The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has begun a rulemaking to update the existing aquatic life use subcategory designations relating to Oregon's temperature standard, and to designate aquatic life use subcategories relating to Oregon's dissolved oxygen standards. The subcategories associated with the existing temperature standard will be updated based on newly available data, and the subcategories associated with the dissolved oxygen standard will be designated in rule for the first time.
The objective of this rulemaking is to update and clarify Oregon's existing aquatic life use subcategories designated for temperature in OAR-340-041-101 to -340. The information used to determine subcategories associated with the existing temperature standard will be updated based on new and updated data.
The aquatic life use subcategories associated with the dissolved oxygen standard will be added to OAR-340-041-101 to -340 and designated in rule for the first time.
DEQ has not reviewed the aquatic life use subcategory fish use maps and beneficial use tables since these were originally designated in the Oregon Administrative Rules in 2003. Since then, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and federal agencies have continued to gather and refine the available fish and aquatic life distribution and timing information. Therefore, the most current information on present and historical fish habitat distribution is not reflected in Oregon's aquatic life use subcategory designations.
DEQ has determined that updated aquatic life use designations are needed in order to ensure that the use designations in Oregon's water quality standards are accurate, up to date, based on the best available scientific information, and depicted on the most recent GIS hydrography used by Oregon's state agencies.
DEQ is convening an advisory committee to review the technical issues and fiscal impacts related to the proposed rules. In convening this committee, DEQ has appointed members that reflect the range of entities that are both directly and indirectly affected by proposed changes to the rules.