Evaluation for public benefits of project
(1) Projects applying under ORS 541.669 (Scoring and ranking of projects) for funding from the Water Supply Development Account shall be evaluated based upon the public benefits of the project. The evaluation must consider both positive and negative effects of a project. The three categories of public benefit to be considered in the project evaluation are economic benefits, environmental benefits and social or cultural benefits. Each category of benefits shall be given equal importance in the evaluation of a project. The technical review team described in ORS 541.669 (Scoring and ranking of projects) shall use the evaluation system to assign initial scores and rankings to projects. The Water Resources Commission shall use the evaluation system to assign final scorings and rankings to the projects. The commission shall award loan and grant funding from the account to the projects that have the greatest public benefit and will best achieve the outcomes described in ORS 541.677 (Target outcomes for scoring and ranking criteria).
(2) The evaluation of economic benefits for a project shall be based on the changes in economic conditions expected to result from the project, including but not limited to conditions related to:
(a) Job creation or retention;
(b) Increases in economic activity;
(c) Increases in efficiency or innovation;
(d) Enhancement of infrastructure, farmland, public resource lands, industrial lands, commercial lands or lands having other key uses;
(e) Enhanced economic value associated with tourism or recreational or commercial fishing, with fisheries involving native fish of cultural significance to Indian tribes or with other economic values resulting from restoring or protecting water in-stream; and
(f) Increases in irrigated land for agriculture.
(3) The evaluation of environmental benefits for a project shall be based on the changes in environmental conditions expected to result from the project, including but not limited to conditions related to:
(a) A measurable improvement in protected streamflows that:
(A) Supports the natural hydrograph;
(B) Improves floodplain function;
(C) Supports state or federally listed sensitive, threatened or endangered fish species;
(D) Supports native fish species of cultural importance to Indian tribes; or
(E) Supports riparian habitat important for wildlife;
(b) A measurable improvement in ground water levels that enhances environmental conditions in ground water restricted areas or other areas;
(c) A measurable improvement in the quality of surface water or ground water;
(d) Water conservation;
(e) Increased ecosystem resiliency to climate change impacts; and
(f) Improvements that address one or more limiting ecological factors in the project watershed.
(4) The evaluation of the social or cultural benefits for a project shall be based on the changes in social or cultural conditions expected to result from the project, including but not limited to conditions related to:
(a) The promotion of public health and safety and of local food systems;
(b) A measurable improvement in conditions for members of minority or low-income communities, economically distressed rural communities, tribal communities or other communities traditionally underrepresented in public processes;
(c) The promotion of recreation and scenic values;
(d) Contribution to the body of scientific data publicly available in this state;
(e) The promotion of state or local priorities, including but not limited to the restoration and protection of native fish species of cultural significance to Indian tribes; and
(f) The promotion of collaborative basin planning efforts, including but not limited to efforts under the state integrated water resources strategy. [2013 c.784 §8]
Note: See note under 541.651 (Definitions for ORS 541.651 to 541.696).
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