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Ditch-cleaning bill encounters environmental objections


February 5, 2019
By Capital Press

A proposal to allow Oregon farmers to clean more sediment from ditches without a permit has encountered opposition from environmentalists who warn of unintended consequences.

Under House Bill 2437, farmers could dig out up to 3,000 cubic yards of dirt per mile of drainage ditch in wetland areas over five years without a state fill-removal permit, up from the current limit of 50 cubic yards per year. Farmers argued that original amount of removing 50 cubic yards per year isn’t enough to prevent ditches from clogging, interfering with field drainage while filling channels inhabited by fish with dirt.

However, several environmental groups urged the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use against recommending the bill for approval, claiming that allowing an “exponential” increase in the amount of dirt removed from ditches could adversely affect fish. | READ MORE