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Partnering to restore the Deschutes River

PGE and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs working together to protect generations of fish

The Pelton Round Butte Hydro project on the Deschutes River provides a clean energy source for more than 150,000 homes in Oregon. Co-owned and managed by PGE and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, this important plant helps us produce power, reduce the impact of previous generations on the Deschutes and work toward our ultimate goal: a healthy river and fish.

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, dams were built on the Deschutes with the intent to maintain the river’s natural health. But the limitations of the technology of the day led to a negative impact on the fish—including salmon and steelhead runs. Waters from the tributaries were not able to mix as they had before, resulting in water below the dam that was too cold in the spring and early summer and too warm in the late summer and fall. The fish passage systems failed as well, and salmon and steelhead could not return to the middle and upper Deschutes Basin. Without fish above the dams, the Tribes lost a central part of their culture and a primary source of food—undermining the communities’ ability to sustain their very way of life.

Today, our biologists and researchers monitor multiple sites on the river, year-round, measuring changes and analyzing data to make course corrections—when the science supports it. And we’ve seen success, with adult fish returning to the Deschutes for the first time in 50 years.

This multi-year restoration effort is one of more than 45 habitat conservation projects on the Deschutes, pursued and often jointly funded with many other local partner organizations. Some include removing fish passage barriers, stabilizing stream banks, restoring channels and floodplains and conserving water.

The Tribes generously share the Deschutes with all Oregonians, providing open access for fishing and recreation. In business, and in life, we are stronger when we work together. We’re proud of our decades-long partnership with the Tribes and the contributions of the local stakeholders to protect and restore the Deschutes.

Discover more about how we’re protecting the fish in the Deschutes.

Partnering to protect the Deschutes