Whychus Creek

30 – 160 CFS Dual Farmers Screen

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Sisters, Oregon
  • Basin: Deschutes
  • Owner: Three Sisters Irrigation District
  • Installation Date: April, 2011
  • Project Partners: USFS, NOAA/NMFS, ODFW, DEQ, USFWS, Three Sisters Irrigation District, Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, River Design Group, Anderson Perry and Associates, Specialty Metal Fabrication, and FCA.
  • Project Funding Provided By: Three Sisters Irrigation District, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), the US Bureau of Reclamation, TSID, US Forest Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Forest Foundation, and Title II RAC.

This Farmers Screen project addresses the following issues:

This extensive restoration project on Whychus Creek in central Oregon includes in-stream fish passage, floodplain reconnection, and a low maintenance Farmers Screen. The project was fully operational for the 2011 irrigation season.

Site Challenges:

• Wide operating range
• Extremely high sediment load
• Unstable stream bed

Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID) diverts up to 160 CFS from Whychus Creek, a tributary to the Deschutes River. TSID has historically diverted water using a stream spanning low head dam and did not have a fish screen in place. The diversion is located on US Forest Service land in the National Forest where a re-introduction of summer Steelhead is occurring. The project goals included in-stream fish passage at the dam, reconnection of the flood plain, and installation of a fish screen capable of protecting fish while reliably supplying irrigation water through a wide range of stream flows and diverted flows in a system with high levels of glacial silt.

The 160 CFS maximum capacity fish screen is the largest Farmers Screen installed to date. It is a dual design which allows for a very wide range of diverted flows (30 to 160 CFS) while still meeting NMFS criteria. This Farmers Screen has built in sediment management which allows continuous flushing of sediment from under the screen during the high sediment times of the year. The screened water leaves the screen structure and enters two pipelines that carry the screened water to a reservoir and directly to farmers and ranchers within the district. By-pass flow carries fish and debris back to Whychus Creek through a pipeline.

The TSID Whychus Creek project is a great example of meeting the needs of both the agricultural community and the environment.