FOSSIL - Efforts are underway to develop a region-wide John Day Subbasin Plan that will cover 8,100 square miles in east-central Oregon.

Representatives from area watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts; tribal, local governments, and state and federal natural resource agencies serving Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler, Grant, Crook and Morrow counties are involved in the planning process and have appointed representatives to serve on a John Day Subbasin Coordinating Committee to provide input and oversight to the planning process.

Presentations to give the public information about the plan are scheduled across the subbasin region, to watershed councils and soil and water conservation districts this month and next, then to local governments and commodity and civic groups.

The John Day River is the longest free-flowing river with wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin.

The John Day Subbasin takes in Grant, Gilliam and Wheeler counties and portions of Sherman, Crook, Harney, Jefferson, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wasco counties.

The upper part of the subbasin is one of Oregon's most physiographically diverse regions with mountains, rugged hills, plateaus cut by streams and valleys. The lower part of the subbasin is a plateau of nearly level to rolling land deeply dissected by the river and its tributaries. The mainstem John Day River flows 284 miles from its source in the Strawberry Mountains to the Columbia.

The John Day Subbasin is one of 62 subbasins in the Columbia Basin Plateau in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. It is the fourth largest subbasin in the state of Oregon - bounded by the Columbia River to the north, the Blue Mountains to the east, the Aldrich and Strawberry Range to the south, and the Ochoco Mountains to the west.

Subbasin plans must be completed by May 28, 2004. Completed subbasin plans will also serve as a guide in recovery planning by federal and state agencies.

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