- Oregon State University Extension Service (ES) is responsible for the information and education portion of the USDA Dairy-McKay Hydrologic Unit Area (HUA) Project to reduce rural nonpoint source pollution. Approximately 2,700 people own farm and forest land in the 165,000 acre project area. The ES conducted a phone survey of 298 landowners in the HUA to determine knowledge and implementation of water quality management practices. Producers, when asked to describe themselves, chose 178 as farmers and 120 as foresters. The respondents were polled for information on:
Acreage, crops, and operation
Stream, roadway, soil, irrigation, and septic system management Livestock and waste management
Water quality projects and agencies
The HUA is an agriculturally diverse, high-production fann and forest region. Knowledge and implementation of water quality management practices was high, with the exception of animal waste management by non-commercial animal owners. Some owners know that water quality project help is available. Awareness of the HUA project and designated, specific agency assistance was quite low. A notable number from the farming sector rated the agency assistance as unsatisfactory. Many of the respondents don't perceive a water quality problem in their area.
The ES needs to increase awareness of the issue of water quality, potential animal waste problems; what the HUA is; and where agency assistance is available. Successful voluntary water quality management programs have an effective education and information component.