2006 Annual Priorities Report: Columbia River Basin | Region 10 | US EPA

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2006 Annual Priorities Report: Columbia River Basin

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

View the Updated Region 10 Environmental Strategy
Description of the Challenge…

Why is it a priority?

At 1,214 miles in length, boasting a 260,000 square mile drainage basin, the Columbia River spans portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and a substantial portion of British Columbia. The Columbia River Basin is comprised of ecosystems that are home to a diverse array of biologically significant plants and animals. The Basin is also a dynamic economic engine driving many industries vital to the Pacific Northwest, including sport and commercial fisheries, agriculture, transportation, recreation, and, with 55 hydropower dams, electrical power generation.
2006 Annual Report
  Report Home
  Regional Administrator's Message
  Regional Priorities Summary
    Columbia River Basin
    Tribal Environmental Health
    Oil, Gas & Mining
    Diesel Emissions
    Coeur d'Alene and Spokane
    Puget Sound Basin
    Grants Management
  Download Report (PDF, 20pp. 1.4MB)

Columbia River salmon and steelhead runs—once the largest on earth—are now a fraction of their original size. EPA studies and state monitoring programs have found significant levels of toxins in fish and the waters they inhabit, including dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), PCBs, and dieldrin. EPA and its partners adopted a three-dimensional approach to the problem of toxins in the Columbia River system, emphasizing remediation, prevention, and protection efforts. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Columbia Basin tribal governments, the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership, local governments, citizen groups, industry, and other federal agencies are actively engaged in efforts to remove contaminated sediments, bring back native anadromous fish, restore water quality, and preserve, protect, and restore habitat, as illustrated below:

  • Working locally with agriculture producers to reduce pesticide use through the Pesticide Stewardship Partnership,
  • Providing an anonymous opportunity to collect banned toxics and pesticides,
  • Implementing total maximum daily loads through sediment reductions and riparian restoration,
  • Cleaning up the Portland Harbor Superfund site and PCB contamination in the Columbia River at Bradford Island,
  • Restoring wetlands and habitats at Mirror Lake and Ridgefield through the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership with Targeted Watershed Program funding.

Goals and Objectives…

What are the desired long-term outcomes?

Our goal is to protect public health and the environment by:
  • Reducing toxic loads in the Columbia River Basin
  • Reducing toxics in fish that people eat.

The Basin: A National EPA Priority
In EPA's 2006-2011 Strategic Plan, the Columbia River Basin was elevated to one of our Nation’s great water bodies, joining the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, South Florida Ecosystem, Long Island Sound and Puget Sound. This plan is the Agency’s road map for future work efforts and provides a mechanism to measure progress in protecting human health and the natural environment.

Strategic Plan Sub-objective 4.3.9:
Restore and Protect the Columbia River Basin. By 2011, prevent water pollution, and improve and protect water quality and ecosystems in the Columbia River Basin to reduce risks to human health and the environment.

Strategic Targets:
  • By 2011, protect, enhance, or restore 13,000 acres of wetland habitat and 3,000 acres of upland habitat in the Lower Columbia River watershed.
  • By 2011, clean up 150 acres of known highly contaminated sediments.
  • By 2011, demonstrate a 10 percent reduction in mean concentration of contaminants of concern found in water and fish tissue.
Columbia Baseline Document (5 pp. 60K, About PDF)
Learn more about the Columbia River Basin

WaterfallStrategy and approach…

How do we anticipate achieving our desired goals and objectives?

EPA, state, federal and Tribal partners, and the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership have launched a Columbia River toxics strategy to identify and clean up contaminated sediments, restore critical wetlands, and reduce toxics in water, land, and fish. Under this strategy, EPA, federal agencies, states, and Tribes are systematically expanding key actions in the Columbia River Basin based on available resources, such as fish, water, and sediment monitoring; pesticide stewardship partnerships; targeted pesticide/toxic collections; precision agriculture; and related activities. The National Estuary Program also plays a key role in addressing toxics and restoration of critical wetlands in the Lower Columbia River estuary.

Previous accomplishments include:

The following actions are identified for 2005 – 2008:

In the next three years, we anticipate the following achievements: Who else is working in this area?

To engage others, EPA is working with partners to develop and implement priority actions with federal, tribal, state, and local governments and other stakeholders. EPA is providing leadership for common goals, roles and responsibilities for work efforts including monitoring, assessment and toxic reduction action.

Measures of Success…

How will we know we have achieved success when we get there?

We have identified the following measures of success for our toxics reductions efforts.

We will track: Related Information

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URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/EXTAFF.NSF/Reports/2006+Regional+Priorities+Columbia+River+Basin

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