Oregon Statutes - Chapter 541 - Watershed Enhancement and Protection; Water Development Projects; Miscellaneous Provisions on Water Rights; Stewardship Agreements - Section 541.375 - Watershed enhancement projects; grant program; criteria for approval; acquisition of interest in land or water.

(1) Any person, tribe, watershed council, soil and water conservation district, community college, state institution of higher education, independent not-for-profit institution of higher education or political subdivision of this state that is not a state agency may submit a request for funding for or for advice and assistance in developing a project under ORS 541.351 to 541.415. A state agency or federal agency may apply for funding under this section only as a coapplicant with one of the other eligible entities.

(2) The request under subsection (1) of this section shall be filed in the manner, be in the form and contain the information required by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

(3) The board may establish a grant program through soil and water conservation districts organized under ORS 568.210 to 568.808 and 568.900 to 568.933 that provides funds for local implementation of watershed enhancement, education and monitoring efforts.

(4) The board may fund implementation of action plans based on a watershed assessment that addresses water quality and aquatic resources of the watershed.

(5) A project may use mechanical, vegetative or structural methods including, but not limited to, management techniques, erosion control, streambank stabilization, forest, range or crop land treatment, site specific in-stream structures, acquisitions or leases of land or water rights from a willing owner, watershed assessments, landowner incentives and action plan development, implementation and monitoring.

(6) The actions of a soil and water conservation district carried out pursuant to a grant program established by the board under subsection (3) of this section shall not be subject to review and approval by the Natural Resources Division under ORS 561.400.

(7) The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board shall approve for funding only those projects that:

(a) Are based on sound principles of watershed management;

(b) Use methods most adapted to the project locale;

(c) Meet the criteria established by the board under ORS 541.396; and

(d) Contribute to either:

(A) The improved health of a stream, lake or reservoir and toward the achievement of standards that satisfy the requirements of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (P.L. 92-500), as amended; or

(B) The restoration of wildlife, habitat or native fish.

(8) The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board may fund a project for the restoration of a riparian area or associated upland that is carried out in conjunction with a storage structure. However, the board shall not approve funding for any proposed project that consists solely of construction of a storage structure for out-of-stream use.

(9) The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board may fund projects involving the acquisition of lands and waters, or interests therein from willing sellers, for the purpose of maintaining or restoring watersheds, habitat and native salmonids. Interests in these lands and waters may be held by local, state and federal agencies, tribes, not-for-profit land conservation organizations and trusts, state institutions of higher education, independent not-for-profit institutions of higher education or political subdivisions of this state, as long as the entity continues to use the land or water for the purposes specified under section 4b, Article XV of the Oregon Constitution.

(10) If the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board approves funding for a project under this section that requires the applicant to obtain a permit or license from a local, state or federal agency or governing body, the board shall not disburse any funds to the applicant until the applicant presents evidence that the agency has granted the permit or license. [1987 c.734 §7; 1989 c.171 §71; 1995 c.187 §5; 1997 c.7 §8; 1999 c.1026 §13]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008