Making Bear Creek Better

For decades, humans have contributed excess nutrients and other pollutants to the Rogue River and  Bear Creek directly or through its tributaries. In 1998, in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added more than 26 miles of Bear Creek and some of its main tributaries to the state’s list of impaired waters for temperature and bacteria. These waters are too polluted to meet water quality standards for fish and other uses (contact recreation). Through the Clean Water Act, DEQ establishes priority rankings for polluted streams and develops Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for these waters.   TMDLs calculate the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards for all beneficial uses. As part of the TMDL process, DEQ outlines general strategies that local Designated Management Agencies (DMAs) can implement to improve water quality conditions.  Bear Creek has TMDLs several pollutants.

We have made progress progress in the watershed in improving Bear Creek, but we still have a long way to go: read the fact sheet “Making Progress in the Bear Creek Watershed”.   Learn more about how our everyday choices can make Bear Creek better.


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