Oregon Statutes - Chapter 541 - Watershed Enhancement and Protection; Water Development Projects; Miscellaneous Provisions on Water Rights; Stewardship Agreements - Section 541.384 - Watershed management program; project funding; high priority watersheds.

(1) The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board shall initiate a watershed management program that relies on the establishment of voluntary local watershed councils comprised of residents, state and federal agency staff, members of federally recognized Indian tribes and other citizens interested in the management of watersheds and that provides for the development by these partnerships of local plans that may include but are not limited to the assessment of the watershed condition, the creation of a watershed action plan and a strategy for implementing the action plan. The program shall focus state resources on the achievement of sustainable watershed health, including funding major projects that contribute to the overall health of a watershed. In addition, the board shall fund smaller, voluntary projects for watershed enhancement and for restoration of riparian areas and associated uplands.

(2) In carrying out the program under subsection (1) of this section, the board may designate high priority watersheds. However, the designation of high priority watersheds is intended only as a management tool for state agencies in allocating resources to support coordinated watershed management activities. Such designation is not intended to establish or confer any right, duty or authority, nor to have any legal significance beyond that described in this section, nor to discourage or prohibit the formation and function of voluntary local watershed councils in other watersheds.

(3) The elected officials representing the appropriate local government groups containing or within a proposed watershed council area shall determine whether to participate in the voluntary formation of a local watershed council. When multiple local government groups are involved within an area that would be served by a watershed council, the affected local government groups shall together determine their respective roles and the appropriate method for appointing members to a local watershed council. [1993 c.601 §2; 1995 c.187 §6]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008