ground and tends to flow out through springs. This makes for very different flow characteristics than the Willamette or John Day, which depend much more on rainfall to maintain flow.
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

Good info Don. Some good insight....and, as he said, why doesn't anyone try to talk to the Tribes about this problem? I think I already know the answer to that question....
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dolichonyx View Post
A very nice summary of fact vs. anecdotal observation. As someone who publishes in scientific journals, peer review is no trivial matter. Peer review would require all the points brought up in Don's letter be addressed with facts, not observations. To do that requires testing mechanisms not generating hypotheses.

As to Bill's comment on nutrient load, I believe it is a mis-perception. Don't let the fact Don did not focus on what the report probably has right take away from its potential importance. Nutrient loads, specifically nitrogen, could explain the emergence of the stemmed diatoms below the dam.
You can find reports on fish passage, water quality and other studies on the portlandgeneral.com/Deschutespassage website. They are posted on the fact sheets and studies page under tables of reports submitted to the federal enercy commission. Also, there is a link to Relicensing reports-streamnet regional library. the water quality studies were the basis for design of the selective water withdrawal.
An independent contractor is completing analysis of a two year study to determine the dynamics of temperature, nutrients and algal production in the inflows, reservoirs and 100 miles of the lower Deschutes from year round sampling conducted in 2015-2016. When the analysis is completed and peer reviewed, the results will be published, anticipated spring of 2018. Those data will provide input to computer models that will be used to predict how changes in project inflows or outflow operations would affect the temperature, nutrient concentrations downriver
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

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Originally Posted by AlseaAssassin View Post
I think the problem is you're assuming that you have to or have sacrificed a blue-ribbon trout stream. There is ZERO scientific evidence that suggests the red band population has decreased from pre-post tower. Any other claim (at this point) is just conjecture/opinion/fear mongering. I think that was one of the main points of the letter, DRA is expressing opinion as fact or scientific evidence.


If you're last statement is corroborated by scientific evidence then no, IMO it's not worth trading one of Oregon's few blue ribbon trout streams for a sockeye run.
Thanks for posting. I have not talked to Don for a couple of years but he always answered any of the questions I had about the project and much more.

His letter is long, but well worth the time to read. I hope that everyone that has an interest in this issue will read it.

I have the opinion that with a strong Sockeye run the trout/char fishery above the dam will only get better. A Chinook run in the Crooked will improve the trout fishery there also. But like you said there is no trout decline below the dams so there will be a gain in the overall trout fishery.
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Old 04-05-2017, 01:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

Like a classic fly fisherman cast...Ratliff picks up the lines and lays them DOWN. Great evidence based position by Ratliff . Curious though, he did leave off his great resume the "Broken Oar Award" he accepted from ORAFS.
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:48 PM   #14
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Very well stated Don! When I was a tech at PGE I spent a lot of time with Don "hook and line" sampling out on the lake. He does have a few broken oar awards. Bob would have a good dozen or more if anyone bothered to keep track of all the boats he crashed.
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdog View Post
First off, I'll admit I'm far from being any sort of biologist or any other scientist, but I do try to keep up a little bit on this subject so my views are simply from layman's perspective. That being said............

That's a lot of words to convince us that the temperature changes are actually good for the fish. Well, great, I guess. But what about the changes that have also come along with that like the seemingly growing abundance of bass, the increasing algae, and the disappearing hatches of insects? None of that seemed to really be addressed and all those things are major concerns that many would argue aren't worth the exchange for some science experiment to get anadromous fish above LBC.

Is the end game of having a sockeye run up river really worth sacrificing the blue-ribbon trout stream that was the lower Deschutes?
I am glad to see a post like yours, since most of it is exactly what I would have said and I am glad I don't have to get people all riled up again in defense of anything PGE does.

I don't care what Don says and he spends a lot of time saying it. I have been fishing the D for 40 years and the caddis hatches the last few summers suck compared to other years and I mean suck. For those of you who don't know what that means, it means that they are not any good, they are minimal; they are worthless. I used to go over there for an evening and hook 60 to 70 fish a night. The last few years I am lucky to hook 15 to 20. But, more importantly, I don't see the caddis hatching in abundance like they used. They used to fill one's nostrils in the evening and now one is lucky to spot a few ovipositing. It stinks and I don't care what a retired or current PGE biologist or ODFW biologist says. I know what I have seen and it ain't much and it ain't what it used to be by far. I know that what I have seen does not count in the world of biologists, but I'll trust what I see more than what some biologist tells me.

