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Bear Creek 2007 TMDL - Background Information, Regulatory Context, and Distribution of Responsibility

The goal of the Clean Water Act is to make all waters fishable and swimmable.  There are numerous provisions under the Act to protect and improve water quality including Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).  Through the TMDL process, streams and rivers that are not meeting water quality standards are identified.  Once identified, pollutant levels are calculated based on what can be found in the water while still being considered healthy (e.g., can maintain all of its designated beneficial uses).  The calculated levels are divided up (allocated) to point sources, nonpoint sources (including Cities and Counties), and natural sources.  Everyone must work to meet the target goals (loads) to improve the water quality over time.

Bear Creek 2007 TMDL 

In October 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the Bear Creek TMDL for temperature, bacteria, and sedimentation in Reeder Reservoir.  As part of the TMDL, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality developed a water quality management plan (WQMP) that outlines steps the region will take to meet the targeted water quality conditions.  In the WQMP, calculated pollutant loadings and subsequently management responsibilities are divided up among all sectors contributing to the pollution loads to the creek (see Figure 1.1). 

Figure 1.1:  Distribution of TMDL Responsibilities


The TMDL also establishes Designated Management Agencies (DMAs) that represent land management entities that are responsible for meeting the TMDL requirements.  Figure 1.2 summarizes the DMAs for the Bear Creek Watershed.

Figure 1.2:  DMAs for the Bear Creek Watershed


All DMAs in the watershed have a responsibility to reduce pollutant loadings and must undertake activities to meet the TMDL requirements.  This page focuses on the responsibilities of the urban DMAs and the Irrigation Districts.  These DMAs must develop and submit Water Quality Implementation Plans (WQIPs) to DEQ.  Plans must be approved by DEQ.  Final plans were submitted to DEQ on September 1st, 2009.  Information on other DMAs responsibilities is shown on Figure 1.3.  For more information, contact the appropropriate agency or the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.


Bear Creek Water Quality Implementation Plans

Urban DMAs (Jackson County, Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point, Jacksonville)

Irrigation Districts (Talent, Medford, Rogue River Valley)

Other TMDL Information

Water Quality Monitoring Program (1992 TMDL)

TMDL Implementation Homepage

TMDL Tracking and Reporting Homepage

Education and Outreach Homepage



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