The Oregon Seal Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife  
 » ODFW Home    » Habitat Division   » Water Quality and Quantity
About Us Fishing Hunting Viewing License/Regs Conservation Living With Wildlife Education
Leading efforts to protect, restore, and enhance habitat for Oregon’s fish and wildlife

Water Program

Although freshwater habitats cover a small fraction of Oregon, they contain an incredible proportion of its biodiversity. Unfortunately, these habitats and Oregon’s iconic fish and wildlife that depend on them are at risk. Humans have greatly changed freshwater systems to take advantage of the many benefits they provide, but in doing so, have degraded habitats to the point that many no longer function properly. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these issues. The Water Program science and policy staff are involved in a variety of actions to help protect and restore freshwater systems for all Oregonians to enjoy, now and in the future.

Water Program Goal:

Protect and restore water quantity and quality to support resilient fish and wildlife populations now and into the future

Water Program Priorities

Learn more about instream water rights here

Explore our Story:

ODFW Instream Water Rights Overview

Instream Water Rights in Oregon:

Frequently Asked Questions

Attend an informational meeting about upcoming instream water right applications in the Willamette River Basin

The May meetings are focused on upcoming applications in the North Willamette.

Virtual meeting: Wednesday, May 22

In-person meeting: Thursday, May 23
Location: Clackamas Community College (19600 Molalla Ave., Oregon City, OR), Roger Rook Hall Board Room (first floor)

The June meetings will focus on upcoming applications in the Mid Willamette.

In-person meeting: Monday, June 10 from 6:00-7:00 PM
Location: ODFW Headquarters (4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE, Salem, OR), Commission Room

Virtual meeting: Tuesday, June 11 from noon-1:00 PM
Please register here to attend the meeting.

HOLD THE DATES: The July meetings will focus on upcoming applications in the Upper Willamette. Registration and location information will be added soon.

Virtual meeting: Thursday, July 25 from noon-1:00 PM

In-person meeting: Thursday, July 25 from 6:00-7:00 PM

Flow Protection

Pursue instream water rights and other mechanisms to legally protect water instream for public benefit.

  • File instream water rights on behalf of Oregon’s fish and wildlife to be held in trust by the state
  • Support conversion of expiring hydropower water rights to instream water rights
  • Support conversion of remaining minimum perennial streamflows to instream water rights
  • Secure resolution of protested instream water rights
  • Support regional partners on voluntary flow restoration projects

Science and Prioritizations

Establish instream flow needs and develop priority areas for flow protection and restoration.

  • Conduct instream flow studies to develop ecological flow targets
  • Identify the state’s cold-water resources
  • Conduct real-time flow and temperature monitoring in priority areas
  • Identify priority locations for instream transfers and leases and other voluntary flow restoration efforts

Minimize Impacts from Water Development

Ensure effective and consistent application of ODFW’s Mitigation and Climate Policies to water and hydropower development.

  • Engage with regulatory agencies to ensure consideration of fish and wildlife needs in water right and hydropower processes

Further Water Solutions

Communicate relevant, science-based information on instream needs to facilitate development and implementation of water solutions.

  • Participate in collaborative water planning and implementation processes to secure balanced solutions for water management
  • Communicate instream flow needs and priority areas for flow protection and restoration
  • Engage in water quality processes to protect fish and wildlife

Innovative Climate Solutions

Implement climate solutions and policy changes to facilitate protection of priority habitats and build species resiliency to climate change effects.

  • Protect cold-water resources
  • Increase pace and scale of voluntary flow restoration
  • Advance real-time water temperature monitoring and forecasting

Region MapSubscribe to email and text alerts for Water Program topics that interest you:

For more information about the Water Program, please contact Acting Program Manager Spencer Sawaske.


About Us | Fishing | Crabbing & Clamming | Big Game Hunting | Game Bird Hunting | Wildlife Viewing | License / Regs | Conservation | Living with Wildlife | Education | Workday Login

ODFW Home | Driving Directions | Employee Directory | Social Media | | File Formats | Employee Webmail | ODFW License Agents | Accessibility

4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE   ::   Salem, OR 97302   ::    Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW [6339]

Do you have a question or comment for ODFW? Contact ODFW's Public Service Representative at:
Share your opinion or comments on a Fish and Wildlife Commission issue at:
Do you need this information in an alternative format or language? Contact 503-947-6000 or click here.

   © ODFW. All rights reserved. This page was last updated: 05/30/2024 11:42 AM