The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon

Environmentalist, Farmers fight over ditch-clean bill

February 5, 2019

By Oregon Family Farm Association,

Here is a bill watch on the latest happening in the Legislature. HB 2437 would allow farmers to clean out 3000 cubit yards of dirt per mile of drainage in wetland areas. This would be up from 50 cubit yards of dirt. The Capital Press reports several environmentalist spoke against the bill saying it would interfere with fish habitat while Ag groups spoke in favor.

Here is the House Bill summary:

Authorizes maintenance activities in dry, traditionally maintained channels to be conducted without removal or fill permit subject to certain conditions. Requires Department of State Lands and State Department of Agriculture to enter memorandum of understanding for State Department of Agriculture to implement and enforce provisions for maintenance of dry, traditionally maintained channels.

Requires Department of State Lands to adopt by rule general permit for maintenance activities in wet, traditionally maintained channels. Requires department to adopt rules no later than January 1, 2028.

Directs College of Agricultural Sciences of Oregon State University to conduct study of impacts of maintenance activities in traditionally maintained channels on habitat complexity and other bi-ological parameters. Requires college to submit results of study to Legislative Assembly, Department of State Lands and State Department of Agriculture no later than January 1, 2025. Requires State Department of Agriculture to conduct evaluation based on results of study.

Requires State Department of Agriculture, Department of State Lands and State Department of Fish and Wildlife to jointly prepare biennial report on maintenance activities in traditionally main-tained channels. Reporting requirement sunsets January 2, 2030.

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