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Agricutural Water Quality Program - Monitoring


Monitoring plays an increasingly important role in the strategic implementation of the Agricutural Water Quality Management Program (AgWQMP). Monitoring data supports adaptive management of the program at the local Area Plan level as well as the statewide level.

ODA joined the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as signatories to the Conservation Effectiveness Partnership in 2012. This collaborative effort identifies geographic areas with high federal, state and local investment in natural resource improvements and evaluates the environmental outcomes of these investments.

What gets monitored?

The program evaluates trends in riparian vegetation, as well as water quality, including temperature, bacteria, nutrients, and sediment.

How is it monitored?

ODA evaluates land condition and water quality data gathered by the DEQ, watershed councils, and other organizations. ODA contracts with DEQ to gather water quality data at additional agricultural sites in Oregon to complement DEQ’s existing water quality monitoring network.  

ODA also evaluates aerial photographs that cover approximately 10 to 15 percent of streamside areas along agricultural lands to track changes in streamside vegetation statewide. Photos are taken every five years in each Management Area to track changes in riparian conditions.  

Land condition monitoring

ODA monitors land conditions by collection and analyzing aerial photos of randomly selected streamside areas adjacent to agricultural lands. This helps us evaluate agricultural land conditions statewide and determine the effectiveness of Oregon agriculture in protecting streamside areas. Since 2004, the program has annually collected aerial photos of randomly selected stream segments in three to seven agricultural water quality management areas. We photograph and evaluate conditions in each management area every five years. Reports for each year are below.

Water quality monitoring

ODA received funding from the 2011 Legislature to suppport water quality monitoring at 19 agricultural sites in Oregon. The 19 sites will complement approximately 40 other agricultural sites currently being monitored by DEQ. We will analyze water quality data from the ODA and DEQ sites and track changes in water quality over time.

Streamside vegetation assessment tool

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is working with Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to measure progress and tell the story of collective efforts of ODA, SWCDs, partners, and landowners in achieving the goals and objectives of Agricultural Water Quality Area Plans. ODA and SWCDs are focusing efforts in small watersheds and will report progress made each biennium, based on projects implemented.

ODA has developed a Streamside Vegetation Assessment Tool, with input from a broad range of stakeholders and partners.  The purpose of the Tool is to consistently evaluate streamside vegetation conditions and to measure progress.  ODA uses the Assessment Tool in Strategic Implementation Areas and encourages SWCDs to use the Assessment Tool in Focus Areas.