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Highlights from the South County tour


by Patti Ferry, Newport Chamber of Commerce

We started our final field trip for 2017 on a rainy Thursday morning at the Seal Rock Water District offices where we were greeted by the aromas of Pacific Sourdough Bakery’s goodies fresh from the ovens. Adam Denlinger facilitated this trip and gave us a brief overview of the day’s itinerary. He also has a great piece of historical pipe he can sell you for a mere $2.5 Mil.

Then off we went to pile into vans and trucks to traverse to Stop #1, The Newport-Seal Rock Water District Emergency Intertie. Here Adam and Tm Gross tag teamed a discussion on this emergency station which has been built to withstand a catastrophic event, however, the lines traversing the county to carry the water supply may not survive. They pointed out the shock absorber system set under the pipes in the building. Click here to see the video for the first stop.

Back to the vehicles to head south to the Waldport Water Treatment Plant which sits above Eckman Lake in Waldport. Here Scott Andry told us about the plant that was built in 1982/83. In 1996 they added a sedimentation station and there are plans for future upgrades as systems age out. We headed outside to observe the collection tank and learned that the station is gravity fed from two creeks for 10 months of the year and then water is pumped up from Eckman Lake for the two low water summer months. They have the water rights to a fourth water source which is part of their emergency plan and future planning. Once back inside the plant we were shown a fun depiction of the sediment layers the water passes through. Starting with anthracite (coal), then through garnet and silica sands and finally course gravel. (This is the system used by other stations we learned throughout the trip but this was a great show and tell item.) The filters need to be changed out around the 20 year mark. However all the plants backflush/recharge the water through the filters about once a week to keep them clean.


Ty is the plant operator and he said they have a 300,000 tank that gravity feeds water to the town. They have 2.3 million gallons in reserve. They have one booster station that was added by the new high school for fire protection but later learned it wasn’t needed so it has never been started up. Some of the challenges they face are the rising costs of upkeep on an older building and equipment. They are working on interconnectivity with the SRWD as the Waldport plant only goes to the bridge and south to the end of town. Click here to see the video for the second stop.

In the vehicles to travel further down Hwy 101 we came to Southwest Lincoln County Water District treatment plant where we were greeted by David Whitlock. David said they have three employees plus himself (plant operator). He likes having a small team to work with. They pump from two tanks at 350 gal/min and 200 gal/min with 2 million gallons in reserve. They sit at an 8 mile mark between Waldport and Yachats filling the water needs of those in this area. They have received outstanding performance awards from the State of Oregon for their safe and efficient work. They use a higher pressure system with the water fed through reducing valves. While here we learned the water district was established in  I945 and it was only about 20 years ago the Oregon Health Authority required water treatment plants.

We learned that the first rainfalls in the fall tend to churn up more sediment but all of the systems we visited. David flushes his system about every 20 hours. They have two plants in their district in the event of a natural catastrophe they have put generator power at both plants and pump stations. The work vehicles have been moved to higher land at the station we were visiting to be out of the tsunami zone. Click here to see the video for the third stop.

Back to the caravan to travel on down to the Yachats Water Treatment Facility and our host, Rick McClung. This is a publicly owned plant built in 1992 and they pump approximately 500,000 gallons per day though this rises in the summer. There has been a rise in building permits over the past year with 13 in 2017 which is a lot for a small community. There are plans for building another plant to help meet the increased demand with completion scheduled for the summer of 2018. A lack of water may mean the hoteliers cannot do laundry in the summer months as often. This has a major impact on the economy.

They receive their water from gravity fed streams as they sit between two mountains. We walked out back to see a beautiful water fall cascading down to feed the plant. There has been a landslide putting a tree and its root ball in the pond below the falls. Rick said he’ll have to wait until spring to hire someone to remove it. Then the Partnership went into action with Tim saying he can get one of his excavators from Newport Public Works down to help Rick out. This is what the Partnership can do, help build connections, educate and plan together. Click here to see the video of the fourth stop.​


We learned this is a semi-automated plant which means it can run with less on-site staffing. They have 1.5 million gallons in storage. There is 500 gallons of raw water storage. When asked why he doesn’t draw from the Yachats River he responded that because of low water levels in the summer and protected habitat they cannot use it. They can get water from the SW Lincoln County Water District, however there is a lot of rock to go through or around.

