One of the biggest criticisms of the Environmental Assessment produced by the Forest Service is that it uses the same assumptions that HDR used in its reports. The Forest Service compared the SWIP’s impacts on the creek to only one alternative: An alternative in which the City of Bend would continue to use the aging pipelines until they break. However, the Forest Service did not address what would happen after the City stops using Tumalo Creek’s water (in the event that the pipes do break, or, more hopefully, that the City decides to stop using the pipes to prevent them from breaking).
Once the City stops withdrawing water from Tumalo Creek, all of the water it currently diverts into its pipes will be put back in the stream, which means more water will flow over Tumalo Falls, through Shevlin Park, and into the Middle Deschutes River. This scenario was not analyzed, although many people who submitted comments argued that it should have been.
Check out some of the comments submitted at our new Environmental Assessment page!