Maybe they can introduce a strain of rainbow that likes to eat algae and thrives on it. Finally, as you said in your last line, it ain't worth it to have some half-assed sockeye run above the dam and destroy a world class trout fishery in the meantime. I am glad I got to fish it in its prime and it is too bad that those who will come behind me will not see it like that again. Adios trout and hello algae.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:20 PM   #16
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You can find reports on fish passage, water quality and other studies on the portlandgeneral.com/Deschutespassage website. They are posted on the fact sheets and studies page under tables of reports submitted to the federal enercy commission. Also, there is a link to Relicensing reports-streamnet regional library. the water quality studies were the basis for design of the selective water withdrawal.
An independent contractor is completing analysis of a two year study to determine the dynamics of temperature, nutrients and algal production in the inflows, reservoirs and 100 miles of the lower Deschutes from year round sampling conducted in 2015-2016. When the analysis is completed and peer reviewed, the results will be published, anticipated spring of 2018. Those data will provide input to computer models that will be used to predict how changes in project inflows or outflow operations would affect the temperature, nutrient concentrations downriver
PGE can post what they want and so can their hired independent contractors. I was very sad to read that the tribes will be getting an increasing ownership share of the power generating dams because it means they will be coopted into the defense of the SNAFU situation instead of being advocates for trout. Are they well-intentioned? I don't know. I just know that this river doesn't fish for trout like it used to and I also know that I don't see caddis like I used to and that goes from Trout Creek to Sherar's Falls. I'll take my own observations over their studies and jive. It ain't the same.
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Old 04-06-2017, 07:29 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jacksalmon View Post
I am glad to see a post like yours, since most of it is exactly what I would have said and I am glad I don't have to get people all riled up again in defense of anything PGE does.

I don't care what Don says and he spends a lot of time saying it. I have been fishing the D for 40 years and the caddis hatches the last few summers suck compared to other years and I mean suck. For those of you who don't know what that means, it means that they are not any good, they are minimal; they are worthless. I used to go over there for an evening and hook 60 to 70 fish a night. The last few years I am lucky to hook 15 to 20. But, more importantly, I don't see the caddis hatching in abundance like they used. They used to fill one's nostrils in the evening and now one is lucky to spot a few ovipositing. It stinks and I don't care what a retired or current PGE biologist or ODFW biologist says. I know what I have seen and it ain't much and it ain't what it used to be by far. I know that what I have seen does not count in the world of biologists, but I'll trust what I see more than what some biologist tells me.

Maybe they can introduce a strain of rainbow that likes to eat algae and thrives on it. Finally, as you said in your last line, it ain't worth it to have some half-assed sockeye run above the dam and destroy a world class trout fishery in the meantime. I am glad I got to fish it in its prime and it is too bad that those who will come behind me will not see it like that again. Adios trout and hello algae.
I'm posting personal opinion not professional opinion here. Do you have peer reviewed corroboration of hooking 70 trout in an evening? You must have been following a fish truck in the good old days when dumped in planters
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Old 04-06-2017, 08:11 PM   #18
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Spates - I wouldn't think 70 trout is unreasonable. I've caught absolute fire on that river before and I'm not a regular. I also know of steelhead fishermen that consistently have 30 fish days in Oregon. If you know a river well then anything is possible, and you can certainly be more in tune with a river than a group of people studying it for a couple years. These days I'd almost place more value in old timers stories than dirty science. Hard to tell when the research is clean and without a biased author grooming the data. Good science is hard to argue with, though.
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Old 04-06-2017, 09:01 PM   #19
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Spates - I wouldn't think 70 trout is unreasonable. I've caught absolute fire on that river before and I'm not a regular. I also know of steelhead fishermen that consistently have 30 fish days in Oregon. If you know a river well then anything is possible, and you can certainly be more in tune with a river than a group of people studying it for a couple years. These days I'd almost place more value in old timers stories than dirty science. Hard to tell when the research is clean and without a biased author grooming the data. Good science is hard to argue with, though.
It's really simple, if it's peer reviewed, it passes the smell test.
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Old 04-06-2017, 09:29 PM   #20
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Depends who the peers are.
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Old 04-06-2017, 10:01 PM   #21
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Depends who the peers are.
Please explain what that means.
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Old 04-06-2017, 10:35 PM   #22
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Please explain what that means.
I have a family member with a doctorate, and has worked on several research projects from Oregon to Alaska and beyond.

In their own words, peer review is overrated in many instances.

The problem seems to be that groups or clicks of peers just give thumbs up to each other's work to keep the grant money rolling in.

Dig deeper, some of the things that smell good are just the scientific equivalent of the febreeze they used to justify their work.