We headed to the Yachats Commons to wrap up and enjoy lunch provided by Adam and his crew at the SRWD.


  • Every water district is proud of the service and water quality they provide.

  • All the districts see an impact on their summer usage and each community sees dramatic population growth form tourism. Tim noted the Newport is the center hub of the fishing industry and the demand for water from the fisheries is a major impact also.

  • Highlights:

  • The water districts all appear interconnected and there is also an “interconnectivity” with agencies and companies (i.e. forest land).

  • There is a critical need to improve connectivity of water system to water system.

  • There are a significant number of water providers in the MCWP and our model differs from the others in the state due to our fishing, timber, tourism needs versus agricultural or metropolitan. We also do not have as much access to ground water as other parts of the state due to our geology.

  • There are limited granting sources in Oregon and we need to work together to identify projects that provide multiple benefits to our communities, the environment, and the economy.

Mark your calendars for Field Tour #3 – November 30!


Mark your calendar now for Field Tour 3 – featuring water quantity and quality in the South County.  Network with your colleagues as you learn about the built infrastructure that delivers quality water to your tap and supplies some of our County’s major industries.  The tour will include the Newport – Seal Rock intertie as well as water infrastructure at South Lincoln County Water District , Waldport, and Yachats. The tour includes transportation and a complimentary lunch at Yachats City Hall. It will be held from 9am-2pm and will begin and end at the Seal Rock Water District Office. Click here to view the itinerary.  Please RSVP at

November 14 meeting recap and highlights

by Patti Ferry, Newport Chamber of Commerce

This month’s Partnership meeting was held at the Center for Health Education at Samaritan Pacific Hospital in Newport. Partners were greeted with the smells of lasagna and warm cookies! The walls were covered with charts and graphs from the four study groups. We welcomed twelve new timers to our midst! Click here to read the notes from our facilitators.


The meeting began at 4:00 with welcome and around the room introductions. We reviewed the agenda, our mission statement and meeting guidelines. Harmony Burright reminded us of our reason for being: for building partnerships, planning for our water future, and identifying water needs and solutions. Tim Gross welcomed all and said it was great to see so many from the community, including landowners, who want to help shape our water destiny. He gave a quick recap of speaking with various Legislators this week to update them on where we are and to acknowledge that we recognize we don’t have all the answers but are using our open forum model to come up with a plan. We are one of four groups in this process across the state.

There were clappers and whistles on the tables to help us celebrate we were ending Step 2 of our 4 Step process tonight with the reports from the study groups! In Step 3 we will work on identifying current and future water needs.

Our last Field Trip for 2017 is scheduled for November 30th led by Adam Denlinger and covering Built Systems in South Lincoln County. Be sure to RSVP if you plan on attending at

On to the reports from the 5 study groups: Context, Water Quantity, Water Quality, Ecology, and Built Systems. Below are the reports given by some of the members of each study group. The reports can be found online at:

Context: Adam Sussman, GSI Water Solutions

Adam provided the backdrop for the other presentations, including basic information about population, industry, and climate. We live in a mild, wet climate and get a lot of rain relative to the rest of Oregon (no surprises there). Our major industries are fish, timber, and tourism. The growth rate will peak in the next few years, but the population will continue to grow and age over time!

Water Quantity: Caroline Bauman, Economic Development Alliance

Caroline was informative, brief, and entertaining as she got the whole group involved with the topic of water quantity using props and trivia. What is surface water? It starts when the rain falls form the sky and lands on the earth. What is ground water storage? Areas that act as sponges to soak up/in surface water. These sponges can be variable depending on geology and rainfall. How do we get the ground water out? Wells. Who owns the water? The public, but people have a right to use it through water rights. The watermaster determines who gets to use the water. Our group is studying 6 watersheds of importance. The report includes surface water monitoring and groundwater monitoring.

