Director of Intent

April 3, 2010

Chehalem Watershed Report Card

The Chehalem watershed, part of the Willamette River basin, is located in the physical boundaries of Chehalem Valley. Located entirely within Yamhill County, Oregon, the watershed is bound by Chehalem Mountain in the north, Parrett Mountain in the east, the Red Hills of Dundee in the west, and the Willamette River in the south. The intent of this report card is to provide an overview of the Chehalem watershed and to chronicle recent watershed developments while establishing a baseline grading system.

Click here for the full Report Card

Graded over thirty-one different criteria, the Chehalem watershed garnered a low C average. Bolstered by especially positive marks with regard to the Yamhill Basin Council's influence and the workings of municipal facilities in Newberg, the watershed has local parties proven to be interested in its well-being. Urban and agricultural land usage alongside population growth challenges are generally being addressed with the watershed in mind in an above average manner, waiting to be proven successfully over time. Combined, these grades provide the spark and momentum to continue on such a trajectory in the face of obstacles.

The issues directly surrounding the aquatic waterways of the watershed received some of the lowest scores, taking company among the local state politicians judged poorly on pro-environmental votes. My primary rationale for such low marks on several of the waterway issues was the miniscule amount of historical or current quantitative data on several benchmarks. This concern is noted by several organizations, and until its remedy, progress with an integrated watershed management plan will suffer. With the grades generated due to current economic factors and the lack of encouraging federal funds for Yamhill County, there is reason to worry that such data collection and/or monitoring may not occur as needed in the near future.