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Urban Runoff and Stormwater Management

Can you identify good and bad stormwater management practices in this picture?

Protect storm drains! Other than precipitation and clean water, no water or other materials should go into storm drains.
Recycle or properly dispose of oil, paint, antifreeze, and other materials.
Keep organic matter (leaves, grass) and pet waste out of storm drains.
Reduce or eliminate herbicide and pesticide use. Use non-toxic alternatives.
Plant native species or use erosion control to prevent sediment (dirt) from getting in local streams and rivers.
Stencil storm drains and learn more about how you can help!

What’s New?

Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Brochures for Contractors

Quarterly Reports (Stream Smart, TMDL, and MS4 Program) presented at SWAT Meetings

Other Documents

Annual Stormwater Report – Regional Activities

Reporting Year 2022-2023 – Current Report

Previous Years 2021-2022

Salmon Watch 2023 – Wrap-Up

Regional Stormwater Advisory Team (SWAT)

The Regional Stormwater Advisory Team (SWAT) consists of members of the MS4 (stormwater regulated communities), partners, and other attendees that meet quarterly to discuss management of urban runoff (stormwater) in the Southwestern Oregon Region.  The meetings provide a forum to discuss items of interest to the stormwater programs, encourage consistency in regulations, standards and language across jurisdictions, and to vote on design manual revisions, and other tasks.  The SWAT operates under a set of bylaws which includes outlining voting members and other procedures (see link below).  Per the bylaws, “the purpose of this committee is to support and assist the member agencies with all aspects related to each member agencies with all aspects related to each member agency’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Stystem (MS4) Permit.  Meetings are open to the public.

The next meeting is on January 18th, at 10:00 a.m.  Please contact for more information.

SWAT Bylaws

Stormwater 101

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.

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 contaminated 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 before flowing 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, and 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.

Information Highlights

The Value of Trees – See how trees tame stormwater (link) or by clicking the picture below.

A Stormwater Overview Video – From Clark County, Washington. Click Here to Watch. Note: Links to YouTube

Fact Sheets – Low Impact Development “Barrier Buster” Factsheets Series (scroll down on the link page to locate)

How to Design a Rain Garden – How to Design and Construct a Successful Professional Rain Garden


Rain Garden MaintenanceField Guide for Maintaining Rain Gardens, Swales and Stormwater Planters (O.S.U. Extension)


Stormwater Management

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 mimicking or reestablishing natural functions.How Stormwater is Managed

Six minimum control measures:

  1. Public Education and Outreach
  2. Public Involvement and Participation
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  4. Construction Site Runoff Control (Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control)
  5. Post Construction Runoff Control
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping

Specific Management Focus Areas

Pet Waste and Water Quality

Even if your pets don’t poop directly into water sources, their waste can still affect the community, local streams, and the Rogue River. Storm drains are directly connected to the nearest local stream or river. Any pet waste that washes into or is deposited directly into roadside ditches or storm drains ends up in local waters untreated. Along with polluting the water with bacteria and parasites, pet waste that finds its way to natural bodies of water promotes unwanted algae and weed growth. For more information, visit the links below.

How to Properly Dispose of Pet Waste

While there are several methods to dispose of pet waste, some are better than others. Burying waste is one of the most natural and safest ways to get rid of excrement. A hole with a depth of about six inches can keep waste safely out of sight and reduce the chances that it will attract other animals. Flushing pet waste is also an acceptable option.

Remove all remnants of waste from areas near water. This includes drains, ditches, and wells. Avoid attempting to compost pet waste in a garden, as the excrement will not naturally break down and can pose a health hazard to vegetable beds.

Washing Cars

Fish Friendly Car Wash Info

Car Wash Kit – Puyallup, WA

Car Wash Kit – Eugene

Reference Materials, Videos, Brochures, and News Articles

  • Undergoing revision

Stormwater Links

Center for Watershed Protection

Portland Bureau of Environmental Services

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

EPA Stormwater Program

Regional Coalition for Clean Rivers and Streams

Clear Choices and Clean Water

Stream Smart

Stormwater Management Plan Development

SWMP Management Program Recommendations (Education, Outreach, Public Education, and Involvement)

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