Dear Friends -
Happy New Year! Our team at Willamette Riverkeeper is truly grateful to those of you who "gifted" the Willamette with a year-end donation, and helped us wrap up one of our most successful giving campaigns to date. Your support makes our work possible!
2017 is shaping up to be very interesting, especially from the perspective of protecting clean water, clean air and public lands. At the same time, just as 2016 was a disappointing year in some ways, it also had a lot of good in it, and that was especially true of our work to protect and restore the Willamette.
This year WR will continue to push and make gains for the Willamette's protection and restoration. With our volunteers and staff we will:
- Maintain a strong presence on the river. We continue to develop a unique capacity to be on the river regularly, interacting with river users, land owners, and resource agencies. This helps us to identify and address issues that need attention.
- Evaluate and address threats to Clean Water in the Willamette and its tributaries.
- Push for additional screening of sediment, fish tissue and water for a variety of toxic compounds along the Willamette.
- Push to advance the earliest cleanup action on the Portland Harbor Superfund site.
- Work to move the Willamette Biological Opinion forward to provide better fish passage at the Willamette dams.
- Conduct numerous river trips for you, our community, to better connect you with the Willamette, and to foster its stewardship. Our River Discovery program has continued to grow, each and every year since 2000.
We will advocate, educate, and collaborate to make gains for this river. If you are interested in supporting this work or learning more, I encourage you to become a River Guardian volunteer in 2017, or a member, or to take part in one of our ongoing education and stewardship opportunities.
For the River,
Riverkeeper & Executive Director
Another milestone for the Willamette's Portland Harbor Superfund site will be reached this Friday with the release of the "Record of Decision," or the Final Cleanup Plan.
After receiving more than 5,300 public comments regarding their Draft Clean Up Plan, issued last June, t
he US EPA has reviewed and considered the community's input, and has made adjustments to their Draft Plan.
We anticipate some improvements to the Plan, but we will not know for certain until Friday afternoon what adjustments were made. We are hopeful for increased dredging of polluted sediments on the river bottom, as well as additional capping in some areas. Our goal has always been to remove as much of the polluted material as possible.
After 16 years of work on this phase of the cleanup, we are hopeful that the implementation phase will move as quickly as possible. We are committed to moving the implementation of the cleanup forward over the next several years. We will also have an active presence monitoring the harbor area during the cleanup, and will devote attention to identifying and decreasing any potential background toxic pollutants, of any type, from upstream sources in the Willamette Valley.
We will be sure to let you know what was included in the Record of Decision, and what the EPA's final decision looks like. Stay tuned for more on this issue in the days ahead!
Last month's Trashy Tuesday crew
In recent years the issue of trash and debris along the river has become acute. All manner of debris accumulates along the Willamette in the central part of Portland, Eugene, Salem, Springfield and beyond. We have an active program in Springfield/Eugene that works to deal with this issue called our River Guardian Program.
Now, we are launching "Trashy Tuesday" in the Portland area, with the hope of expanding to the mid Willamette.
What: "Trashy Tuesday" recurring river clean up (2nd Tuesday of the month)
When: Tuesday, 1/10 from 11:30am to 1:30pm
Get your hands dirty and make a difference! Join us every second Tuesday of the month at the recently improved Portland Boathouse dock, and help us pick up trash in the central part of Portland along the Willamette. Park in the 2 hour visitor parking spaces near the building, on the street, or ride your bike.
Reserve a seat in one of our canoes, or bring your own boat. We will provide trash bags, non latex gloves, and trash pickers. Dress for the weather and paddling (layers, boots, and rain gear). We will spend about an hour or so on the water.
River Discovery: Bridges + Big Ships,1/28
What: Join us for a fascinating and seldom paddled stretch of the Willamette! Enjoy a rare opportunity to admire Portland's iconic bridges and huge ships from a unique perspective, while learning more about historic riverside industries, and todays Superfund challenges.
When: Saturday, 1/28, from 10:00am - about 2:00pm
Details: We'll launch from the
SE Portland Boathouse
and will paddle 7.5 miles downstream, passing under eight historic bridges (including the Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside, Steel, Broadway, Fremont, Union Pacific Railroad, and St. Johns Bridges), ending our trip at
Meet at the SE Portland Boathouse (1515 SE Water Avenue, Portland) in the parking lot just above the boat ramp. Please arrive around 9:30am as we aim to launch no later than 10:00am. Participants should be comfortable paddling for 2-3 hours in current. There are no restrooms along this stretch. Dress appropriately for *cold* and wet weather (bring hats, gloves, pack a spare set of dry clothes and extra warm layers! We will have extra dry bags on hand). Be smart about how you equip your feet: thick wool or fleece socks and warm rubber/waterproof boots are a good idea. Also bring water, snacks, lunch, a hot drink, and perhaps your camera.
Shuttle: Riverkeeper is offering a limited shuttle service from the take-out, back to the SE Portland Boathouse. You must reserve a seat in our shuttle in advance. We welcome participants to make their own shuttle arrangements as well. We expect to reach the take out sometime between 1:30pm and 2:00pm. The shuttle can take approximately 25-40 minutes (one way). Shuttle fee is $10.
Need a Boat? Riverkeeper canoes are available upon request. You must recruit your own paddling partner.
This August, for the first time in 26 years, a
Total Solar Eclipse will streak across North America. Part of our own Willamette Valley sits in the path of totality, providing one of
the best opportunities to view this incredible phenomenon. Eclipse-chasers from around the world have already booked up local lodging and campsites.
Good thing for Paddle Oregon! We'll be offering a completely unique viewing experience from a mid-river gravel bar on your National Water Trail.
Our new trip website and registration will be available in February!
We do expect to fill up, so don't delay once registration is open!
|Riverkeeper, Travis Williams, recently documented his trip on the Upper Willamette with board member and OPRD River Ranger, Scott Youngblood- check it out!