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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality awarded nearly $2 million to protect water quality

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Mark MacIntyre (

Seattle, WA -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $1,711,000 to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to help protect human health and the environment through a Nonpoint Source Program Clean Water Act (Section 319) cooperative agreement. This grant is given to states to implement environmental programs that address nonpoint source pollution in surface and groundwater in order to meet and maintain water quality standards.

"Providing funds directly to Oregon is an excellent example of EPA partnering with states to help address their unique and critical environmental challenges," said EPA Administrator Pruitt. "EPA is making investments like this grant to help empower states who know best how to protect resources, and grow their economy while solving real environmental problems in local communities."

Under this program, a total of 23 proposals were selected. Here are a few examples:

  • “Shading Amazon Creek from Private Commercial and Industrial Lands” - Long Tom Watershed Council, Eugene Oregon: ($29,923)

The Long Tom Watershed Council, in partnership with the City of Eugene and others, will use these resources to support an ongoing effort to increase riparian shading along Amazon Creek, an urban stream running through publicly held and privately owned lands.Riparian shading will help reduce stream temperatures and provide bank stability to protect against erosion.

  • “Siuslaw Riparian Restoration Continuous Water Quality Monitoring” - Siuslaw Watershed Council, Mapleton, Oregon: ($27,245)

Resources from this grant will go to the Siuslaw Watershed Council to support the Northwest Community Forest Coalition’s effort to convene, educate and support local groups in the acquisition and protection of coastal watersheds that are source water supplies for drinking water systems. The ultimate goal is the establishment of “community forests” in local municipal drinking water watersheds in Oregon Coastal communities.

  • “North Fork Burnt River and Deer Creek Stream Gauges” - Powder Basin Watershed Council, Baker City, Oregon: ($25,440)

Resources from this grant will support the Powder Basin Watershed Council’s collection of real-time flow data.  The data will be used to inform the  Oregon Department of Environmental Quality TMDL for the Powder Basin.  This project is part of a long-term effort to gather water quality data to access the effectiveness of land management activities (logging, grazing, restoration) on flood magnitudes, summer base flows and stream temperatures in two different sub-watersheds.  Waters in these watersheds are home to bull trout and red-band trout.

Nonpoint sources of pollution continue to be recognized as the nation's largest remaining cause of surface water quality impairments. Nonpoint source pollutants causing the majority of impairments to Oregon’s lakes, rivers and streams are pathogens, sediment, and nutrients.

“This EPA funding helps ensure many more miles of Oregon’s rivers, lakes and streams will enjoy the protections they deserve,” said ODEQ Director Richard Whitman. “These kinds of projects give local restoration efforts the helping hand needed to make a positive and meaningful difference where people live, work and play...around water!”

Nonpoint source pollution encompasses a wide range of sources that are not always subject to federal or state regulation. These sources include agricultural runoff, unpermitted urban runoff, abandoned mine drainage, failing onsite disposal systems, and pollution caused by changes to natural stream channels.

Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987, establishing a national program to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. Through Section 319, the EPA provides states, territories, and tribes with guidance and grant funding to implement their nonpoint source programs and to support local watershed projects to improve water quality. Collectively this work has restored over 6,000 miles of streams and over 164,000 acres of lakes since 2006. Hundreds of additional projects are underway across the country.

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For more about EPA’s Nonpoint Pollution Program:

For more about ODEQ’s Nonpoint Pollution Program: