PORTLAND, Ore. August 25, 2003. As discussions about river
management and use continue among policymakers, environmentalists,
a new book is released that looks at one of the stranger rivers
on the planet: Oregon’s Deschutes River.
In the book, “A Peculiar River: Geology, Geomorphology, and Hydrology of
the Deschutes River, Oregon,” (American Geophysical Union [AGU] 2003),
research hydrologist Gordon Grant, who co-edited the book along the Jim O’Connor
of the US Geological Survey, says the book should appeal beyond scientists
to a broader readership of recreationists, naturalists, fishermen, and natural
managers, who want to understand how rivers work.
“We wanted to weave together a set of individual studies that look at various
aspects of the Deschutes River, including the geology, geological history of
floods, hydrology, fisheries, and the effects of dams on this river into a coherent
picture of how the river behaves and responds to human interventions like dams,” says
Grant explains that the Deschutes River possesses several unique
- It has the most constant streamflow of any river of its size
in the United States and behaves like a large, spring-fed creek.
possesses one of the lowest sediment yields of any river in the
- The modern flow regime, both before and after dam construction,
is largely ineffective
in changing the river’s form or character.
- At the same time, the river
has experienced truly cataclysmic floods in the past by almost every known
mechanism for generating floods; these
floods have left
a lasting legacy of rapids, islands, and bars that define much of the character
of the modern river.
- The distribution of fish found in the river is closely
tied to its geological setting.
Although the book is primarily a scientific monograph, published
as part of AGU’s
Water Science and Application series, the diverse topics covered in the 9 papers
should be of interest to others. “One paper in the book examines the origin
of rapids on the Deschutes,” Grant says, “which should appeal to
the many thousands of white-water enthusiasts who boat the river every summer.
Another paper explores why the fish are where they are, which should appeal to
fishermen.” An entire section is devoted to the effects of dams on the
Deschutes and other rivers, which should be of interest to policymakers, resource
specialists, and environmental and industry groups involved with dam issues.
Contact AGU customer service to order the book at (800) 966-2481 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gordon Grant, a research hydrologist with the Pacific Northwest
Research Station, has been studying rivers for nearly 20 years.
Before that, his interest in fluvial
processes was sparked by a decade-long career as a white-water river guide.