For what it's worth, I was told studies that provide open access to their info along the way are most credible.

If they hoard their info till published, good chance the data is cherry picked.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:00 AM   #23
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I'm posting personal opinion not professional opinion here. Do you have peer reviewed corroboration of hooking 70 trout in an evening? You must have been following a fish truck in the good old days when dumped in planters

First, notice that I said HOOKED 70, not landed. The number of fish hooked is a better measure of how well a river is fishing (i.e. How active the fish are in coming to the offering). Believe it or not, it is true and comes about from years of fishing various spots and finally zeroing in on those that were going to be most productive in the evening when the caddis used to hatch in prolific numbers and the fish came to them. This was accomplished after planters were no longer a part of the Deschutes plan.

As for your question about whether my hooking 70 trout in an evening was 'peer reviewed", are you an idiot or just a bad comedian?

So, go ahead and deny reality in defense of the new regimen which has destroyed insect life and fish and has increased production of algae and smallmouth. You can choose to be a defender of the PGE, the feds and the tribes. I wish I could do more to defend trout, but I"ll trust the DRA to do that. At least some group in trying do something about the current destructive patterns of PGE, the feds and the tribes.

In the meantime, go ahead and deny what others have seen and are attempting to correct. It is the new way of dealing with bad situations. Just deny they exist and try to move on. Or, as PGE is doing, just assert that everything is fine when it is not. Are all those guides who responded to Rick Hafele's survey and said the caddis hatches have diminished just making that up? Why would I say the hatches aren't the same, if they were and the river was fishing as it used to? If things were what they were, why would we lie and say they aren't? So, try to get unmired from the algae patches and get with what is really happening out there.

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Old 04-07-2017, 08:07 AM   #24
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I'm posting personal opinion not professional opinion here. Do you have peer reviewed corroboration of hooking 70 trout in an evening? You must have been following a fish truck in the good old days when dumped in planters
Rick Hafele, who knows bugs more than a million Dons or PGE guys or tribal guys, did a survey of Deschutes guides asking their opinions about how the trout fishery has changed since PGE started doing its thing in support of society's ridiculous attempt to atone for the sin of crushing the Deschutes anadramous runs with their dams. The guides who responded to the survey all indicated that the caddis hatches are not what they used to be.

It is amazing to me that on a fishing website, the vast majority of posters are in support of a stupid plan that is ruining a great trout fishery and chooses to buy into the bs of the tribes and PGE who say things are just fine with trout and insects, instead of listening to the guides and Hafele who only have the interest of trout and insect life in mind. Sure, they are out to make a buck, but why would they say things aren't the same, if they were. For, if they were, they would be taking their trips and catching a lot of fish. What would they gain by lying about things not being the same when they really are?
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:23 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by jacksalmon View Post
Rick Hafele, who knows bugs more than a million Dons or PGE guys or tribal guys, did a survey of Deschutes guides asking their opinions about how the trout fishery has changed since PGE started doing its thing in support of society's ridiculous attempt to atone for the sin of crushing the Deschutes anadramous runs with their dams. The guides who responded to the survey all indicated that the caddis hatches are not what they used to be.

It is amazing to me that on a fishing website, the vast majority of posters are in support of a stupid plan that is ruining a great trout fishery and chooses to buy into the bs of the tribes and PGE who say things are just fine with trout and insects, instead of listening to the guides and Hafele who only have the interest of trout and insect life in mind. Sure, they are out to make a buck, but why would they say things aren't the same, if they were. For, if they were, they would be taking their trips and catching a lot of fish. What would they gain by lying about things not being the same when they really are?

Jacksalmon you obviously didn't even bother to read to the letter or you would find out who is doing the mischaracterizing around this issue.

Do you really expect managers involved with this project to take guides observations seriously when the guide featured in the video is one of the primary "researchers" and makes blatantly false statements (such as "every trout has black spot disease"). IMO all credibility goes out the window when statements like that are made in video sanctioned by the DRA.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:33 AM   #26
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I have been fishing the D for 40 years and the caddis hatches the last few summers suck compared to other years and I mean suck.
Let me get this straight: SWW went online 7 years ago, we had an epic drought 2 years ago, the drought was immediately followed by the strongest El Nino on record, and you are vehemently saying the reduction in caddis the last 2 summers is due to SWW?
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:37 AM   #27
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It was brought to my attention that I inadvertently missed a page (page 5 below figure 2). That has now been added and the letter is posted in it's entirety (until I find out a screwed up somewhere else.....).

