25 Aug Kate Fitzpatrick
Kate Fitzpatrick, United State
Kate is Program Director for the Deschutes River Conservancy in Central Oregon. The mission of the DRC is to restore streamflow and water quality in the Deschutes Basin. Kate develops and implements collaborative, incentive-based strategies to restore water to the rivers and streams of the basin. She coordinates the Basin Study Work Group, a multi-stakeholder collaborative managing a multi-million dollar study to meet water needs in rivers and the community over the next 50 years. Kate has a BA in Geology from Colgate University and a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon.
Presentation Title: Basin Planning in the Upper Deschutes River: Rebalancing water use in a changing climate
Deschutes Basin stakeholders are in the midst of a multi-million dollar federal and state-funded study to find comprehensive and long-term solutions to rebalance instream and out of stream needs on a basin scale. While the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC) and partners have made significant progress restoring flows in some reaches, resolving long-standing flow issues requires an increased level of coordination amongst water interests and a unified strategy. The Basin Study is designed to develop solutions to meet instream, agricultural and municipal needs over the next fifty years under projected climate change scenarios. The Basin Study is unique in that it is managed by a 39-member multi-stakeholder Work Group, representing the full spectrum of interests around water. This intensive collaborative work is designed to result in a long-term water plan that is broadly-supported, durable and implementable. Surface water in the Upper Deschutes River basin has been fully allocated since the early 1900s, primarily for agricultural uses. Prior studies indicate an overall 260,000 acre-foot unmet annual average demand for agricultural, instream flow, and municipal needs, with environmental flows being the major need. The recent listing of the Oregon spotted frog under the Endangered Species Act, and associated legal challenges and regulatory pressures, have accelerated the urgency of developing solutions to restore flows. The study will refine supply and demand information, incorporate climate change projections, provide extensive analysis of options for addressing water imbalances-focused on how to rebalance water between uses and users-, model multiple water management scenarios, and complete a tradeoff analysis using a multi-criteria assessment. The study will inform the DRC’s Water Management Planning Program, designing the next generation of water management projects to help stakeholders in the Deschutes Basin resolve long-standing water management issues.