Water Quality: David Waltz, OR DEQ, Jacqueline Fern, OR DEQ, Mike Powers, OR Dept. of AG, Audrey Sweet, Lincoln Soil Conservation District.

David started the report talking about regulatory programs regarding pollutant sources and distribution across landscapes, The Clean Water Act and Coastal Zone Plan, and finishing with permitting of point sources.

Next was Jacqueline who talked about Drinking Water Protection through DEQ and OHA. They look for data gaps, and identify risks, set priorities, offer technical assistance and grant funding.

Mike talked about voluntary actions taken through soil conservation districts and how agricultural property is regulated by the OR Dept of Ag.

Audrey finished up the results from this study group with how they look for projects to match with partners and find grant funds. Riparian projects are an example.

Ecology: Wayne Hoffman, MidCoast Watersheds Council

Here we learned about habitats of streams, riparian areas, and estuaries and what can cause habitat degradation. Flow/temperature in stream, summer healthy stream flow, sediment/turbidity, , landscape capacity, effects of land-use, marine nutrient transport, the abilities for streams to clean themselves, connectivity of streams to their floodplains, landslides that deposit gravel, channel migration and its overall effects on stream health.

Built Systems: Tim Gross, City of Newport, Adam Denglinger, Seal Rock Water District, Scott Andry, City of Waldport.

Adam took on age of infrastructure showing us original wooden pipes used for water transport and a section of the HDP pipe used today. We need to be aware that newer systems are coming out that are even better and include fully automated water flow systems.

Scott talked about waste water treatment which includes using micro-organisms then chlorine and uv treatments. He talked briefly about the challenges of a sewer pipe break (harder to determine) versus a water line bursting.

Tim finished up their report talking about storm water and how we have little information /data collection on the Mid-coast systems as it relates to stormwater runoff. The challenge is this area receives less attention and historically storm water and waste water traveled in the same systems – they are finding many cross systems still in existence. There may be increasing attention paid to this over time.

We then took 30 minutes to visit each of the study groups displays and write on a sheet any questions or data gaps. We reconvened in our table groups to discuss aha moments. We were reminded to go to the website to make comments to GSI regarding the 5 studies (all on-line for review) by November 27th. A final draft will be presented in January so we can then move on to Steps 3 & 4. There were many ideas and observations which will be listed on the web site.

Tim Gross and Tia Cavender gave us an update on grants and fundraising. Tia noted that her group is changing names from Chase Park Grants to Dig Deep. We were recently awarded funds form the Meyer Memorial Trust which in combination with Oregon Community Foundation and the US Army Corps brings us to the $275,000 needed to carry us form November 2017 to December 2018. Tia said she will be bringing us in to more involvement with fundraising as we need another $255k raised in the next 10 months. Contributions could be in the form of letters of support, in-kind donations, matching grants, cash contributions, etc. If you have a group she or Tim should present to, please let them know.

Next we heard from Harmony with a brief report on what the Communications Outreach Committee has been doing. She said we are brainstorming ways to recruit, engage, and retain partners by raising awareness. We are looking at how to measure this and how to keep water issues front of mind.  Joyce Sherman provided a draft copy of a hand-out the committee is working on to get the word out about the Partnership (great looking hand-out Joyce!). Maryann Bozza, HMSC, has suggested we look at doing Panel of Peers in a public forum and is working to get a template for what these panels would look like. Hatfield Marine Science Center and Surfrider are both looking to co-host a panel.

Field trips will continue in 2018. Ideas are:

  • May-a boat trip to look at local ecology?

  • July-a visit to fish processing plants?

  • September-a visit with the hospitality industry?

