Salem's Plan to Cool Stream Temperatures

​ The City of Salem operates under a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Plan regulated by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to address warm summer stream temperatures. The water body receives a TMDL when a pollutant exceeds the amount for the beneficial uses of that water body. During the summer local water bodies exceed the temperature load. Increased sun exposure due to decreased tree canopy over the water body and warm water discharged into streams, creeks, and rivers lead to increased stream temperatures. 

Warm Temperatures Affect Stream Life

The City of Salem works to increase streamside shade. Resident fish and aquatic life are the most sensitive to warm water temperatures in our region. Warmer temperatures affect Salmonid fish impacting their spawning, rearing, and migration as Salmonid fish need proper stream temperatures to make the passage safely.

Study Finds Low Tree Canopy on Salem Streams

Salem has approximately 90 miles of streams flowing through it, with the majority of the streamside area being privately owned. In 2009, Salem conducted a streamside survey to determine the amount of tree canopy that shades Salem's streams. The study measured the tree canopy within 50 feet of the stream and divided the findings into the following three categories:

  1. Low Shade: 47.1%, or 571.1 acres, had less than 25% tree canopy/stream shade.
  2. Mid-Level Shade: 31.4%, or 380.9 acres, had between 25% and 75% tree canopy/stream shade.
  3. High Shade: 21.5%, or 260.3 acres, had greater than 75% tree canopy/stream shade.

Streamside property owners play a vital role in helping protect the health of streams flowing through Salem. Increasing shade is just one of the goals the City of Salem has for improving stream health. This page provides information on regulations to protect streams as well as resources for streamside property owners.

Download the current TMDL Annual Report

City regulations

Find information on City of Salem regulations and guidelines regarding riparian areas, native plants, and more.

​Streamside homeowner resources

​​As a streamside homeowner there are resources available to you to help you keep local streams healthy.

​Benefits of riparian areas

Riparian areas provide many benefits for streams and aquatic life from habitat, to shade, to erosion control.

​Watershed Protection & Preservation Grant

Do you have an idea for an innovative project that will help enhance the local watershed? The Watershed Protection & Preservation Grant is available to businesses, schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and individuals.

Get involved

Looking for ways you can volunteer or get involved in protecting Salem streams?

Contact us

Clean StreamsNatural Resources Outreach Public Works Department
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.