River Action Alert: Take a survey to help Oregon’s rivers!

Please lend your voice to the water needs of rivers, fish, wildlife and people who depend on healthy rivers as part of Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) update!

Oregon’s Kitchen Table has opened a survey to help the state better understand what water issues are important to Oregonians. This information will help shape the next iteration of the Integrated Water Resources Strategy.

BACKGROUND:The IWRS is Oregon’s blueprint for meeting both instream and out-of-stream needs.  This strategy is critically important to shaping agency policy, programs, and budgets.

First released in 2012, the IWRS must be updated every five years.  The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) and partner agencies are currently seeking public input on the update to the state’s IWRS. The IWRS provides a roadmap for better understanding and meeting the state’s water needs.

ACTION NEEDED:Please help ensure the water needs of rivers and fish are part of Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) update by taking the survey TODAY! Some sample talking points are below.

THE SURVEY:  The survey is open now until JUNE 15. Click here for the link to the survey!

Unfortunately, the survey does not provide many opportunities to check off a box for rivers, fish and other instream values, so please use the “other” option as often as you need to raise issues that are important to you but might not be in the survey options.

Some sample messages to consider  for both “major concerns” and also “what needs to be done” include:


  • Many of Oregon’s rivers, streams, wetlands and lakes do not have enough water in them to meet the needs of fish, wildlife, and people that depend on healthy rivers
  • Climate change will only make things worse for rivers, streams, and ecosystems
  • The State does not adequately protect rivers/fish during drought
  • Groundwater has not been sustainably managed
  • The State has inadequate data and tools to sustainably manage water
  • Dams are blocking fish migration and habitat connectivity
  • Illegal water use is hurting both instream and out of stream interests
  • The legislature does not adequately fund state agency work in water


INSTREAM FLOWS: The state should invest in and advance instream flow protection and restoration, including but not limited to:

  • Adopting more instream water rights
  • Designating additional state scenic waterways
  • Incentivizing/streamlining/funding transfers of water instream
  • Adopting protections for fish and wildlife during drought (for example, minimum flows)
  • Modernizing the state’s water transfer statutes to require an environmental review

DATA: Invest in data necessary for smart water management, including but not limited to:

  • Groundwater studies
  • Instream flow studies statewide
  • Statewide peak and ecological flow studies
  • Expand the state’s streamflow and temperature gauge network
  • Require water use measurement and reporting

HABITAT CONNECTIVITY: Invest in and advance efforts to restore habitat connectivity:

  • Remove fish killing dams
  • Provide fish passage (including culverts)
  • Enforce existing fish passage and screening laws

SMART WATER MANAGEMENT: Invest in and advance robust water management, including but not limited to:

  • Require measurement and reporting of water use
  • Enforce water right permit conditions
  • Enforce against illegal water use
  • Require a water rights administrative fee to help fund state management of water rights

SUSTAINABLY MANAGE GROUNDWATER: Groundwater has not been sustainably managed, harming springs, wetlands, and domestic well users. Necessary reforms include:

  • Support the state’s effort to modernize its groundwater allocation policy to ensure that allocation is within the capacity of the resource
  • Strengthen laws that allow the state to regulate groundwater rights that are interfering with surface water right
  • Adopt critical groundwater areas in basins experiencing groundwater declines

Please make your voice heard to ensure the next iteration of the IWRS includes key protections for rivers, fish, wildlife, and groundwater.

Your input will help shape Oregon’s water future! Thank you!

Click here for more information on ways to participateClick here for more information on community meetingsIntegrated Water Resources Strategy webpage

The contact for the Oregon Water Resources Department is:

Crystal Grinnell |971-375-5330 | Crystal.A.Grinnell@water.oregon.gov