Which to Bill's point without page 5 he did not speak directly to nutrient discharge. With the inclusion of page 5 he does mention it.

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Old 04-07-2017, 08:37 AM   #28
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Jacksalmon you obviously didn't even bother to read to the letter or you would find out who is doing the mischaracterizing around this issue.

Do you really expect managers involved with this project to take guides observations seriously when the guide featured in the video is one of the primary "researchers" and makes blatantly false statements (such as "every trout has black spot disease"). IMO all credibility goes out the window when statements like that are made in video sanctioned by the DRA.
With this sentiment in mind, should PGE/R2 lose credibility based on the rebuke received from ORDEQ?
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:44 AM   #29
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With this sentiment in mind, should PGE/R2 lose credibility based on the rebuke received from ORDEQ?
Point taken. The methodological issues that occurred were refined by comments from DEQ then integrated and the study repeated (coming out in 2018). As far as I know DRA hasn't owned up to any of their mischaracterizations and/or omissions (publicly at least) of the situation. Nor have they presented their data/analysis for review (that I'm aware of) to be scrutinized at a professional level. Big difference and not a straight forward analogy IMO.

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Old 04-07-2017, 09:25 AM   #30
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Thanks AA for the informative paper.

Here is my question; Don states that we are managing the temperature to pre-dam levels and then states that the information used is from 1952 -1956 and 1958 the period immediately before completion of the dam.

Isn't that managing temperatures to mimic a time period when the Deschutes was experiencing large direct irrigation withdrawals that severely compromised water quality reflecting data that in no way represents historical temperatures or optimal river function.

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Old 04-07-2017, 10:04 AM   #31
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It is amazing to me that on a fishing website, the vast majority of posters are in support of a stupid plan that is ruining a great trout fishery and chooses to buy into the bs of the tribes and PGE who say things are just fine with trout and insects, instead of listening to the guides and Hafele who only have the interest of trout and insect life in mind.
JS - don't be mislead. The vast majority on these threads about the SWW are OPPOSED to it and the results of it thus far. The folks in favor are very much the minority but are vey active with posting their position.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:31 AM   #32
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Let me get this straight: SWW went online 7 years ago, we had an epic drought 2 years ago, the drought was immediately followed by the strongest El Nino on record, and you are vehemently saying the reduction in caddis the last 2 summers is due to SWW?
This.

Although I am new to this discussion, it seems that most of the complaints/negative comments have been about the past few years where we have had record high temps and low water. This year being a high water year will be a real test to see whether the past few years were a minor bump or a real trend.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:48 AM   #33
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I may not know every aspect of how peer reviewed science is accomplished, but I do know that personal observations while fishing don't mean diddly squat, scientifically speaking.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:17 PM   #34
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This year being a high water year will be a real test to see whether the past few years were a minor bump or a real trend.
Agreed.

Well, I’ve had time now to read Don’s letter 3 times and mull it over for a few days. Suffice to say, it strengthens my support for SWW, as it gives a much more detailed account for the reasoning for SWW and discounts, with evidence, a number of DRA’s false claims about SWW’s effects. Here’s the 7 things I thought were most notable from Don Ratliff’s open letter to DRA:

1) PGE does not have the authority to end SWW.

2) SWW was developed, in part, because bottom withdrawal violated the Clean Water Act by delaying seasonal temperature changes and raising late summer temperatures.

3) The tribes are 1/3 owners of the Pelton-Round Butte facility and will be majority owners in the future. They co-manage it. They also grant the non-tribal public fishing rights on the first 30 miles of river below the regulating dam, which they don’t have to. Thus, it’s in the Deschutes fishing public’s best interest to work with, not against the tribes.

4) PGE and Tribal Hydro may be able to reduce summer nutrient discharge and still run surface smolt collection if it is deemed necessary by the study due out in 2018.

5) The growth of trout and chinook smolt was stunted by cooler spring flows with bottom withdrawal.

6) Surface draw facilities, which pull warmer surface water in the spring, have been successful on the McKenzie, Sacramento, and Rogue Rivers.

7) The temperature differential between the Columbia and the Deschutes at Moody is mainly dependent on the flow of the Columbia. The Deschutes will only be consistently warmer in July if the Columbia is running abnormally high and cold, such as in 2012. (Might be the case this year too)
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:35 PM   #35
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Agreed.

2) SWW was developed, in part, because bottom withdrawal violated the Clean Water Act by delaying seasonal temperature changes and raising late summer temperatures.
This is an interesting point, because it's kind of damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-dont. They were in trouble with the CWA before the SWW for being too cold, but now they are being sued for violating the CWA for being too high.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:38 PM   #36
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Thanks AA for the informative paper.

