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Deschutes Water Quality

Dedicated researchers and biologists

Our dedicated team of researchers and biologists monitor water quality closely and communicate the results with local, state and federal agencies and organizations on a regular basis.

Oregon DEQ and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon Water Control Board oversee our water quality program at the Pelton Round Butte hydro project. Learn more about one way these two agencies manage our work.

Studying water quality

We use the best science available to monitor a number of sites year-round throughout the watershed, from Lake Billy Chinook and its tributaries down to the mouth of the Lower Deschutes. This includes:

  • Continuous temperature logging
  • Dissolved oxygen, pH, and conductivity measurements
  • Monthly and annual water quality findings reports

See our Deschutes River water quality fact sheet for more information.

Latest research

We released our latest report — the Lower Deschutes River Macroinvertebrate and Periphyton Study — in April 2016. The study was performed to assess any changes to the ecosystem in the lower Deschutes River after the installation of the Selective Water Withdrawal system. We continue to work on the study. Learn more about our report.

Our three-year water quality study

In February 2015, we kicked off an extensive three-year water quality study in the Lower Deschutes River and its tributaries and the reservoirs and their major tributaries – the Metolius, Upper Deschutes and Crooked Rivers.

  • First two years: collect a variety of water chemistry parameters and algae samples to assess current conditions in the lower Deschutes River and project reservoirs.
  • Third year: analyze the data collected to better understand the sensitivity of the lower river to changing conditions, such as flow rates and climate change.