Better snowpack, but drought concerns linger in Oregon - KPTV - FOX 12

Better snowpack, but drought concerns linger in Oregon

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BEND, OR (AP) -

Irrigation season is under way in central Oregon, and while the state's snowpack is better than it was last year, the effects of last year's drought linger.

The Bulletin newspaper of Bend reports that several reservoirs in the region failed to fill to capacity before irrigation season began Friday, with irrigation districts delivering water to ranchers, farmers and other water rights holders. The irrigation season typically runs into October.

Water managers were unable to fill Wickiup Reservoir to capacity after it was drawn down significantly last year, and they released more water than usual last month to provide higher levels in the Deschutes River for the spotted frog to breed. The frog is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Thanks to the early releases and last year's draw-down, it could be tough for the Wickiup to be replenished by snowmelt this irrigation season.

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