Farmers and ranchers must comply with the Area Rules
, but how they comply is up to them.
For example, regulations require farmers to prevent pollution from soil erosion. A farmer may use various ways to prevent erosion or control eroded soil. Options include no-till farming, installing sediment basins to catch eroded soil, farming along the contour of the field, and many other strategies.
Farmers may comply on their own or get help from others, including local Soil and Water Conservation Districts
(SWCDs). ODA invites the local SWCD to attend each compliance investigation. SWCD technicians can provide suggestions during an investigation for strategies to correct water quality problems and work with a farmer or rancher after the investigation to address problems identified.
ODA staff make a reasonable attempt to receive permission from the landowner or operator to enter land to conduct investigations. However, if permission is denied, ODA also has authority to enter lands as stated in ORS 568.915
. During the investigation, ODA staff interview the landowner or operator, document observations, and gather data and photographs while onsite. Staff write thorough investigation reports that are reviewed by several other staff to ensure consistency. The program then sends a letter to the landowner describing their compliance status.
Enforcement actions are rare. If a problem is identified during an investigation, ODA gives the landowner an opportunity to correct the problem before taking enforcement action. This approach has been very successful, and the program is generally able to attain compliance through advisories and warnings.
How to file a complaint
Information received from Oregon's concerned citizens is vital to our efforts to protect the environment. If you believe that Oregon water quality laws have been violated, we urge you to submit an agricultural water quality complaint. While you are not required to use the form below, persons filing a complaint must submit it in writing and provide the information requested on the form. A signature is required for forms that are mailed or faxed. Completed complaints may be sent to:
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Water Quality Program
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Agricultural Water Quality Program Complaint Form
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is charged with the investigation of situations that cause pollution of public waterways. The Department does not regulate odor, dust, or nuisance complaints caused by normal farming.
If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your concern, please contact the Water Quality Specialist
in your area.