I walked, paddled, and generally shot the breeze with Oregon Attorney General John Kroger on Wednesday.
He's a cool guy as evidenced by his flannel shirt, ability to paddle a canoe, and concern for Oregon environmental issues.
Dave, from Wanderlust Tours led us on nature walk and facilitated a conversation about habitat restoration efforts on the Deschutes River, efforts which Kroger heartily approved of.
On our walk, Kroger listened and asked questions and told us about how his bum-ankle is on the mend. He's an active guy, both physically and politically, sending out endless PR notices after he gets in his morning jog.
Kroger outlined two big challenges that the Deschutes River is up against:
1) Temperature. Many sections of the river are too hot for fish (Mirror Pond? Most definitely).
2) Lack of fish. Actions to reintroduce steelhead to the river must be ramped up.
Kroger also made it clear that the issues threatening Oregon rivers now are not the traditional polluting factories and illegal dumpings of the past. We seem to have a better handle on that. Now the environmental conversation is turning to focus more on aquatic health issues like river temperature, bank erosion, silt build-up and general river habitat. At present, all Oregon rivers fail federal clean water standards, Kroger said.
It wasn't all doom and gloom.
"There's been an amazing amount of progress," Kroger said of restorative efforts on both Wychus Creek and the Deschutes River on the stretch through Bend.
"There's a real hope that comes from large-scale restoration projects in the water shed."
Because the D.O.J can't be the river police, Kroger urged citizens to contact him whenever they spot something dirty going on. If you have a environmental crime to report, you can do so here, through Kroger's website.