Here is my question; Don states that we are managing the temperature to pre-dam levels and then states that the information used is from 1952 -1956 and 1958 the period immediately before completion of the dam.

Isn't that managing temperatures to mimic a time period when the Deschutes was experiencing large direct irrigation withdrawals that severely compromised water quality reflecting data that in no way represents historical temperatures or optimal river function.
The temperature management program required by deq and tribal water control board is to return the seasonal temperature pattern at the Madras USGS guage to what it would be without the reservoirs in place. it is determined based on the volume and temperature of combined Crooked, middle Deschutes and Metolius Rivers. It may be similar to pre dam conditions but is adjusted in real time to match existing inflows.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:40 PM   #37
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JS - don't be mislead. The vast majority on these threads about the SWW are OPPOSED to it and the results of it thus far. The folks in favor are very much the minority but are vey active with posting their position.
I couldn't agree more. Which is why I'm so surprised I haven't seen many of the most vocal anti-project fly fishing board members comment on Don's letter. At the very least I hope they all read it and ideally several times.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:05 PM   #38
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The temperature management program required by deq and tribal water control board is to return the seasonal temperature pattern at the Madras USGS guage to what it would be without the reservoirs in place. it is determined based on the volume and temperature of combined Crooked, middle Deschutes and Metolius Rivers. It may be similar to pre dam conditions but is adjusted in real time to match existing inflows.
Spates- You seem to know a lot about this project. I don't think you answered what Boat Tater was asking though. What temperature numbers are they trying to "mimic"? Are we trying to mimic historic temps, the same temps these fish would have experienced when these runs were actually in existence, or are we trying to return the river to a temperature after man had all ready screwed it up with irrigation withdrawals?
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:15 PM   #39
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Spates- You seem to know a lot about this project. I don't think you answered what Boat Tater was asking though. What temperature numbers are they trying to "mimic"? Are we trying to mimic historic temps, the same temps these fish would have experienced when these runs were actually in existence, or are we trying to return the river to a temperature after man had all ready screwed it up with irrigation withdrawals?
I believe what they are doing is measuring the temp and proportion of each inlet river and given the transit time, it's calculated what temperature that blend would produce "x" miles downstream from the inlets as if the dams weren't there.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:35 PM   #40
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I believe what they are doing is measuring the temp and proportion of each inlet river and given the transit time, it's calculated what temperature that blend would produce "x" miles downstream from the inlets as if the dams weren't there.
Ok, thank you. So, the temps they are using for the Deschutes and Crooked are pre- bowman, wickiup, crane, mirror pond, etc? If so, where did they get this temperature data from?

Sorry for all the questions I'm just trying to educate myself.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:41 PM   #41
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Ok, thank you. So, the temps they are using for the Deschutes and Crooked are pre- bowman, wickiup, crane, mirror pond, etc? If so, where did they get this temperature data from?

Sorry for all the questions I'm just trying to educate myself.
Others, please correct me if I am wrong, but I beleive there is a component that's based on modeled data, but its also taken on real-time LBC inflow data.
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Old 04-07-2017, 02:44 PM   #42
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Ok, thank you. So, the temps they are using for the Deschutes and Crooked are pre- bowman, wickiup, crane, mirror pond, etc? If so, where did they get this temperature data from?

Sorry for all the questions I'm just trying to educate myself.
While I'm not sure what specific years of temperature data they used to model I do know that Don referenced several years of temperature data from the 1950's and early 1960's. He attached one of the temperate profile graphs downloaded from USGS (which everybody has access too) in his letter. Spates would have the specifics.

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Old 04-07-2017, 03:24 PM   #43
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While I'm not sure what specific years of temperature data they used to model I do know that Don referenced several years of temperature data from the 1950's and early 1960's. He attached one of the temperate profile graphs downloaded from USGS (which everybody has access too) in his letter. Spates would have the specifics.

Thanks. I guess what I was getting at is both Wickiup and Crane prairie, for instance, were created in the 40's. So we aren't using true historical data, but data I would assume is warmer than if the reservoirs were not there. Correct?

