The Management Plan’s 43 actions address seven priority issues and contribute to the ultimate goal of restoring and maintaining the biological integrity of the Lower Columbia River Estuary. The actions are organized in three broad categories: (1) habitat and land use; (2) education and management; and (3) conventional and toxic pollutants.
Chapter 5 of the Estuary Partnership Management Plan contains the full version of each action. There each action includes multiple components, including an environmental significance paragraph, a bulleted list of how the action will be implemented, the priority issues addressed, implementing parties, costs, and ways to measure progress.
Each action also meets two important conditions. One, any entity responsible for implementing an action must have helped develop it. Two, every action has an identified funding source.
Finally, not all actions represent new activities or approaches. Many agencies and organizations already expend considerable time and resources addressing priority issues. In these cases, the Estuary Partnership attempts to recognize and build on existing efforts.
Habitat and Land Use Actions
1. Inventory and prioritize habitat types and attributes needing protection and conservation. Identify habitats and environmentally sensitive lands that should not be altered.
2. Protect, conserve and enhance identified habitats, particularly wetlands, on the mainstem of the lower Columbia River.
3. Adopt and implement consistent wetland, riparian, and aquatic habitat protection standards that result in an increase in quality and quantity of habitat.
4. Preserve and/or restore buffer areas in appropriate locations along tributaries and the mainstem to a condition that is adequate to maintain a healthy, functioning riparian zone for the lower river and estuary.
5. Restore 3000 acres of tidal wetlands along the lower 46 river miles to return tidal wetlands to 50% of the 1948 level.
6. Monitor the effectiveness of habitat protection, restoration and mitigation projects.
7. Develop floodplain management and shoreland zoning protection programs.
8. Reduce the volume and velocity and improve the water quality of stormwater runoff in developed areas.
9. Use tools and incentives in local planning ordinances and state laws to encourage environmentally sensitive development.
10. Establish, or modify, minimum flows (including mainstem flows) to meet instream needs. Evaluate the cumulative impact of all proposed water withdrawals, diversions, or instream structures to ensure that established minimum flows are maintained.
11. Avoid the introduction of unwanted exotic species and manage the deliberate introduction of desirable exotic species in the lower Columbia River and estuary.
12. Ensure that human-caused changes in the river morphology and sediment distribution within the river channel and estuary are managed so that native and desired species are not harmed.
13. Identify and increase points of public access to the river. Ensure that access does not cause further loss of habitat, increased erosion, loss of riparian vegetation, or degradation of water quality.
Education and Management Actions
14. Create an entity that serves as an advocate for the lower Columbia River and estuary.
15. Establish a common vision for and unified commitment to the health of the river.
16. Maintain public information and education efforts about the lower river and estuary that focus on endangered species, habitat loss and restoration, biological diversity, and lifestyle practices and connections to the river.
17. Use best management practices to reduce non-point source pollution.
18. Help local governments comply with federal, state and local environmental and land use laws.
19. Coordinate federal and state threatened and endangered species recovery standards in the lower Columbia River and estuary and help local communities meet species recovery requirements.
20. Enforce existing environmental and land use laws.
21. Improve coordination among government agencies.
22. Design, support and agree to use dispute resolution processes leading to resolution of institutional conflicts that affect the river.
23. Develop and implement consistent water quality related laws, rules, and standards.
24. Establish an award program to promote successful stewardship and pollution prevention activities.
25. Administer grant programs to assist users with Management Plan implementation and to assist school children in educational efforts that focus on endangered species and habitat loss.
26. Coordinate volunteer monitoring programs and create or coordinate volunteer opportunities on the lower river.
27. Implement the Estuary Program information management plan.
28. Implement the Estuary Program long-term monitoring plan.
Conventional and Toxic Pollutants Actions
29. Monitor and evaluate potential effects of pollutants on human health and wildlife.
30. Develop a basin-wide strategy for identified toxic and conventional pollutants that defines their sources, fate and effects, and reduces their discharge.
31. Use pollution prevention to reduce or eliminate toxic and conventional pollution generated during manufacturing and industrial processes.
32. Reduce and maintain temperature and total dissolved gas, in the mainstem and tributaries, to help sustain native species.
33. Reduce the bacterial contamination sometimes found in the Columbia River and its tributaries to limit human exposure to contaminated water.
34. Develop maximum pollutant loads for streams that do not meet water quality standards.
35. Eliminate new sources of bioaccumulative chemicals; eliminate existing source discharges of bioaccumulative chemicals; and control bioaccumulative discharges from contaminated sites.
36. Require all permitted discharges to surface water to use alternatives to chlorine to protect aquatic life where such alternatives provide equivalent removal and treatment of bacteria.
37. Require that industrial wastewater that is discharged to municipal wastewater treatment facilities does not contain materials that exhibit chronic toxicity or that interact with other chemicals to cause toxic effects.
38. Reduce hydrocarbon (PAHs) and heavy metal emissions from petroleum powered engines that contaminate runoff with toxic chemicals.
39. Clean up hazardous waste sites.
40. Regulate and track the use of hazardous material to prevent re-uses that contaminate surface water or groundwater.
41. Provide subsidized hazardous material disposal opportunities for small volume users and generators.
42. Require all marine facilities to have safety and spill prevention and clean up plans in place and to have sewage and bilge pump out facilities and treatment procedures.
43. Pursue safe deposition and timely clean up of nuclear wastes stored at the Trojan and Hanford nuclear facilities.