The purpose of this step is to help the planning partners collectively identify challenges currently facing the community, and to start mapping potential solutions or opportunities to address any water quantity, water quality, or ecological issues. This planning step represents the data gathering and assessment phase. Oregon’s 2012 Integrated Water Resources Strategy provides a statewide framework of critical issues that can be used for reference.
This step of the planning process is also an opportunity to tell the story of what makes the area unique, describing the economic, social, cultural, and landscape characteristics of the community. This includes the physical characteristics of water resources, such as major rivers, tributaries, aquifers, and other resources, noting whether they are rain, snow, or spring‐fed systems. Extensive planning efforts in the 1960s through the early 1990s examined water resources issues for most areas of the state and resulting basin programs describe how water can be allocated in the future. Planning groups should consider existing basin program policies, objectives, and classifications (OAR Chapter 690, 500‐520), and any other existing legal protections, when characterizing water resources issues.
In addition to surface water, describe the availability of groundwater resources to the extent known. Describe, if possible, where additional data is needed. Note any groundwater protected areas and the status of groundwater in these areas. Existing data or basin investigations are available from the Water Resources Department and the U.S. Geological Survey.
The place‐based plan should describe water quality –both surface water and groundwater– in the planning area. Items to consider for water quality include: designated beneficial uses, impaired water bodies, groundwater management areas, total maximum daily loads, permitted discharges, non‐point sources of pollution, and any monitoring or relevant publications that can be used to characterize surface water or groundwater quality conditions.
The plan should include a general description of the ecological health of the planning area. This section should include a description of key species and habitats. Describe the historical and current presence of aquatic species, including any migratory fish, listed species under the Endangered Species Act with their current status, and species on ODFW’s State Sensitive List. Include a discussion of limiting factors that affect aquatic habitats in the watershed. As an example, the 2006 Oregon Conservation Strategy provides a list of limiting factors to consider: water quantity (low flows), water quality, invasive species, water temperature, sedimentation, passage barriers, degraded riparian condition, and loss of habitat complexity. Refer to Appendix C for technical resources and publications to help complete Planning Step 2.
Example Step 2 Summary Materials
Two planning groups have developed summary reports for Step 2:
Upper Grande Ronde Sub-Basin – State of Water Resources Report – February 2018
Mid-Coast Region – Mid-Coast Water Resources Characteristics – February 2018