This doesn't even take into account mirror pond or irrigation withdrawals at the time, both of which I'm assuming would also lead to warmer water.
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Old 04-07-2017, 03:29 PM   #44
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I think Bill Monroe hit on it early in the thread. This should be more about nutrients, and less about temperature. Based on the massive amounts if literature focusing on both lake and river systems, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) have potentially large impacts on algal composition. Google eutrophication

From an insect point of view, temperature would speed up development, basically moving hatches earlier in the year by a couple days for early hatches to, at most, a couple weeks for later hatches. Since insects are ectothermic, their developmental rates (especially maximum growth rates) are limited by temperature. When it is warmer, species develop faster. A biological example of heating degree days (if you don't know, google it). Temperature alone should not alter where caddis, stoneflies, and mayflies occur in the stream unless those changes are at least 3-4 degrees F, especially early in the season (they average under 2 F degrees according to the figures). It is the stemmed diatoms changing the habitat for insects that prefer relatively clean free stone riffles and runs. I doubt any aquatic entomologist would dispute that fact.

It is possible that temperatures and nutrients interact, but if the nutrient loads in the top water were lowered to pre-top water release levels, the stemmed diatoms and cloudy water would likely disappear.

As to peer review, if the review is only to friendly peers, it can be soft. If they do a either a blind review, or send to experts NOT involved on either side of the debate, it will be rigorous.
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Old 04-07-2017, 04:47 PM   #45
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The temperature management program required by deq and tribal water control board is to return the seasonal temperature pattern at the Madras USGS guage to what it would be without the reservoirs in place.
Can you (or anyone) explain why this requirement was established and why adjustments can not be made when achieving these temperatures requires releasing surface water that is nutrient rich and of poor quality?
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:40 PM   #46
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The temperature management program required by deq and tribal water control board is to return the seasonal temperature pattern at the Madras USGS guage to what it would be without the reservoirs in place. it is determined based on the volume and temperature of combined Crooked, middle Deschutes and Metolius Rivers. It may be similar to pre dam conditions but is adjusted in real time to match existing inflows.
Thanks for the reply.

Just to be sure that I understand exactly what you are saying the goal is to return the seasonal temperature pattern at the Madras USGS guage to what it would be without Roundbutte or Pelton reservoirs in place using temperature data recorded between 1952 - 1956 and 1958 completely ignoring the fact that at that time the watershed was already severely compromised and arguably in the worst condition it had ever been from a historical perspective.

That goal is determined based on the volume and temperature of combined Crooked, middle Deschutes and Metolius Rivers and may be similar to conditions before Roundbutte and Pelton dams were in place but is adjusted to match the temperatures currently flowing into those reservoirs from a still compromised watershed.

A couple of other questions:

1) Do you or anyone know what natural lake the native sockeye of the Deshutes River historically spawned in?

2) Of the 300 to 500 sockeye that have been passed over the dam can anybody tell me where they ended up?
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:58 PM   #47
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Thanks. I guess what I was getting at is both Wickiup and Crane prairie, for instance, were created in the 40's. So we aren't using true historical data, but data I would assume is warmer than if the reservoirs were not there. Correct?

This doesn't even take into account mirror pond or irrigation withdrawals at the time, both of which I'm assuming would also lead to warmer water.
I don't know why it would matter whether the reservoirs were in place above Bend. The Upper/Middle Deschutes is and was so drawn down that it had and has very little impact on the lower Deschutes. The Lower Deschutes River is mainly comprised of Metolius and Crooked River flows and has been since before the project.

To those who say the model doesn't mirror historic (pre-settlement) temperatures and flows, I say: Show me a large Oregon river that still has pre-settlement flows and temps! It doesn't exist. That was then, this is now and we have to make the best of what we have left.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:00 PM   #48
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3) The tribes are 1/3 owners of the Pelton-Round Butte facility and will be majority owners in the future. They co-manage it. They also grant the non-tribal public fishing rights on the first 30 miles of river below the regulating dam, which they don’t have to. Thus, it’s in the Deschutes fishing public’s best interest to work with, not against the tribes.

I believe they only grant the non-tribal-fishing public fishing rights on the west side of the first 30 miles below the regulating dam not both sides

5) The growth of trout and chinook smolt was stunted by cooler spring flows with bottom withdrawal.

While Don seems to think that warmer spring temperatures in the Deschutes caused larger numbers of fall Chinook to return above Shears starting in 2012 how would he explain that record numbers of fall Chinook entered the upper Columbia and all its tributaries,even tributaries other than the Deschutes, during that same time period . Unless you make that comparison all you have is a statistic that fits your agenda and no real proof.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:11 PM   #49
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I don't know why it would matter whether the reservoirs were in place above Bend. The Upper/Middle Deschutes is and was so drawn down that it had and has very little impact on the lower Deschutes. The Lower Deschutes River is mainly comprised of Metolius and Crooked River flows and has been since before the project.

