Living Waters Initiative

January 1, 1970

Friends of a Legacy (FOAL) is launching the Living Waters Initiative (LWI) with the purpose of improving the water sources and habitat distribution for horses, wildlife, and livestock in the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA). The Ten-Year Initiative has two principal goals:

  • First, repairing and improving at least 20 reservoirs by cleaning, deepening, and restoring the water-holding capacity of existing reservoirs; improving spillways with bentonite matting and rip-rap rock armor; and adding sedimentation catch ponds to extend a reservoir’s life by catching silt upstream. During the last decade, we have had to revisit reservoirs to address degraded spillways and re-sedimentation issues. These improved design features for the reservoirs will reduce annual maintenance and extend their lives while at the same time providing more reliable water.
  • Second, distributing the viable reservoirs more evenly throughout the HMA so that the horses, stock, and wildlife can utilize the forage more fully. Currently, the concentration of productive ponds falls within the southern tier of the 120,000-acre HMA. This has led to over-utilization of forage around those reservoirs and under-utilization of the middle and northern reaches of the HMA.

The increasing drought conditions of recent years have underscored the need to strengthen retention of the HMA’s water resources. Our photos remind us of “the good ole’ days” but the seasons of adequate water have been shrinking, adding urgency to the Living Waters Initiative. Compounding the changing climate has been the significant decrease in the “produced water” flowing into Dry Creek from the Oregon Basin oil field. The result has been that Dry Creek is actually “dry” during the critical, arid months of the summer putting greater pressure on reservoirs.

Reservoir Construction: FOAL, funded by a generous gift from the Draper Foundation, recently completed work on Lotus using the plans we will use on the LWI reservoirs.