Developing a Successful Surface Water Management Plan in Oregon: A Guide for Municipal Governments
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Local jurisdictions in Oregon are inundated with state and federal surface water management requirements. These requirements stem from decades-old policies that aim to manage water quality, flooding, and habitat protection issues individually. Regulation around flooding and habitat protection is likely to become more stringent in the near future as new litigation comes to pass in Oregon. Now, more than ever, communities should consider consolidating their efforts at managing surface water issues by creating one holistic plan: a surface water management plan. Managing surface water issues holistically through the development of a plan is not a new concept. This paper provides a review of two surface water management plans: one in West Linn, Oregon and one in Edmonds, Washington. These plans, augmented with information from government reports and peer-reviewed journal articles, provide the basis for a surface water management plan framework. Communities in Oregon are not required to develop a holistic plan, but they may find it beneficial to do so for three reasons. First, many surface water policy objectives do overlap, and a holistic plan allows communities to consolidate their efforts in meeting these objectives. Second, through the development of a holistic plan, the environmental health and economic vitality of a community can be sustained. Third, the creation of a plan has the benefit of preparing a community for the stern requirements of upcoming surface water regulation, which is likely to be a contentious issue among the public.