The Hood River Watershed sustains the Hood River Valley in countless ways – we depend on the river for agriculture, drinking water, recreation, industry, supporting native fish populations, and much more. Natural and human events have greatly impacted the watershed over time and shaped the way we connect with the river and each other. Join us for an exploration of pivotal events and actions over the past 30 years that have shaped the watershed as we know it today.
In the fall of 2006, a massive debris flow made its way from Mt. Hood to the Columbia River, scouring the Hood River and depositing 0.7 million cubic meters of sediment at the Hood River Delta. This deposit contributed significantly to what we know today as “The Spit”, a recreational hub for residents and visitors from afar. In 2010, the Powerdale Hydroelectric Dam was removed, improving access to 100 miles of upstream habitat for native fish populations. Just two years after the removal, Pacific lamprey were recolonizing the watershed after an 87 year absence. Over the last 30 years, a diverse partnership of local organizations, Tribes, farmers, irrigation districts, and governments have worked together to restore degraded stretches of the Hood River, including the removal of 55 fish passage barriers, the placement of over 6,000 pieces of large wood in streams to improve habitat, and the piping of more than 100 miles of open irrigation canals for water conservation. These efforts have significantly improved habitat for native fish populations in the watershed while efficiently providing irrigation for one of the most prolific agricultural regions in the world.
Cindy Thieman has been the Coordinator of the Hood River Watershed Group since 2012, where she focuses on projects ranging from in-stream habitat restoration, irrigation district upgrades, and fish passage. Before coming to the Watershed Group, Cindy was the Restoration Program Director for the Long Tom Watershed Council in Eugene, where she worked with farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners in the Long Tom to develop restoration projects that improved water quality and habitat. Cindy received a MS in Biology and also in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon.
Les Perkins grew up in the Hood River Valley and graduated from Hood River Valley High School. He earned a BS in Biology from Lewis and Clark College. Les has owned his own business and worked for a local laboratory as a microbiologist. In 2001, Les became the youngest person to be elected to the Hood River County Board of Commissioners, and he is now the longest serving Commissioner. Perkins also helped start Farmers Conservation Alliance, a local non-profit organization focusing on energy and water issues, where he worked for 10 years. In 2015 he became the manager for Farmers Irrigation District.
GO! Sense of Place
Where – Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River, Oregon
Cost – $10 (suggested donation)
More info: https://gorgeowned.org
About Gorge Owned
Gorge Owned is a member-supported 501(c)(3) community-building organization working toward resilient, thriving communities in the Columbia Gorge. Through community conversations, powerful lectures, and a passion for lifting up locals, we help people deepen their connections to place and each other.