Oregon’s current temperature
standard was adopted by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission in December
2003. The Environmental Protection Agency approved much of the standard in
March 2004, and approved additional provisions in March 2010. DEQ revised
the standard in February 2007 in response to EPA’s disapproval of the 2003
narrative criteria for cool water species, natural lakes and oceans and bays.
EPA approved the revised narratives in February 2011.
Lower Willamette Cold Water Refuge Study
Oregon DEQ is finalizing a study of the availability and sufficiency of cold-water refuge (CWR) to support salmon and steelhead migration in the lower 50 miles of the Willamette River. The Lower Willamette CWR study assesses Oregon’s cold-water refuge narrative criteria to address the jeopardy decision and reasonable and prudent alternatives from the 2015 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion on the U.S. EPA approval of Oregon’s 2003 water temperature standards, with an emphasis on CWR to support migration of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead populations.
DEQ’s study identifies the source, location, and levels of use of CWR habitat available to adult and juvenile Upper Willamette River spring chinook, Upper Willamette River winter steelhead, Lower Columbia River Chinook, and Lower Columbia River winter steelhead populations that migrate through the designated migration corridor.
DEQ will submit the study to NMFS by Feb. 29, 2020.