Harmony closed with a comment to partners. Please be open with your feedback! We want to hear the both the positive and the negative to help us grow and be better.

More celebration for coming to the end of Step 2!!!

Step 3: Identify current and Future Water Needs

Kick-off at the next Partnership Meeting January 24th

Don’t forget to RSVP for the Nov. 30 Field trip!

Mark your calendars
November 14
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What’s next? Partnership meeting on November 14

The Study Groups have been busy characterizing water quantity, water quality, ecology, and built systems/infrastructure on the Mid-Coast. It’s finally time to share the fruits of their labor. Join us on November 14 from 4:00-7:30 for dinner, presentations, and an open house style information exchange. We will meet at the Center for Health Education in Newport, OR. Learn about what we have accomplished since March and get ready for the next steps! Click here to see the agenda.  Please RSVP at

What’s next? Partnership meeting on November 14


The Study Groups have been busy characterizing water quantity, water quality, ecology, and built systems/infrastructure on the Mid-Coast. It’s finally time to share the fruits of their labor. Join us on November 14 from 4:00-7:30 for dinner, presentations, and an open house style information exchange. We will meet at the Center for Health Education in Newport, OR. Learn about what we have accomplished since March and get ready for the next steps! Click here to see the agenda.  Please RSVP at


Field Tours Past and Present

The materials from our first field tour in the Schooner Creek and Salmon River Watersheds are posted online. View the field tour guide and handouts or visit our Facebook page to view the videos.

Our next field tour will be in the Siletz River drainage from 1-5 on September 28. Click here to view the itinerary. Please RSVP at so we can make sure to have enough room for you!

What's next?
Field Tours

August 8 Meeting Recap and Highlights


by Patti Ferry, Newport Chamber of Commerce

This month we traveled north to meet in Gleneden Beach. Eden Hall opened its doors to us and served a wonderful taco bar. We were glad to have such good attendance in the middle of summer – 48 partners in total. We had 10 first timers and 3 new people signed on to the Charter.

We heard a brief recap of the Field Trips that took place in July. Participants enjoyed seeing in-stream projects, forest lands, estuaries, and various sized water systems. A request was made for a parking lot type of collection of folks’ questions and comments to be followed up on after the trips. Tim Gross with the City of Newport is working to help plan the September field trips.

Study groups also met in June and are uncovering gaps in data. They are working on a set of technical write ups and will work on again during the September study groups. You can still join a study group if you wish by emailing the facilitator, Jeanne Nyquist. The Partnership meeting in November will include a review of the write ups.​

August 8

More information on the upcoming Study Groups and Field Trips can be found at:

We took a short break and then dove into the planning part of the meeting. Our table groups gathered around maps and looked at what those at each table felt were the priority topics to be covered, with a focus on water needs and vulnerabilities.

Anna Pakenham Stevenson from ODFW gave an educational presentation on the ecological value of water flows for fish. She talked about in-stream water rights and who may be senior or junior to a claim. ODFW is filing on streams and rivers in the Mid-Coast area for instream water rights. Currently only three state agencies can apply for water rights, ODFW, DEQ, and Parks. ODFW  is also looking to balance the needs on the water during times of scarcity.

Harmony gave a quick recap on the Communication & Outreach group. We are hoping for an in-person meeting in September and Harmony is sending out a poll invite to the committee members. Three of the goals that the group is working on right now are:

  • Partner to Partner Communication (e.g., partner directory)

  • Peer to Peer learning (e.g., field trips)

  • Retain Partners (what keeps you coming back?)

If you have any ideas on strategies or tools the Communication & Outreach group could use to achieve these goals email Harmony Burright.

A few announcements from Partners:

  • The US Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee, Water and Energy – Water Security and Drought Preparedness held a hearing on 8/2/17. Information is available at The deadline for comments is August 15, 2017. Send comments, information, and data to Senator Wyden via contact information on his website.

