The McKenzie watershed is comprised of 88% forested land, with a mixture of private, state, and federally owned lands. Forested watersheds, like the McKenzie, produce better water quality than any other surface water source. In addition, a study by the Trust for Public Land found that for every 10 percent increase in forest cover in a source area watershed, water treatment and chemicals costs decreased by approximately 20 percent (TPL, 2002). However, forest management activities that may adversely impact downstream water quality include: the use of chemical applications for stand treatment; road building and failures; and various timber harvest techniques. The greatest risk to drinking water from industrial forest management activities is due to aerial application of pesticides because of drift, wash-off, and erosion processes.
Source: Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Spray Notification Data, compiled by Lane Council of Governments for the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB).