McMinnville Water & Light’s watershed and source water supply is located in the Coast Mountain Range northwest of the City of McMinnville. The watershed is mainly undeveloped forest and over 6300 acres of this land is owned by McMinnville Water & Light. The main objective in managing the watershed is to protect water resources and maintain water quality. Protecting this vital natural resource is a top priority for McMinnville Water & Light.
All watershed property owned by McMinnville Water & Light is closed to the public and access is strictly controlled. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking or any other recreational activity is prohibited and any unauthorized entry is subject to legal action and enforcement.
McMinnville Water & Light’s watershed is certified as a Tree Farm under the American Tree Farm System. For many years, McMinnville Water & Light has contracted with a natural resources consulting firm to provide a forester to help manage the forest and natural resources within the watershed. Active forest management is important to keep forests healthy and resilient.
Each year, timber is harvested using sustainable yield practices followed by the planting of thousands of seedlings to reforest the harvested areas. Managing the forest in this way helps to improve forest health and long-term stand productivity, increase water production and helps to reduce the impact from wildfires by removing dead and dying trees. Overall, active forest management is beneficial in providing a vigorous and healthy forest eco-system. McMinnville Water & Light’s commitment to sustainable forest management has resulted in one of the most pristine watersheds in the Northwest.
Revenue from timber sales help to fund capital projects for water infrastructure. This allows McMinnville Water & Light to upgrade and improve the water system while continuing to provide one of the lowest water rates in Oregon.