The goal of this page is to provide an overview of selected key concepts of stormwater and provide information and resources to help us manage urban runoff.
See How Trees Tame Stormwater (link) or by clicking the picture below.
Stormwater: The Basics Video. Overview of stormwater from Clark County Washington. Click Here to Watch. Note: Links to YouTube.
EPAs Low Impact Development “Barrier Buster” Factsheets Series
Videos – locally produced PSA, one from the Portland Area, and “Ducky” Ads from ThinkBlueMaine.org.
Field Guide for Maintaining Rain Gardnes, Swales and Stormwater Planters (O.S.U. Extension)
Clear Choices Clean Water Link
What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff is flow that is generated from rain or snow that falls on hard surfaces (e.g., roof tops, driveways, roads, and parking lots). The flow (runoff) generated from these surfaces enters local streams, rivers, canals, and drainageways during and immediately following a storm event instead of soaking into the ground. This causes a problem because the ground can no longer act as a sponge absorbing water or filter pollutants. As a result, more water and dirtier water enters streams and rivers quicker resulting in flooding, erosion, and degraded water quality.
Urbanization greatly increases the amount of runoff generated (pictured below).
Image courtesy of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Why is it a Problem?
Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm drain is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and for providing drinking water (EPA 2003). As a result, anything that enters storm drains in the Bear Creek Watershed can flow into Bear Creek to the Rogue River to the Pacific Ocean. It’s all connected!
Impacts of Stormwater
Stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people beyond flooding.
How Stormwater is Managed
Local stormwater management is based on regulations from the Clean Water Act under the NPDES Phase II Program. Management programs are designed to meet the six minimum control measures listed below. Many of the concepts incorporated are based on mimicing or reestablishing natural functions.
Six minimum control measures (click here for a link to fact sheets on EPA’s website):
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Involvement and Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Runoff Control (Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control)
- Post Construction Runoff Control
- Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
For information on what local communities are doing, click here.
- Local Stormwater Video produced with assistance from Rogue Valley Television/Southern Oregon University – links to video on YouTube.
- Stormwater: The Basics Video. Overview of stormwater from Clark County Washington. Click Here to Watch. Note: Links to YouTube.
- Life on the Edge: Improving Riparian Function. OSU Extension. Click Here to Watch. Links to YouTube.
- Click here for a Stormwater Video from Clean Rivers and Streams.org
- Ducky ad #1 (Stormwater) from ThinkBlueMaine.org
- Ducky ad #2 (Lawn Care) from ThinkBlueMaine.org
- Click here to find What You Can Do To Help
- Click here for the Stormwater Brochure.
- Click here to learn how to prevent erosion and control sedimentation.
- Click here for the Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Brochure.
- Oil And Creeks Flyer (PDF)
- Landscaping Brochure (PDF)
- Oregon Rain Garden Guide
- Clean Creek Article November 4th, 2012 (pdf). Link to Mailtribune website.
- EPAs Low Impact Development “Barrier Buster” Fact Sheets