Eugene's Watershed - Returning Clean Water to the River

McKenzie River in May 2021

Located in the Upper Willamette Drainage Basin, the City of Eugene is responsible for ensuring clean water returns to the Willamette River. For about six miles, the WIllamette River flows through the city and receives runoff directly from stormwater outfall pipes and north Eugene creeks, as well as treated water from the regional wastewater treatment facility. Just north of the city, the McKenzie River, including some runoff from north Eugene, flows into the Willamette River. Even further north near Monroe, the Lower Long Tom River, including runoff from Eugene's Amazon Creek system, enters the Willamette River. 

The Oregon Department of Quality (DEQ) listed the Willamette River as impaired due to elevated water temperatures, elevated levels of mercury concentration in fish, and elevated bacteria. This is bad news for aquatic organisms that depend on healthy streams, as well as downstream drinking water users and people who enjoy fishing and recreating in the Willamette River watershed. Other local water bodies, including Amazon Creek, Amazon Diversion Channel, and Fern Ridge Reservoir, are also impaired due to elevated bacteria levels, low dissolved oxygen levels and elevated turbidity.

When water quality standards are not met, the federal Clean Water Act requires that a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) be established. A TMDL serves as a restoration plan for waterways that have been impaired by pollution and habitat degradation. The City of Eugene’s TMDL Implementation Plan identifies actions the City is taking to restore and protect water quality in local waterways and the Willamette River. 

Action items include:

For more information about specific plans to improve water quality and specific details about contaminants found in our waterways, click through the supporting documentation located in the tabs below.

  1. TMDL Plans and Reports
  2. Watershed Maps

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Documents

         Note: Prior years' TMDL reports are available upon request to PWE

Stormwater Policies