- Evaluating conditions on agricultural lands in the SIA
- Engaging landowners on what can be improved
- Monitoring water quality to show improvement
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is working to improve agricultural water quality in the state by creating Strategic Implementation Areas (SIA). This approach focuses on areas where agricultural water quality must be improved to protect public water sources. Currently, there are two SIAs in the Coquille Basin. The Lower Coquille SIA includes the Coquille River between Bandon and Coquille and its major tributaries. The water quality concerns here are insufficient riparian vegetation to keep water cool and bacteria pollution from livestock. The Lower North Fork and East Fork SIA includes the North Fork Coquille River and its tributaries between Myrtle Point and Fairview and the East Fork Coquille River and its tributaries up through Dora. The main water quality concern is livestock on riverbanks and in the water contributing to bacteria and sediment pollution. A major motivation for the creation of the Lower North Fork and East Fork SIA is to protect the drinking water source for the City of Myrtle Point.
Fortunately, most landowners in the SIAs are in compliance with agricultural water quality rules. However, if ODA has contacted you about water quality concerns on your land, please reach out to Coos Soil and Water Conservation District. We are a resource for voluntary conservation, and we have worked with several landowners in the SIAs to improve water quality on their land. We apply for grant funding to pay for most or all of the water quality improvements, and we design everything with the input and approval of the landowner.
A project we are currently working on is helping a landowner on the East Fork Coquille River reduce erosion. The river was severely eroding their property and they were concerned about losing more ground. Their first step was to keep cattle off the banks, which helped the banks stabilize and heal. We are going to plant willows this winter to further stabilize the banks and protect the property against future erosion.
If you live within one of the SIAs and would like help with water quality improvements, contact Andrew at (541) 396-6879 or email him at WQprojectmanager@coosswcd.org.