To those who say the model doesn't mirror historic (pre-settlement) temperatures and flows, I say: Show me a large Oregon river that still has pre-settlement flows and temps! It doesn't exist. That was then, this is now and we have to make the best of what we have left.
And what we have left is great fisheries both above and below the dams so why would we risk that for what might be?

As far as why it might matter if those reservoirs were in place go jump in upper Wikiup and see how cold that spring fed water is before it passes through a series of warming reservoirs. If lower Deschutes was compromised of Metolius and Crooked River flows before the project it was because at the time the projects baseline was established the Deschutes was already severely compromised.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:30 PM   #50
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If lower Deschutes was compromised of Metolius and Crooked River flows before the project it was because at the time the projects baseline was established the Deschutes was already severely compromised.
That's right. I think we can all agree on that. I don't understand, though, why some expect PGE to achieve pre-settlement temps and flows, since we haven't restored the watershed. We don't even know what the flows and temps were.
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:32 AM   #51
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That's right. I think we can all agree on that. I don't understand, though, why some expect PGE to achieve pre-settlement temps and flows, since we haven't restored the watershed. We don't even know what the flows and temps were.
I honestly think you are missing the point. I think others would say it is hard to understand why those who conceived this project would use a baseline that reflects temperatures and flows from a time when the river was as badly compromised as it historically has ever been.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:02 AM   #52
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Jacksalmon you obviously didn't even bother to read to the letter or you would find out who is doing the mischaracterizing around this issue.

Do you really expect managers involved with this project to take guides observations seriously when the guide featured in the video is one of the primary "researchers" and makes blatantly false statements (such as "every trout has black spot disease"). IMO all credibility goes out the window when statements like that are made in video sanctioned by the DRA.

We obviously disagree. I'll take the side of guides, myself, Hafele, trout and the insects, instead of those who have interest in making money off the dams.

So, let's assume that fishing and insect life are as good as ever. Please explain to me what the guides/DRA hope to obtain by lying about the quality of both and filing a lawsuit to rectify the situation. Why wouldn't they just sit back and enjoy the good life and thank PGE/the tribes for all they have done?
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:07 AM   #53
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Let me get this straight: SWW went online 7 years ago, we had an epic drought 2 years ago, the drought was immediately followed by the strongest El Nino on record, and you are vehemently saying the reduction in caddis the last 2 summers is due to SWW?
Say what you want, but during my 40 years fishing the Deschutes, I have seen droughts/floods/El Ninos/La Ninas/tacos and quesadillas and the fishing/insect hatches have never been as bad as the last few years. Did you ever think that nature being as resilient as it is, it simply a few years of SWW to destroy the quality of the Deschutes insect and trout life? I suppose that would be too much to ask of all you PGE apologists.

Look, there is a basic difference between me and all you apologists. I believe it was a crime to have destroyed the anadramous runs in the basin in the first place. I believe a second crime was committed when those dams were relicensed instead of being torn down. You all believe that now the same perpetrators that destroyed those runs can recreate them. I believe they cannot and will destroy the trout fishery as a result of their effort.

I hope that I am wrong and that as a result of the plans now in place, the
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:13 AM   #54
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Let me get this straight: SWW went online 7 years ago, we had an epic drought 2 years ago, the drought was immediately followed by the strongest El Nino on record, and you are vehemently saying the reduction in caddis the last 2 summers is due to SWW?
In fishing the D for 40 years, I have seen droughts/floods/El Ninos/La Ninas/tacos and quesadillas and the fishing/insect hatches have never been as bad as the last few years, particularly the caddis situation.

Did it ever occur that since nature is very resilient, it just took the trout/insect life situation a few years to respond negatively to the SWW operations and that explains the situation rather than the factors you site which have never done this much harm to them in the last 40 years. Of course, that would be too much to ask of a PGE/tribal apologist.

Look, there is simply a basic different between me and you PGE/tribal apologists. I believe it was a crime to put in those dams in the first place and destroy the anadramous runs in the basin. I believe it was a second crime to have relicensed them. I believe the tribes have now been coopted in the game of destruction by being cut in on an ever continuing increase in the share of the profits from dam operations. They sold their souls for coins.

I hope I am wrong and that you all will have anadramous runs and a thriving trout population. Until I see that success, and I don't expect to, I will not believe it. I am from Missouri.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:17 AM   #55
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

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Originally Posted by boat tater View Post
Thanks AA for the informative paper.

Here is my question; Don states that we are managing the temperature to pre-dam levels and then states that the information used is from 1952 -1956 and 1958 the period immediately before completion of the dam.

