Water Quality Protected Waterways

Protecting Eugene’s Waterways

As part of the City of Eugene’s Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan (CSWMP) to reduce stormwater pollution, and in response to federal Clean Water Act regulations including the Upper Willamette Basin Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs) requirements, in June 2006 the City initiated a proposal for protecting waterways for water quality purposes. Under the initial proposal, nearly 90 miles of waterways were proposed for protection, including 75-foot setback areas along each side of the waterways.

A public outreach process on the initial proposal was conducted including an open house where affected property owners, interested persons, and the general public attended and provided feedback. As a result of the issues raised, significant revisions were made to the proposal. The revised (November 2007) proposal would apply water quality protections only to the original waterways of concern that have no existing protections including Goal 5 wildlife habitat regulations. The Eugene City Council acted on the revised proposal by adopting the Water Quality Waterways ordinance on March 9, 2009. The ordinance protects 13.6 miles of waterways, including: 40-foot setbacks on each side of headwater streams (measured from the centerline of the waterway) and 25-foot setbacks on each side of all other waterways (measured from the top of high bank). The ordinance became effective June 10, 2009.

City Council Action

The City Council adopted the Water Quality Waterways ordinance on March 9, 2009. The adopted ordinance, provided below with exhibits including the Water Quality Waterways map and lists of affected tax lots, went into effect on June 10, 2009, and does the following:

  • Establishes a Water Quality Overlay Zone and related water quality measures;
  • Applies the new overlay zone to specifically identified lots within the Eugene city limits that contain or are adjacent to waterways identified for protection on the Water Quality Waterways map
  • Identifies certain properties outside the city limits (inside the urban growth boundary) that contain or are adjacent to Water Quality Waterways, and that will be rezoned to apply the Water Quality Overlay Zone upon annexation to the City of Eugene if and when annexation occurs.

Related Documents

  • Water Quality Waterways Ordinance - Final Ordinance, adopted by City Council March 9, 2009
  • Exhibit A-1 - Final WQ Waterways Map, adopted by City Council March 9, 2009 (detailed map, showing WQ management areas)
  • Exhibits A-2 through D - Includes Final WQ Waterways Map (less detailed, but printable at 8 1/2" x 11"), Lists of Affected Tax Lots, and Legislative Findings

Administrative Rules

On June 9, 2009 the Eugene City Manager adopted rules related to the Water Quality Waterways ordinance. The rules:

  • Describe the procedures the City used when it mapped the setbacks as shown on the Water Quality Waterways Map.
  • Set out a process to be used by applicants in preparing a Water Quality Function Rating System certification, report or determination.
  • Amend the Land Use Application Fee Schedule to include fees for certain land use applications related to Water Quality Waterways.

The adopted rules are available at this web site (at the right under "Administrative Rules"), or in printed form during normal business hours at the Eugene Public Works Department at 99 E Broadway, Suite 400, Eugene, OR 97401.

Map Correction Procedure

Section 9.4786 of the Eugene City Code includes a process by which a property owner can apply for correction to the adopted Water Quality Waterways Map to adjust the location of a waterway or the boundary of its Management Area due to a mapping error, or to remove the /WQ Water Quality Overlay Zone from a lot or parcel due to a partition, subdivision, or property line adjustment. The applicant must meet the approval criteria outlined in Section 9.4786(2)(a) to substantiate a mapping error, or Section 9.4786(2)(b) to substantiate the removal of the overlay zone due to a land division.

While there is a fee to apply for a Map Correction, the fee will be refunded if the applicant is successful in showing that the adopted Map incorrectly located the waterway or Management Area boundary. The "Water Quality (/WQ) Overlay Zone Map Correction and Overlay Zone Removal Application" form will be available on the City’s web site by July 31, 2009.

More Information

A link to background information including meeting materials for the City Council and Planning Commission discussions leading up to adoption of the Water Quality Waterways ordinance are provided at the right. For any additional information, or questions about the proposal, contact Project Manager Therese Walch at 541-682-5549, or Tim Bingham at 541-682-4410, or use the general contact email.