ENN-8.02 - Actions For Watershed Health, 2005 Portland Watershed Management Plan Implementation

Non-Binding City Policies (NCP)
Policy category
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Non-Binding City Policy
WHEREAS, the general conditions of Portland’s watersheds can be described as follows:
  • The Oregon Water Quality Index describes water quality as fair in the Willamette River and as very poor in Johnson Creek and the Columbia Slough;
  • None of Portland’s major water bodies except Balch Creek meet state water quality standards for bacteria, temperature and dissolved oxygen;
  • In most City waterways, bacteria levels regularly exceed state standards during large storms, and elevated temperatures affect habitat conditions;
  • Each watershed still sustains remnant natural resources such as urban forests, wetlands and floodplains that provide important watershed functions; and
WHEREAS, the City of Portland must find more sustainable and cost effective approaches that achieve protection and restoration of watershed health as they achieve other city goals such as economic development and growth; and
WHEREAS, effective protection, restoration and management of the City’s watersheds will continue to rely on a combination of critical efforts among a variety of Bureaus that continues to need strong Council support, such as:  Parks’ Natural Resources Acquisition and Management Program and Planning’s Natural Resource Inventory and Zoning programs; and
WHEREAS, City bureaus are already taking steps to improve habitat and water quality that include, but are not limited to street design, construction and maintenance, removal of invasive species, parks management, combined sewer overflows, stormwater management, revegetation, native species recovery and protection, groundwater protection, sediment cleanup, education, and pollution source control; and
WHEREAS, in 2000, Portland published the Clean River Plan, which proposed implementing 10 actions for healthy rivers and a comprehensive stormwater management approach; and the City has implemented many of these actions in the last five years, bringing about noticeable improvements in watershed health; and
WHEREAS, the most recently published watershed plans are the Johnson Creek Watershed Action Plan (2003), Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s Action Plan (2003), Fanno and Tryon Creeks Watershed Management Plan (2005) and each plan includes a profile of watershed characteristics, history and current conditions, and identifies important natural resource sites and potential projects that could improve watershed conditions; and
WHEREAS, in June 2000 the Council adopted Resolution 35894 which endorsed the development of a Framework for Integrated Management of Watershed Health (Framework) to guide the City’s integrated response to responding to regulations and improving watershed health; and
WHEREAS, in March 2001 the City Council endorsed the River Renaissance Vision (Resolution 35978) as a call to action for City government, businesses and industry, community organizations, neighborhoods and other agencies to revitalize the river, and areas around the river, as the centerpiece of Portland, and included a Clean and Healthy River theme, and in December 2004, City Council adopted the River Renaissance Strategy (Resolution 36276) as a guide for advancing and integrating City projects, plans and activities; and
WHEREAS, there are five Portland watersheds, as defined in the Watershed Management Plan, located within the land use jurisdiction of the city of Portland:  Columbia Slough, Fanno Creek, Johnson Creek, Tryon Creek, and the main stem Willamette; and
WHEREAS, a broad range of federal, state, tribal, regional and City policies, programs, and regulations affect the City’s watersheds, including but not limited to:
  • Federal programs that address water quality, endangered species, environmental cleanup, sewage overflows and flood management;
  • State of Oregon programs that address land use planning, water quality, in-water development, wastewater discharge, watershed planning, environmental cleanup, hazardous wastes, and, salmon recovery; 
  • Native American tribal programs that address fish, wildlife, water quality and cultural resources;
  • Metro’s programs that address regional growth management, transportation, greenspaces, and natural resources protection and restoration; and
WHEREAS, the City’s response to the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act in the Bull Run/Sandy River Basin is being addressed separately in a Habitat Conservation Plan as directed in Council Resolution # 36319 (May 2005); and
WHEREAS, in February 2004 the Bureau of Environmental Services convened the Watershed Science Advisory Group to advise City staff on technical, economic and scientific issues related to the development and implementation of a comprehensive and City-wide plan to address the protection and restoration of the City’s watersheds; and
WHEREAS, during September 2005, the City published a draft Watershed Management Plan, distributed widely among the City Bureaus and stakeholders such as, the Watershed Science Advisory Group, and briefed and received feedback on the draft Plan from various commissions, boards, councils, and committees, including the submittal of 1200 specific comments; and
WHEREAS, in November 2005, the City released a  revised draft Plan for a formal public comment period  that lasted for 6 weeks and ended on December 21, 20005; and
