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Umpqua Basin

The Umpqua Basin in Southwestern Oregon comprises about 3.24 million acres, 90% of which is federal, state and private forestland (2.92 million acres). The Umpqua Basin is home to many species of salmonids including coho salmon, fall and spring Chinook salmon, summer and winter steelhead, and anadromous cutthroat trout. The North Umpqua River is a world-renowned salmon fishery and water-based recreation is important throughout the basin.

Many streams in the Umpqua Basin do not meet water quality standards set to protect beneficial uses including fish and aquatic life and water contact recreation. In the Umpqua Basin, DEQ has identified aquatic weeds, chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen, E. coli, fecal coliform, excess algal growth, pH, temperature, total phosphorus, and sedimentation, as water quality impairments.

The Umpqua Basin Total Maximum Daily Loads determine the how much of a pollutant a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. The TMDL Water Quality Management Plan outlines the framework to attain TMDL goals.

DEQ is in the process of revising multiple temperature TMDLs that were issued by DEQ and approved by EPA between 2004 and 2010, including the Umpqua Basin temperature TMDL. EPA and the State of Oregon are working collaboratively under a federal court order to reissue these temperature TMDLs to make them consistent with current temperature standards. These TMDLs must be updated because they were based, in part, on the Natural Conditions Criterion, a section of the temperature standard that was subject to litigation and that the EPA determined should not be used to establish TMDLs.

DEQ requested EPA assistance to complete the Umpqua temperature TMDL revision by the court-ordered deadline of Feb. 28, 2025. DEQ lacks the resources to work on the Umpqua temperature TMDL and complete all the necessary work for the remaining temperature TMDLs that must also be revised.

Find out more at the Umpqua River Basin Temperature TMDL replacement web page.


Sarah Sauter
Umpqua Basin Coordinator