Our Work
oregon lake with painted hills in the background

Clean water supports people and play, fish and wildlife, farmers and businesses across Oregon. Oregon Environmental Council works to protect safe sources of drinking water, healthy rivers, lakes and streams, and plentiful water resources for both wildlife and people.

Through public policy advocacy, education, and collaborative projects, we work to reduce urban and agricultural runoff, use water efficiently, and prevent pollution.

Join our list of activists. Together, we’ll fight for the clean, plentiful water that all Oregonians deserve.

Clean and Plentiful Water
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Our Vision

Oregon's rivers, lakes and groundwater will be healthy and pure. Oregonians will have safe sources of drinking water and be able to swim, boat and fish in our rivers and lakes - and eat what we catch - without risking our health. Our groundwater levels will be stable, and our rivers will flow with enough water to support growing communities, businesses, agriculture, native fish, and wildlife. Protected water resources will provide resiliency in the face of climate change.

Our Approach

Oregon Environmental Council takes a collaborative approach as we pursue good public policies and educate individuals, businesses, and local governments. We work to reduce urban and agricultural runoff, use water efficiently, and prevent pollution.

Preventing Water Pollution
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Oregon’s rivers, lakes and streams are the pride of our state. Yet, every major river in Oregon is out of compliance with water quality standards that protect human health and wildlife, and toxics such as pesticides and chemicals from personal care products are showing up in our waterways and groundwater. OEC advocates for education and financial assistance programs that ensure more well owners and landlords test their drinking water for toxics and address contamination hotspots. We also work with ranchers and farmers to reduce agriculture's impact on water quality through collaborative solutions. We helped create a statewide, community-based Pesticide Stewardship Program to measure and reduce pesticides in our waters while improving crop production.

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Water Conservation & Efficiency
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Healthy rivers require strong streamflows to support communities, businesses, agriculture, native fish, and wildlife. Even as climate change places further stress on Oregon's limited water resources, more water has been promised to farmers and communities than some of our rivers and aquifers can deliver. Oregon Environmental Council works with diverse partners around the state to make water conservation and efficiency a focal point of state water supply policies. We believe it’s smarter, better for the environment, and more cost-effective to invest in conservation first. OEC talked with growers and irrigation experts about ways to advance water efficiency in agriculture–which uses 80% of the state’s water withdrawals–while strengthening Oregon’s agriculture sector. Our recommendations are included in a report called “Making Water Work” and were adopted in the state's Integrated Water Resources Strategy.

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Sustainable Stormwater Management
child in red boots standing in puddle

The majority of pollutants in Oregon’s waters come not from industrial waste, but from water that runs off of farms and our streets, rooftops, and yards. In our cities, polluted runoff flows down storm drains and directly into our waterways every time it rains. Stormwater runoff can harm aquatic life and contribute to bacteria-laden waters unsafe for swimming, fish so contaminated with toxins that they are unsafe to eat, and property damage caused by widening streams and increased flooding. Oregon Environmental Council works to prevent stormwater pollution by working with developers and city planners to reduce their impact on our water by using Low Impact Development practices. We also work with homeowners to reduce their own contribution to urban runoff with our rain garden resources.

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Public Awareness & Education
pile of cards with oregon outline reading what does clean water mean to you

By educating the public, growing a broad and diverse coalition of supporters, and cultivating champions in Salem, we can preserve Oregon's pure and beautiful waters. Through communications and outreach efforts, Oregon Environmental Council builds public support to protect watersheds, restore rivers and freshwater habitat, improve water management, and plan for a future with clean and reliable water for all. Now you can add your voice to the chorus of Oregonians speaking up for clean water.

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