Waldo Lake and Crater Lake, two of Oregon’s treasured bodies of water, could get additional state protections after action taken by the state Environmental Quality Commission.
The commission approved a recommendation by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to begin the process of designating the lakes as Outstanding Resource Waters of the state. Such a process to consider designation of these waters would include development of rules that would further protect the lakes from degradation of their water quality.
Both Waldo and Crater lakes are known internationally for their clarity.
“These are precious, pristine resources for Oregon and the rest of the world to enjoy,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “It is our responsibility and obligation to ensure they are protected for future generations.”
He said the designation would not change activities currently allowed at Waldo Lake, such as kayaking, swimming and camping, or alter the way the Parks Service operates Crater Lake.
Kathleen George, who chairs the commission, added: “We will continue to work with DEQ staff on this to ensure robust public participation and a thoughtful process.”
The action was taken after the DEQ received a petition from the Northwest Environmental Defense Center asking the agency to start proceedings to designate Waldo Lake as Outstanding Resource Waters. After reviewing the petition, DEQ also recommended that Crater Lake, the centerpiece of Crater Lake National Park, be added to this process.
DEQ will now develop a project plan and schedule for the rulemaking processes, and will work with the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service to adopt policies to prevent degradation of water quality.