#EnjoyProtectRespect is a widespread public awareness campaign that seeks to engage our community in the protection of the Deschutes River. At the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, we believe that community
education and active engagement in stewardship activities are at the core of long-term conservation and
watershed protection. With our public awareness campaign, #EnjoyProtectRespect, we seek to raise awareness about the role that community members play with regard to impacts on the health of the Deschutes River.
As the population in Bend has been growing and recreation on and along the Deschutes River has been
increasing, local residents and visitors alike have “discovered” the Deschutes. Every summer, thousands of
paddlers, floaters, and swimmers flock to the river to recreate. Within a short stretch of the Deschutes,
hundreds of recreators can be found on the river on a given day, and high levels of recreation are impacting the river. Hundreds of pounds of garbage— bottles, cell phones, flip flops, keys, wallets—are ending up in the
Deschutes every single year, and the thousands of individuals are making choices that are negatively affecting
the Deschutes River. We believe that those same individuals can be empowered to make different choices that
will have a positive effect on our river and that together, as an engaged and informed community, we can enjoy, protect, and respect the Deschutes River.
In alignment with this campaign, we are excited to share two upcoming initiatives that will further engage our
community in the protection and restoration of our river. The Riverbend South Access and Restoration project, which will be completed this spring downstream of the Bill Healy Bridge, is a habitat restoration project that includes restoring designated access points, creating habitat for fish and wildlife, and fencing off and restoring riparian areas that have been eroded. The designated access points will allow recreational usersto access and enjoy the river without harming habitat, and community volunteers and students will work with the education team at the Watershed Council to take part in revegetating this site. Funding for this project comes from Bend Park and Recreation District along with grants received from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Sunderland Foundation, and the Bend Sustainability Fund, a project of Visit Bend. Additionally, the annual Deschutes River Cleanup will once again take place to help keep our river beautiful and protect water quality for fish and wildlife. We are excited to work with hundreds of volunteers this upcoming July 29th to remove harmful weeds and instream debris and clean up litter throughout various streamside locations.