  • is meeting in Florence the first weekend in October. This might be a good outreach opportunity for the Partnership. For more information visit

  • A program funding report providing information on available funding for Mid-Coast organizations is available at no cost.  Please contact Tia Cavender at


Partnership Meeting on August 8 at Eden Hall


Greetings, Partners!  Our next Partnership meeting is scheduled for: August 8, 2017, 4 – 7 pm  
Eden Hall – Side Door Café – 6675 Gleneden Beach Loop, Gleneden, OR 

First Timers – please arrive at 3:30 for an orientation to the Partnership
Dinner will be served

Please RSVP your attendance by clicking on the link: 

A lot of good work has occurred since our last Partnership meeting in May.  We hope you can attend to get a status report on Partnership work, contribute your knowledge, and learn more about water dynamics in the Mid-Coast.  Reasons to attend –

  • Hear about our first Field Tour to Schooner Creek – Salmon River.  We’ll have pictures and stories to share.

  • Get a summary of work that occurred at the first round of Study Groups in June.

  • Contribute your knowledge to help explore water challenges and vulnerabilities.

  • Learn about how water flows impact ecological health of our region. Anna Pakenham Stevenson from ODFW will be here to share information about this important aspect of our water resources. 

Up Next . . . Please mark your calendars for the following:

  • Study Group meetings

    • Water Quantity: September 12, 9:30 – 12n

    • Water Quality: September 12, 2:00 – 4:30 pm

    • Ecology: September 13, 9:30 – 12n

    • Built Systems: September 13, 2:00 – 4:30 pm

  • Field Tour #2 – Siletz River stream flows – September 28, 2017

  • Field Tour #3 – Built Infrastructure – how we manage water quantity and quality – November 9, 2017

  • Next Partnership Meeting – November 14, 2017, 4-7 pm

Field Tour of Schooner Creek and Salmon River – July 27 from 1-5pm


















We will be kicking off our first of three field tours this year with a trip to the Schooner Creek and Salmon River watersheds. The theme of this tour is watershed processes and we will be looking at how water moves through the landscape and how it is used on its path from source to sea. The tour will be on Thursday, July 27 from 1-5pm – transportation will be provided from the first stop as well as snacks and drinks.

Please RSVP at so that we can plan accordingly!

Stop #1 – Lincoln City Drinking Water Intake and Treatment Plant in the Schooner Creek

Drive up Schooner Creek Rd. along Schooner Creek

Stop #2 – Forest Management in the Schooner Creek Watershed

Stop #3 – Panther Creek Water District Intake and Treatment in the Salmon River Watershed

Stop #4 – Salmon River Estuary Management in the Salmon River Watershed

Partners who will present at the stops include: The City of Lincoln City Public Works, Hancock Forest Management, Oregon Forest Industries Council, Oregon Department of Forestry, the US Forest Service, Salmon-Drift Creek Watershed Council, Panther Creek Water District, and others.

If you have knowledge about places in either of these watersheds, please be in touch with Harmony (

The next field tour in September will be focused on the Siletz River Watershed.

Time to open your cupboards…and sign-up for study groups


Step one is complete! We have a final Charter, a Technical Work Plan, and a Communication and Outreach Plan and we’re off to the races. The next step is to reach a common understanding of our water resources. In strategic planning we call the next phase the “environmental scan” where we do a broad survey of available information to help us understand what we know and what we don’t know. All of the information we collect at this stage will help us be strategic about how we move forward in the planning effort.

Open call for information!

So, partners, it’s time to open your cupboards. What data, information, studies, and reports do you have that you can contribute to this stew? We are looking for sources of information that are most useful and most relevant to helping the Partnership understand the water resources in the Mid-Coast. We have a pretty good start in the Reading Room, but we need to do a little bit more digging.  If you have materials to contribute, email them to our technical consultant – GSI Water Solutions.


  • Check out the current reports in the Reading Room – do you have anything to add?

  • Review the DRAFT Bibliography – what is it missing?

