Mid-coast Area Pioneers New Water Planning Approach

Clay Creek.  Photo courtesy of BLM.
Clay Creek. Photo courtesy of BLM.

A newly formed body, the Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership, has been convened to study the area’s water needs.  The group’s meetings, open to anyone concerned about water availability and water usage, will take place during 2017 on the last Wednesday of alternate months beginning in January.  The first meeting of the year takes place on Wednesday, January 25, 4-7 p.m. at the Rogue Brewery (2320 SE Marine Science Dr. in Newport).

In June 2016 the City of Newport received a grant from the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) to develop a collaborative, integrated water planning effort that looks at instream and out-of-stream water needs while considering water quantity, quality and ecosystem health. The City and OWRD convened the partnership, a diverse group of stakeholders who will work together to understand and meet collective water needs.  The goal is to develop regional solutions to provide adequate water supplies for water systems and local industry, while providing adequate flows and water quality for fish, wildlife, and the environment.  Partners include cities, water districts, watershed groups, state agencies and other entities, but individual citizens can participate as well.  For more on the partnership, see the website

To catch up with the initial organizing meetings that have already taken place, you can find the records of previous partnership events here.

The partnership was formed in response to the state of Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy, which encourages integrated planning at larger scales and gives communities a greater voice in determining their water future.  The Mid-Coast area is one of four around the state which will pioneer this approach.  During the pilot phase local groups will partner with state agencies to test a set of draft planning guidelines, identify best practices, and develop a plan for action. In addition to providing a road map for the Mid-Coast, the local plan will inform future updates to Oregon’s statewide strategy.

For more information on the process, contact Harmony Burright, planning coordinator with the Oregon Water Resources Department, 503-986-0913, [email protected].

To learn more from a local angle, contact Timothy Gross, Public Works Director/City Engineer,
City of Newport, 541-574-3369, [email protected].