Genevieve Hubert

Genevieve Hubert

Genevieve Hubert, United States

Genevieve Hubert manages the Deschutes River Conservancy’s environmental water transactions programs: water leasing, permanent transfers, water conservation projects, the DRC’s ground-water mitigation bank, and the Blue Water fund raising program. Gen joined the DRC in November 2005. She coordinates with 8 irrigation districts and over 200 landowners to protect 60-90 cfs annually through the instream leasing program. She also tracks water policy, rule changes and legislation that affect instream programs, and manages the Avion Blue Water check-box donation program. Gen has presented the leasing and mitigation programs at environmental flow conferences in Australia, South Africa and the western United States. Gen holds degrees in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Oregon and Natural Resource Policy and Range Management from Oregon State University.

Presentation Title: Ground-water Mitigation Banking; a Tool for Environmental Flow Restoration in the Deschutes Basin

Growing populations in the western United States have increased the pressure on ground-water resources. Oregon’s upper Deschutes Basin is one of the fastest growing regions in the west and surface water in the upper Basin has been fully allocated for human uses since the early 1900s resulting in severely depleted streams and rivers in this high desert basin during the summer irrigation season. A comprehensive study by federal and state agencies confirmed that snow melt infiltrates and recharges the underlying aquifers, and discharge from these aquifers provide much of the surface water to streams in the Deschutes Basin. This study, and a follow up, confirm that ground-water withdrawals impact surface water flows, injuring surface water rights holders, including junior instream rights and protected rivers. To prevent these impacts, Oregon began to condition permit approvals for new ground-water uses in the upper Basin in the late 1990s pending the outcome of a collaborative, broad representative workgroup challenged with the development of a mitigation program (2002). Oregon’s Deschutes Basin Mitigation Program, developed subsequent to this closure, requires new ground-water users in the upper Basin acquire mitigation credits to offset the impacts of new ground-water development on surface water in the Deschutes Basin by restoring environmental flows to depleted streams and rivers. The approach taken is to use market based, voluntary tools to offset consumptive ground-water use on a long-term volumetric basis. The Mitigation Bank is a tool for restoring stream flow at relatively low cost and exists within the framework of a larger instream leasing program that protects up to 60 cfs of environmental flows in Basin streams. The Deschutes Ground-water Mitigation Program allows for water and economic development while shifting the costs of environmental flow restoration to new water users.

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