Medford, Ore. -- A group working to restore the banks of Bear Creek in downtown Medford found out last week that some of their efforts have been illegal.
Jim Hutchins and groups of South Medford High School student volunteers have worked for the past five years planting thousands of native trees and bushes to stabilize the bank and proved shade to cool the creek.
The drought already made it tough enough to keep the plants alive. Now, an Oregon water law is making it tougher.
"We have hand watered with buckets from the creek, not knowing that you can not take surface water," Hutchins said.
Oregon law restricts using surface water such as water from creeks without rights to it.
"We're in between a rock and a hard place because we want to water the plants and save creek water," said Hutchins.
But he said they're not giving up. After he found out he and the volunteers were breaking the law Hutchins said he called the city and they came up with a solution.
"We're going to do it right. We're going to use water from the Medford irrigation system," Hutchins said.
They will start with their new plan on Monday, and will be out watering the plants once a week.
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