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Victory!  Short Sands Water Quality Protection

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is nearing completion on a new septic system at Short Sands beach to help address the water quality issues first identified in August of 2013, through the work of  the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program (OBMP), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ),  Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force Program and concerned local ocean users.

The primary concern with the old septic drain field was its age and size. The drain field was never built to accommodate the type of use that the Short Sands parking lot gets today. OPRD was proactive in quickly developing a plan to address their aging system. When complete, the new drain field should have enough capacity to deal with increased use for the next 50 yrs. The system was located as far as possible from both Short Sand Creek and Necarney Creek and has been constructed to minimize the impact on the old growth forest.

While we haven’t ruled out other sources of bacteria, the replacement of a failing system is a big victory for improving the water quality for recreational users. This clean water victory is especially important due to Short Sands location directly adjacent to the newly established Cape Falcon Marine Reserve. This project is an important step to minimizing the impact of recreational use on this special and ecologically significant place.

The Portland Chapter has establishing an ongoing monitoring program through their Oswald West Committee with OPRD and DEQ to continue testing the the water quality in the area and increase stewardship of this loved to death place within the recreational community. We will be hiring an intern soon to further develop the scope and sustainability of Portland Chapter’s Blue Water Task Force monitoring program in the area.

Stay tuned to the  Portland Chapter website for upcoming Oswald West Committee water quality monitoring, beach cleanup  and restoration volunteer opportunities.

Check out this post for more background info and tips on what you can do to lessen your impact on Short Sands.

For more information contact the Oregon Field Coordinator Ryan Cruse: