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ODA delivers agricultural water quality report

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A new report issued by the Oregon Department of Agriculture shows that many landowners are doing a good job improving water quality throughout the state, but there is room for improvement:

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A lot has happened since the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1010 in 1993, giving birth to ODA’s Water Quality Management Program. The report details the 19-year history of the program, its accomplishments, its strengths, and its current day challenges, setting the stage for a strategy aimed towards the future:

JAINDL:  “The first key take home message is that a regulatory program alone would not achieve what the state’s needs are.”  :10

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Ray Jaindl (JAN-dull) is director of ODA’s Natural Resources Program Area. He says the outreach and education efforts of the department and its partners are key components in helping landowners do on-the-ground projects that make a difference:

JAINDL:  “It is good for the bottom line for the landowner, it’s good for the resource, it’s good for fish, it’s good for water quality. So it is an easy program to promote because it’s going to help everyone in the long term to have a resource that is there for the future, for their families, for their kids.”  :17

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The report also points to the need for the ag water quality program to better demonstrate effectiveness. Overall, the report is a springboard to strategically position ODA’s program to be the best it can be. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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JAINDL says a lot of effective on-the-ground projects have been implemented by landowners as part of the state’s ag water quality management program:

“Landowners are doing things just because they don’t want to see the resource be impacted detrimentally. They want to see things improve. The bottom line is that’s why this program is effective and why I’m excited about it. It’s because what we are promoting and encouraging and regulating is good conservation practices, good conservation activities.”  :19

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JAINDL says over the past 19 years of ODA’s water quality program, a lot of good projects have been completed. The report notes that more needs to be done in monitoring the water and land conditions to show that the program has led to improvements:

“But we have received additional resources this biennium and we are implementing additional monitoring sites, monitoring programs at the ag level in cooperation with DEQ and our other partners, so we can get a better idea of the effectiveness.”  :14

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