Eleven municipal watershed restoration projects underway in Oregon

In its inaugural year, the Drinking Water Providers Partnership provided funding to eleven watershed restoration projects that will protect or restore drinking water quality and native fish habitat in the Pacific Northwest.

In November 2015 the Partnership issued its first request for proposals - the first of its kind offered by a public-private partnership specifically for watershed restoration that benefits both native fish and drinking water supplies in the Pacific Northwest. The Partnership received twenty applications from Oregon and Washington, adding up to $792,362 in requested funds and was able to help support eleven of these, all in Oregon.

The proposals receiving funding include projects at a variety of stages, from initial planning to engineering designs to field implementation. For instance, the town of Eagle Point, Oregon is collaborating with the Rogue River Watershed Council to develop community-supported designs for city property along Little Butte Creek.  This 0.3 mile stretch will eventually be restored to stabilize the streambank and reduce the amount of sediment entering the creek, which will improve water quality and Coho salmon rearing habitat. 

Many projects focus on implementing in-stream or riparian habitat improvements. One such project is a collaboration between the town of Dallas, Oregon and the Polk Soil & Watershed Conservation District to place large wood back into the river channel which will slow down stream flow, creating pools and complex aquatic habitat. As a result, biodiversity is expected to increase, which supports overall environmental health while also helping the public water system reduce their water treatment costs.

Other projects are aimed at the causes of decreased water quality that may lie farther upstream. For example, the Umpqua National Forest is collaborating with the town of Glide, Oregon to repair and treat roads in the forested source watershed to reduce erosion.  As a result, Glide’s public water system will see more reliably clear water passing through their intake.

You can learn about all this year’s projects here.

The Partnership is gearing up for another round of funding for 2017 – subscribe to the Working Waters e-newsletter to make sure you get the announcement. We will feature updates of some of these current projects, with site photos, interviews, and more, in upcoming editions of our e-newsletter.

The Geos Institute is a founding partner in the Drinking Water Providers Partnership, which includes state and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations focused on using watershed restoration to help water managers address water quality and supply needs as the climate changes. Learn more at http://workingwatersgeos.org/source-water/dwpp

 

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