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Hockey Helps Deschutes River Restoration

Some Oregonians are watching the National Hockey League series here, not to count the goals, but to see how much water the National Hockey League uses for its ice and stadium operations.  The NHL has committed to putting that amount back into the Deschutes River.

The NHL is able to do that buy purchasing what are called water restoration certificates. The program was started a year ago by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

Rafters paddle through Big Eddy rapids on the Deschutes River near Bend.

Michael Clapp / OPB

Certificate sales are used to pay the holders of water rights to keep water from being diverted from critically depleted rivers and streams.

Todd Reeve is the Vice-President of Watershed Programs for BEF.

He says the non-profit works with on-the-ground groups like the Deschutes River Conservancy to create a voluntary market for water restoration.

Reeve says the effort will “connect the dots between the people that are using water everywhere and the places that need money to help facilitate the restoration of water.”

The NHL is the first professional sports organization to work with the program. The league has committed to restoring at least a million gallons of water to the Deschutes River.