Communities throughout southern Oregon rely on the Rogue River and its tributaries as a drinking and irrigation water source, and as a recreation destination. Cool and clean water benefits a multitude of uses as well as fish and wildlife populations.
The Rogue River Watershed Council works to address issues that pollute and warm the streams in our region. We are developing a collaborative Water Quality Improvement Program that will help us achieve our goal of cleaner water. Specifically, the intent of the program is to address persistent water quality problems that include temperature, dissolved oxygen, sedimentation, bacteria and nutrients.
Projects such as planting native tree and shrub species along streams, converting from flood to sprinkler irrigation, and reducing stormwater in urban areas provide water quality benefits including decreased stream bank erosion, increased shading, and decreased nutrient bacteria entering the stream.
Stream Smart is a web and social media based education and outreach campaign to increase awareness about choices we make and the impact they have on water quality. The goal is to change people’s behavior to improve water quality. Individual practices implemented at our homes, farms, and businesses, such as choosing to use phosphorus-free fertilizer, utilizing and managing stormwater and runoff, managing yard, livestock, and pet wastes, upgrading irrigation systems, and properly maintaining septic systems can protect our water quality.
Stream Smart was developed as a joint effort by entities within the Bear Creek watershed working to increase awareness and knowledge by urban and rural residents about our individual impact on water quality in our watershed. The entities involved in this program include: Jackson County; the Cities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Jacksonville, and Central Point; the Talent, Medford, and Rogue River Irrigation Districts and other partners including the Rogue River Watershed Council, Rogue Valley Sewer Services, Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District, and Rogue Valley Council of Governments with support from the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality.
West Irrigation Conversion Project (2012)
This project involved converting a 5.8-acre parcel along South Fork Little Butte Creek from flood to sprinkler irrigation. Concerns over high temperature runoff, increased sediment load from erosion, and bacteria entering the creek made this an important project. The watershed council partnered with Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District to design an irrigation management plan.
A K-Line sprinkler system using approximately 3.2 gallons/minute was installed in two weeks. This particular system was chosen because it reduces the amount of tailwater reentering the creek. The heads provide water to all sections of the field in 12-hour sets. The landowner can easily move the system without getting wet, and the time previously spent moving hand lines is expected to be cut in half.
Upper Rogue Community Center Stormwater Retention Project (2010 – 2011)
In 2009, the city of Shady Cove was asked by the DEQ to implement a plan to reduce sediment and nutrient inputs to the Rogue River. As the Upper Rogue Community Center was looking to build a new addition, including a paved parking lot and increased roof area, this site was an appropriate stormwater retention location. A storm water retention system was installed in the parking lot of the Upper Rogue Community Center to capture roof water runoff from the new building addition. Two storage chambers were installed, one chamber of 12,000 gallons was designated for fire protection and another chamber of 8,000 gallons will be used to supplement the landscape irrigation during the summer. During the winter months the Upper Rogue Community Center will manage the storage system by removing water to an adjacent percolation area between storms. By managing storage during winter 20-24 thousand gallons of stormwater will be removed from the storm drains annually and 10-15 thousand gallons will be saved for irrigation.
The storage bladders were installed in July of 2010 as the first phase of the Community Center construction project. In May and early June of 2011 the parking lot was paved and the landscaping was completed. The storage unit will now be managed to meet our goals of removing 20-24 thousand gallons of storm run-off from the Community Center roof.