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Clean water win!

Posted by Allison Hensey at Jul 19, 2013 04:25 PM |

Great news: Oregon will soon have more collaborative, locally-led ways to keep unsafe levels of pesticides out of our waters.

Great news! Oregon will soon have more collaborative, locally-led ways to keep unsafe levels of pesticides out of our waters.

Oregon’s Department of Agriculture (ODA) has a new budget, and it includes $1.5 million/biennium in funding, for the first time, for an Oregon Pesticide Stewardship Program.

The plan is proof positive that, while it may be rare, we can find common ground between environmental, health, agriculture and forestry groups. This broad agreement means we've hit upon the right approach for Oregon.

The budget will support two activities:

  • Pesticide waste collection events each year in 4 or 5 communities.
  • Pesticide Stewardship Partnerships in more than ten watersheds.

Pesticide Stewardship Projects combine the best of local knowledge and state expertise. It all begins when the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) does water sampling and analysis. 

Then, based on results, Oregon's experts work together with local land owners and water stakeholders to develop tools and best practices to help land managers effectively controls pests and weeds, and reduce pesticide runoff into local waters. Ultimately, it's the locals who decide what voluntary action to take to reduce pesticide pollution.

Oregon Environmental Council helped lead the way to develop and advocate for the program concept and budget in partnership with Oregon DEQ and ODA. We successfully advocated for the program to be a Governor’s priority and a legislative priority.

Other leading supporters included Oregonians for Food and Shelter, the Oregon Farm Bureau and 27 other health, environmental, agricultural and forestry groups.

The support of the Governor’s Office, and Representatives Brian Clem and Ben Unger, and Senator Chris Edwards was essential to passing the budget.

We're very excited to see this program develop and have stable funding moving forward. It was a priority for OEC to fund this bill, and we look forward to seeing it work to ensure clean and healthy rivers.

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