Isn't that managing temperatures to mimic a time period when the Deschutes was experiencing large direct irrigation withdrawals that severely compromised water quality reflecting data that in no way represents historical temperatures or optimal river function.
You are correct. Let us not forget that besides the dam operations ruining the fisheries from the time of their beginning, the water users have deprived the rivers of much of their lifeblood and that will never change. So, even if the dams were taken out, the D is doomed anyway. That is the progress that humans inflict on most of their environment. Humans fail to realize that their populations cannot continue to grow without destroying the environment upon which they depend for flourishing.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:20 AM   #56
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

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Originally Posted by freespool View Post
I may not know every aspect of how peer reviewed science is accomplished, but I do know that personal observations while fishing don't mean diddly squat, scientifically speaking.


Do I need peer reviewed confirmation of my personal observation that there are no spawning salmon above the dams on the Willamette tributaries/Deschutes? Get real, dude, about your knock on personal observations.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:23 AM   #57
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

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Originally Posted by AlseaAssassin View Post
I couldn't agree more. Which is why I'm so surprised I haven't seen many of the most vocal anti-project fly fishing board members comment on Don's letter. At the very least I hope they all read it and ideally several times.
Have you asked the DRA to simply dismiss its lawsuit on the basis of Don's letter? Of course, there is no merit to their contentions because Don knows all.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:49 AM   #58
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

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Originally Posted by boat tater View Post
I honestly think you are missing the point. I think others would say it is hard to understand why those who conceived this project would use a baseline that reflects temperatures and flows from a time when the river was as badly compromised as it historically has ever been.
I'm not missing that point. I'm tossing it back to you and the DRA ilk. Tossing it back, asking you, Pribyl, the Hazels, etc: 1) What year's temperatures should PGE be trying to emulate? 2) What were those temperatures? and 3) In light of a degraded watershed, how the heck can PGE achieve it?

Remember, as stated in Don Ratliff's letter, PGE was violating the Clean Water Act with bottom withdrawal, before SWW, and had a legal obligation to change the flow regime.

Also keep in mind that, by asking to go back to bottom withdrawal, DRA is asking PGE to 1) Violate the Clean Water Act, and 2) Change the flow regime, which PGE doesn't have the authority to do.
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Old 04-08-2017, 09:14 AM   #59
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

[QUOTE=Wild Chrome;13989841]I'm not missing that point. I'm tossing it back to you and the DRA ilk. Tossing it back, asking you, Pribyl, the Hazels, etc: 1) What year's temperatures should PGE be trying to emulate? 2) What were those temperatures? and 3) In light of a degraded watershed, how the heck can PGE achieve it?

I've got an answer, how about none of them! This is the exact flaw in the plan IMO. Supposedly trying to take the river back to emulate a temp that was altered already seems to make no sense to me. What's the point? How about managing what we have to provide the most healthy conditions for the current fish population as opposed to trying to create some 'pre dam' conditions that match a graph?
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Old 04-08-2017, 09:43 AM   #60
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Default Re: Must read for anyone that cares about the Deschutes!

[quote=feathachucka;13989969]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Chrome View Post
I'm not missing that point. I'm tossing it back to you and the DRA ilk. Tossing it back, asking you, Pribyl, the Hazels, etc: 1) What year's temperatures should PGE be trying to emulate? 2) What were those temperatures? and 3) In light of a degraded watershed, how the heck can PGE achieve it?

I've got an answer, how about none of them! This is the exact flaw in the plan IMO. Supposedly trying to take the river back to emulate a temp that was altered already seems to make no sense to me. What's the point? How about managing what we have to provide the most healthy conditions for the current fish population as opposed to trying to create some 'pre dam' conditions that match a graph?

Right on, Chucka. The river environment was already compromised by withdrawals back in the 50s, including water temps. So, now, Don and PGE are trying to emulate those distorted numbers. There are many cold water fisheries throughout the West that are being managed to increase trout production and I have fished many of them, like Holter Dam on the Missouri and Flaming Gorge on the Green. This is the way the Deschutes used to be managed before this stupid idea to reintroduce anadramous runs above the dams became the mantra. The Deschutes was a great trout stream before they started this crap, which isn't going to succeed anyway.

This is like trying to atone for the murder of someone by picking the bullet out of the dead body. So, manage the D for what is left-----trout, trout and trout and don't ruin that. The hell with the anadramous bs. This ain't the Elwha. I applaud what they did on the Elwah where the way is now open to anadramous fish to do it themselves and they will because it is their nature. It ain't going to work on the Deschutes and the trout fishery will be destroyed in the process. Then, you got no trout and no anadramous fish, but plenty of smallmouth and algae.
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