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GIS based riparian area management plans : recommendations to local governments of the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce Public Deposited

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  • This paper evaluates Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 5: Natural Resources and Goal 17 Coastal Shorelands, planning programs and makes recommendations for improvement to the Oregon members of the Columbia River Estuary Study Task Force (CREST). CREST is a Council of Governments formed in 1974 which includes the local counties, cities and port districts surrounding the Columbia River Estuary in both Oregon and Washington. The focus of this paper is the management of riparian areas, lands within 250 horizontal feet of streams, rivers, and estuaries. The impetus for this project is recent Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings of Pacific salmon species. These ESA listings have prompted all local governments in areas of know use by listed species, such as Oregon CREST member governments, to reevaluate planning programs, including riparian area land use planning and management. The process used to reach the nparian recommendations included several tasks. First, riparian area and watershed land use planning principles and practices were reviewed. Second, one CREST member, the City of Seaside, was used as a demonstration area to perform a detailed geographic information systems (GIS) characterization of the watershed and study area riparian setting. Finally, the results of the City of Seaside study were used to make recommendations to the city and other Oregon CREST members. A review of the principles and practices of riparian area management produced two products. First, a summary of the literature on sizing riparian management zones illustrated that no one size is recommended and the size required varies with the attributes of the riparian area landscape and the management goal. Second, a review of the planning processes applied to riparian area management produced a strategy for developing the riparian area management plan. This strategy integrated the natural setting of the study area, selection of a riparian area management goal, a detailed study of the riparian zone, and objectives and constraints of landowners into the planning process. A geographic information system (GIS) was utilized to develop these recommendations. GIS has been used extensively in land use planning, including riparian area management. GIS riparian buffer delineation models have been developed to make determinations on buffer width for varying management goals including water detention and stream shading. The GIS nparian buffer delineation model for water detention was selected as most appropriate for the study area and used as a tool in making the riparian area recommendations. Several recommendations were produced through the nparian area management planning process. First, the City of Seaside riparian area the topography, soils and vegetation when applied to riparian buffer width literature suggest a buffer of 75 to 100 feet is necessary. Second, it is recommended the impact of a 75 to 100 feet buffer on land development potential be mitigated through environmental site planning and land use planning techniques. Finally, the geographic setting of City of Seaside is generally similar to that of other Oregon CREST members. Therefore, recommendations made to the City of Seaside will likely be applicable to other Oregon CREST members. These recommendations have the potential to substantially benefit the quality of the City of Seaside's surface waters. These recommendation, however, are only one part of stream protection. Separate actions must be taken throughout the watershed, such as reducing impervious surface and the amount of pollutants introduced into the system through point source discharges in order to ensure proper water quality.
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