Native fish populations have declined dramatically in Oregon over the
past century and a half since industrial development came to our state.
Many populations of salmon, steelhead and trout are extinct or at risk
The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, created in the 1990s,
engages a broad reach of government agencies, watershed councils,
community groups and landowners working together to protect and improve
the water quality of Oregon's rivers and streams. A key part of this
work is accomplished through DEQ's Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring
Program. Since its inception in 1997, the program has assisted more than
50 partner organizations around Oregon to gather environmental data from
rivers and streams.
The DEQ Laboratory manages the volunteer program and trains and
equips community groups to gather data to answer local questions about
stream conditions. Local communities make use of the water monitoring
feedback to assist with their environmental stewardship efforts. In
addition, DEQ uses the data for watershed assessment and reporting, to
determine if water bodies meet water quality standards, and for
development of water quality improvement plans.
With the help of trained volunteers, DEQ monitors water quality at
more than 1,500 sites throughout Oregon.
Over the years, volunteers have gathered more than 6 million pieces
of data from over 1,500 locations around the state. DEQ Volunteer
Monitoring Coordinator Steve Hanson believes the program is one of the
state's best examples of involving Oregonians in solving environmental
problems. "The program empowers groups across the state to help inform
their decisions that affect water quality," says Hanson.
For more information about this program, see the
Volunteer Monitoring page.
Volunteers with the Yamhill Basin Watershed Council help DEQ
Program Coordinator Steve Hanson (right) gather water quality
samples at Cozine Creek, a tributary of the Willamette River.
John Betonte, Yamhill Basin Watershed Council, collects
water quality data with equipment lent by DEQ.