Agricultural Water Quality Program
In Yamhill County we have an Agricultural Water Quality Plan that was developed in cooperation with Oregon Department of Agriculture, Yamhill and Polk County SWCDs, and a local advisory committee that consists of local land owners. The plan sets guidelines for minimizing pollution from agricultural sources into creeks and rivers.
The intent of the plan is to:
Enhance water quality, addressing state and federal standards
Encourage voluntary conservation efforts by landowners
Conduct education programs to inform operators of water quality issues and conservation solutions
Allow farmers and rural landowners the flexibility to choose appropriate methods to meet water quality goals
Provide enforcement provisions for landowners, operators or occupiers who refuse to work towards meeting water quality standards
At the District; we work with rural landowners to prevent erosion of sediment and nutrients (chemicals, manure, etc) into our streams and rivers as well as re-establishing riparian buffers through promoting Best Management Practices (BMPs). The District works as a non-regulatory body, often times contacting landowners, in response to water quality complaints or concerns. We work with landowners and operators to reduce their impact on water quality though mutually beneficial solutions to both landowners and the land.
What Can I Do to Improve Water Quality?
No property, management strategy or land use goals are the same. Likewise, not every BMP is a perfect solution to improve water quality on every property. BMPs, such as; buffer strips, cover cropping, and manure storage, vary in cost to implement, maintenance, and physical requirements, etc. At the District we provide free site visits and technical assistance to landowners on implementing BMPs to improve water quality on their property. If you have questions or concerns please Contact Marie Vicksta at the District, 503-472-1474 ext 108.
Middle North Fork of the Yamhill River Focus Area:
In 2012, the District identified the Middle North Fork of the Yamhill River as a focus area for agricultural water quality work. The North Yamhill River is 303(d) listed for temperature and bacteria and is listed as a water body of concern for sedimentation. The North Yamhill and many of its tributaries are listed as fish bearing streams which makes lowering stream temperatures and sedimentation in this watershed a priority for improving conditions for native migratory fish. The high levels of E.coli also presents human health risks which makes lowering levels of E.coli a priority.
We have been working to increase outreach efforts in this area on reducing erosion and promoting streamside buffers and increase the number of on the ground projects implemented in this area.
Here are some fact sheets on practices and techniques that can be implemented in agricultural situations in order to minimize erosion and nutrient run off into streams and creeks.