Curry Watersheds is a partnership among Curry Soil and Water Conservation District, South Coast Coordinating Watershed Council, Lower Rogue Watershed Council, and South Coast Watersheds 501(c)3; organizations that provide technical and financial resources for water quality and aquatic habitat improvements. Curry Watersheds include several wild and scenic rivers, and coastal streams flowing through 10 estuaries along 25% of the rugged Oregon coastline. Strategic planning and allocation of restoration funds are supported by the water quality monitoring program.
Outreach and education activities have ranged from formal community education classes in partnership with OSU Extension Service and Southwest Oregon Community College, to volunteer events for recording summer temperatures (Chetco Checkup) and collecting winter storm samples (Stormchasers).
Early in our program, biweekly sampling revealed excellent water quality except for summer eutrophication in small estuaries and coastal lakes, locally elevated spring nutrients, and storm runoff of sediment and E.coli bacteria. In estuaries and lakes, we measured the magnitude and duration of dissolved oxygen and pH impairment using multi-parameter sondes. Source search grab sampling identified tributaries and land uses where elevated spring and summer nutrients feed nuisance growths of algae. At the peak of our stormchaser sampling, over 55 volunteers sampled 124 sites.
Dramatic increases in water quality and macroinvertebrate scores have been detected using sampling designs for projects such as riparian re-vegetation, road drainage improvements, and near stream grazing management.
External uses of our data:
- drinking water source area protection plan – local water district
- salmon recovery planning – Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
- targeted technical assistance to agricultural producers –Oregon Department of Agriculture
- trends for temperature TMDL, 303(d) listing – Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
- forest road maintenance needed – Rogue River/Siskiyou National Forest
For more information about the water quality monitoring program of Curry Watersheds Partnership, visit www.currywatersheds.org or contact Cindy Ricks Myers at 541-247-2755, x7#.