EPA, NOAA Disapprove Oregon’s Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program

On Jan. 30, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) disapproved of Oregon’s coastal nonpoint pollution control program. All states participating in the National Coastal Zone Management Program are required to develop a program describing how they will prevent and control polluted runoff in coastal waters.

The agencies originally proposed to disapprove Oregon’s program in December 2013. Following that decision, Oregon added new measures to protect coastal waters. However, according to the agencies, it does not yet have approved measures to protect small- and medium-sized streams from timber harvesting. Additionally, the program does not sufficiently protect salmon streams and landslide-prone areas from the effects of logging or reduce runoff from forest roads built before 1971.

Silt-choked runoff from poorly managed logging sites not only destroys habitat, but can kill salmon and trout fry and render headwater streams unusable for future spawning. Oregon has undertaken a rulemaking process aimed at improving fish-bearing stream protections, and EPA and NOAA pledge their support to help Oregon address other gaps necessary for developing an approvable coastal nonpoint pollution control program.

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