On Monday June 22nd, through a rollback of the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule, many wetlands and waterways across the country were stripped of federal protection including some of our own Oregon’s Greatest Wetlands.
All ephemeral streams and all wetlands not adjacent to major bodies of water, or connected to them by a surface channel, no longer have federal protection from dredging, filling or pollution. This includes some very special wetland areas in Oregon, such as the Little Deschutes in Central Oregon, much of the Great Basin in SE Oregon, and much of the Mid-Willamette River drainage in the central Willamette Valley.
A significant portion, and in some cases all, of the wetlands in these areas are exempt from needing a federal permit for dredge and fill activity. You can see the specific details on this map showing the status of Oregon’s Greatest Wetlands under the new rule.
The Wetlands Conservancy is committed to restoring and preserving wetlands across the state for the maximum benefit to people, wildlife, and the environment. Our work over the past 39 years preserving and restoring wetlands has resulted in 1,517 acres stewarded and managed for healthy ecological outcomes. And while this is incredible, there is much more work to be done.