Sometimes a Great Notion: Oregon's Instream Flow Experiments

Janet C. Neuman

Lewis & Clark Law School; Tonkon Torp LLP

Gail Achterman

Oregon State University - Department of Forest Resources

Environmental Law, Vol. 36, 2006

Oregon has been a pioneer in adopting legislation to protect instream flows, beginning with waterfall protection statutes early in the twentieth century, followed by a mid-century water code overhaul designed to protect minimum streamflows, and culminating in explicit legislative recognition of instream water rights in 1987. Other states in the western United States have looked to Oregon as a model, even though Oregon's various experiments have not always achieved the goals of protecting and restoring flowing water. Recently, however, the experiments have begun to show tangible results - and more importantly, results that are being replicated outside of Oregon. This Article examines key events and statutory enactments in Oregon's streamflow protection history, evaluates their successes and failures, and explores how the most workable devices for protecting streamflows are spreading through the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: Instream flows, water law, protecting streamflows

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Date posted: February 12, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Neuman, Janet C. and Achterman, Gail, Sometimes a Great Notion: Oregon's Instream Flow Experiments. Environmental Law, Vol. 36, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=962134

Contact Information

Janet C. Neuman (Contact Author)
Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )
10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States
Tonkon Torp LLP ( email )
888 SW 5th Avenue
Suite 1600
Portland, OR 97204
United States
503-802-5722 (Phone)
503-972-7422 (Fax)
Gail Achterman
Oregon State University - Department of Forest Resources ( email )
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States
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