WHEREAS, the Watershed Management Plan builds on those previous plans and documents and provides a framework for developing a more detailed management system to integrate watershed health actions with the programs and activities of all City bureaus; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City adopt Actions for Watershed Health, 2005 Portland Watershed Management Plan(Plan) as a guide for all City Bureaus to advance and integrate their projects, plans and activities in ways that will protect and improve the quality of Portland’s urban watersheds and use an integrated approach to address the City’s related obligations under state and federal environmental laws including, but not limited to, the Clean Water Act (CWA), Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, AKA Superfund) and the Endangered Species Act ; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council adopts the Plan for implementation and acknowledges
  • The City will promote four watershed health goals to improve watershed health:
1.      Hydrology – Move toward normative stream flow conditions to protect and improve watershed and stream health, channel functions, and public health and safety.
2.      Physical Habitat – Protect, enhance and restore aquatic and terrestrial habitat conditions and support key ecological functions and improved productivity, diversity, capacity, and distribution of native fish and wildlife populations and biological communities.
3.      Water Quality – Protect and improve surface water and groundwater quality to protect public health and support native fish and wildlife populations and biological communities.
4.      Biological Communities – Protect, enhance, manage and restore native aquatic and terrestrial species and biological communities to improve and maintain biodiversity in Portland’s watersheds.
  • The Plan contains six watershed improvement strategies that include the most effective actions to achieve overall watershed protections, restoration and health
  • The Watershed Priority Areas represent the best collaborative and cost effective project opportunities over the next 2 to 5 years throughout the City to achieve overall watershed protection, restoration and health
  • City Bureaus, in carrying out their various missions, shall consider water and watershed protection and restoration in the design, planning and implementation of actions, and take available opportunities wherever feasible to assure such protection and restoration occur
  • The Framework for Integrated Management of Watershed Health (December 2005) shall continue to be used by the City as the scientific foundation for planning and decision-making related to watershed health; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council reaffirms its relationship with the Portland River Trust and directs that the implementation of the Watershed Management Plan continues to support and coordinate the City’s relationship with the Trust in partnership with NOAA Fisheries, Environmental Protection Agency, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Division of State Lands, tribal governments, Metro Council of Governments, and other agencies and jurisdictions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Bureau of Environmental Services will work with the Planning and Development Directors to develop training for the other City Bureaus to aid in the effective implementation of the Watershed Management Plan; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that City Council and Bureaus consider the Watershed Management Plan guidance in all decisions related to planning, capital investments and other river- and watershed-related actions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that when Portland’s Comprehensive Plan undergoes its next substantive update, its policy direction reflects the goals and objectives established in the Watershed Management Plan; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Planning and Development Directors will convene and provide oversight to an inter-bureau Watershed Plan Implementation Team  charged with developing a management system to implement the Watershed Management Plan and integrate Watershed Management Plan actions into City bureau programs and policies using Adaptive Management and the principles of “Managing for Results”; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Watershed Plan Implementation Team will provide annual reports to the Planning and Development Directors on successes of and barriers to Watershed Management Plan implementation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Bureau of Environmental Services, on behalf of the Planning and Development Directors, will report annually to the City Council on the status of the Watershed Management Plan’s implementation and the need for any substantive changes in implementation direction; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Bureau of Environmental Services, as custodian of the Watershed Management Plan, will update background documents, as needed and will update the Watershed Management Plan, including technical memoranda, every five years in consultation with the Watershed Plan Implementation Team; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the aforementioned policies of this Resolution are considered non-binding city policies.
Resolution No. 36384 adopted March 6, 2006.

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