  • Take a look at the Technical Work Plan – what data or information would help us understand the topics outlined in that document?

Join a study group! Another way to be involved is to join a study group. The Technical Work Plan is broken into several topic areas – water quantity, water quality, ecology, and built systems – and we will have a study group assisting the technical consultant with each topic area. The minimum commitment for a study group is two meetings – one in June and one in September. Of course, that’s just the minimum commitment – you are welcome and encouraged to contribute as your time allows.


Water Quantity: June 21 and September 12, 9:30 – noon
Water Quality: June 21 and September 12, 2:00 – 4:30 pm
Ecology: June 22 and September 13, 9:30 – noon
Built Systems: June 22 and September 13, 2:00 – 4:30pm


Get out in the field! An important part of understanding our water system is getting out onto the ground to look at the landscape and our water systems and learn from each other. See below for the proposed field trips and stay tuned for more information


Watershed Processes: Salmon Creek Watershed – July 27
Watershed Quantity & Supply: Siletz River Watershed – September 28
Built Infrastructure: Waldport / Yachats – November 9

Share your thoughts!

Provide information and feedback to

Partnership Meeting August 8
Field Tour - Schooner
Time to Open
Something to Celebrate

Something to celebrate – a signed charter!


We have a charter! This marks an important milestone for the Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership. At the November meeting the Partnership reviewed several sections of a draft Charter and crafted a vision statement. Members of the Coordinating Committee and Partnership have been hard at work since November to develop the remainder of the Charter and make sure it captures the spirit and intent of our process.

Mission: The purpose of the Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership is to develop an inclusive community forum which examines water use in the region, identifies current and potential water challenges, and creates a unified plan to balance water needs.

Vision:  Regional partners ensuring balanced water resources for the environment, the economy, and coastal communities.

As a collaborative group, we value partnership, transparency, innovation, commitment, flexibility, action, and clarity. We will be using a consensus-based approach in which group members develop and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole. A practical definition of consensus is:

  • The parties have had an opportunity to share and understand all viewpoints.

  • The parties have reached a ‘meeting of the minds’ sufficient to make a decision and carry it out.

  • Once agreement has been reached, the Partners are committed to supporting the decision or refraining from blocking or disparaging it.

The Charter was adopted at the March 29 meeting of the Partnership by consensus of the 41 participants in attendance. 

A mile wide

A mile wide and a foot deep


GSI Water Solutions, the technical consultant for this planning effort, unveiled the first draft of a Technical Work Plan at this month’s Partnership meeting. The Technical Work Plan outlines what work we will do together through the planning process. Once the collaborative group has been formed and the charter has been signed, we will begin gathering available information about our water resources. This information will help us develop a shared understanding of our current resources and the challenges we face in balancing water needs between communities, the economy, and the environment.

Since this is an integrated effort, we will be looking at the many dimensions of water in the Mid-Coast. We will look at surface water and groundwater, how quantity, quality and ecology are all connected, the interactions between land use and water use, as well as the intersection between energy and water. We will be considering the water needs of many different partners in the region and begin to think about risks and vulnerabilities that may impact their ability to get the water they need. Finally, we will look at consensus-based solutions that help us address those challenges and meet multiple interests. All of this work requires information and data to support our deliberations and decision-making – that’s where GSI comes in.

At the meeting Adam Sussman, with GSI, asked the group to consider the following questions: What is missing? What needs to be changed? Small groups considered these questions and brainstormed a list of things that should be examined in the next planning steps. Everyone in the room has different knowledge about water issues and different skills they can contribute. By drawing on diverse knowledge and expertise from the partnership we will build a common base of understanding to draw from.

GSI reiterated that this next phase is really about gathering up available information, not about developing new information. We will be going a mile wide and a foot deep. We won’t be able to dive into every topic, but we will use to information we gather to be strategic about our planning efforts. GSI and our facilitators will help us wrap our heads around what we know and what we don’t know and help us chart out a path forward.

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