April Riverscape
From The Riverkeeper
(photo: spring looks good on the Willamette Narrows)

Hello Friends - 

As some of you know, over the past few decades winter steelhead and spring chinook have been hit hard in the Willamette Basin. Both species of native fish have exceedingly small populations in comparison to historic numbers. 

The diminished populations have been impacted by US Army Corps of Engineers dams in the Willamette River system, as well as from habitat fragmentation, changed river flows, pollution and more. In the case of winter steelhead, the projection of wild fish this year returning to the Willamette is only 3200 fish, a far cry from the tens of thousands historically seen. The minuscule numbers have made impacts from sea lions significant at Willamette Falls. 

Today, fish passage at the dams, meaning the ability of juvenile fish to get downstream past the dams, and adults returning to spawn upstream of the dams, is exceedingly poor. While dams have other impacts, this is the most significant. 

The time is now to make major improvements. From WR’s lawsuit in 2007 against the US Army Corps, and settlement in 2008, the US Army Corps is required to do more. Unfortunately their work has been far too slow. WR and others are pushing for their work to be completed before we potentially lose winter steelhead in the Willamette completely. In the coming days you will hear more about this situation, and our work to make improvements. 

As always, our 6 staff are working hard to make improvements for the river. From the issue above, to the Portland Harbor Superfund site, Clean Water Act enforcement, Water Trail maintenance, habitat restoration, toxics reduction, trash cleanups up and down the valley, and our River Discovery Program, WR is pushing ahead for the river.
If you are not yet a monthly supporter of our work, please consider signing up ! This is a great way to help us keep moving forward. It is easy, secure, and helps to provide a solid foundation for WR. 

Thanks for your ongoing support!

For the River,

Riverkeeper & Executive Director
Volunteer For Earth Day- EUGENE, 4/20
WHAT: Clean Water for Great Brews!
WHEN: Saturday, April 20th, 8:00am - 12:00pm

Join Willamette Riverkeeper, local brewers, and River Guardian volunteers to help clean up our urban waterfront. We'll "dust off the cobwebs" from the winter high water and put the "shine" back on our riverfront in Eugene-Springfield! Come get dirty for good - and earn yourself a brew (or two) by participating at your favorite neighborhood location! There are numerous clean up sites available, including land based and boat based locations.

Each volunteer (18 yrs +) will earn a punch card good for 12 FREE brews at coffee houses and breweries in Eugene and Springfield in 2019!  

We ask that you please dress for the weather and wear sturdy boots or hard soled shoes. All BYOB (Bring your own Boat) volunteers are must be able to paddle class II water. PFDs are required at all times during the event. Gloves, garbage bags and other clean up supplies will be provided. Bring a coffee cup for morning check-in!

Meet up afterwards for a volunteer celebration at Wildcraft Cider Works at 232 Lincoln St, Eugene, OR 97401 - use your free drink card and win a raffle item!  
Volunteer For Earth Day- SALEM, 4/20
WHAT: Work Party at Willamette Mission State Park
WHEN: Saturday, April 20th, 9:00am - 12:00pm

Celebrate Earth Day and join Willamette Riverkeeper and our partners Oregon State Parks , One Tree Planted , and Bonneville Environmental Foundation for a morning of mulching plants in the floodplain at Willamette Mission State Park. You'll learn about the importance of floodplain forests and our work to improve these valuable habitats. Tools, gloves and hot drinks provided! This is a family friendly event.
NEW! Land Acquisition Program
Over the past few years, we have been approached from time to time in regard to owning land along the river. In 2014 we started managing Norwood Island (pictured below) and came to an agreement with the owner to purchase this parcel near Junction City. In 2017 that sale was completed after our membership generously provided the full amount! Later that same year, we also received a donation of 107 acres of land in Yamhill County now known as the Nicol Sanctuary (pictured above). 

Since that time we’ve been approached with other potential lands, from donations to purchases. There is a significant need to protect lands along the Willamette that can provide essential habitat for a range of species, and in some cases these same lands can provide recreational opportunities. Given the relative lack of natural landscape along the mainstem river, anything that can be protected or restored for the long-term is meaningful to the Willamette’s future, as well as our quality of life. 

Over time we have seen significant gaps in current acquisition efforts, which makes us believe there is a need. After thinking on the need, and the opportunity, WR is creating a modest land acquisition program. Our goals are simple,  to purchase or receive lands that provide habitat, restoration opportunity, and low impact recreation.  
We are not a land trust, and we are not seeking that designation. In our view, given our intensive presence working in the field throughout the year, and long-standing advocacy for the river’s health, it makes sense for our non profit to own land if it meets our criteria, and if we have capacity to manage it over time. 

Stay tuned for more in the months ahead as we further develop this program.
Volunteers Needed- Trashy Tues/Thurs
Come get dirty for GOOD with us! This month we have the following opportunities to be a River Guardian, and participate in a river clean up near you!

CORVALLIS- Trashy Thursday
Thursday, 4/18 from 9:00am - 12:00pm

PORTLAND- Trashy Tuesday
Tuesday, 4/23 from 11:30 - 1:30
Volunteers Needed- Bio Blitz, 4/26
WHAT: Bio Blitz by Canoe
WHEN: Friday, 4/26 9:00am - 12:00pm
WHERE: Alton Baker Canoe Canal  

What is a 'BioBlitz'? ‘Bio’ means ‘life’ and ‘blitz’ means ‘to do something quickly and intensively’. Together they make ‘BioBlitz’, a collaborative race against the clock to discover as many species of plants, animals and fungi as possible, within a set location, over a defined time period.

We are joining forces with the City of Eugene , Nearby Nature and the Nature Conservancy to compete in the City Nature Challenge, a Citizen's Science effort, counting as many species possible as we can by water in the Canoe Canal at Alton Baker Park. Please join us as we bring technology and nature together to discover what lives in our backyard!

Please meet at Alton Baker Park in the upper parking area near the Pre's Trail entry no later than 9:00am. Look for our canoe trailers! Please bring a filled water bottle, dress for the weather and come with the iNaturalist app downloaded on your smart phone or tablet to help tally the number of wildlife observations we can make from the water. Waterproof phone bags or ziplocks recommended to keep phones safe when not in use. (WR is not responsible for lost or damaged items.) PFDs, canoes, and paddles will be provided. Please indicate your needs on the registration form. No paddling experience necessary.
WIN This Canoe!
WIN Our 187 Miles of Wonder Package

Now through August 16 th when you DONATE to Willamette Riverkeeper in one of the following ways listed below , you will automatically be entered to WIN more than $4,000 worth of paddling gear, thanks to a generous donation by our friends at Paddle People :
  • Donate a minimum of $10 or more per month for 1 year
  • Increase your current monthly donation by $10 for 1 year
  • Make a one time donation of $120 or more
What You WIN:
A Wenonah Champlain Ultra-light Kevlar Canoe , 18ft, with Dual Sliding 
Seats, a Center Seat, and a Removable Ash Yoke- WOW!

Plus... 2 Wenonah Tour-Lite Paddles, 2 Stohlquist Edge Lifejackets, an Oregon Invasive Species Permit, a pair of Paddle People Cam Straps, and a “187 Miles of Wonder” art poster
Paddle Oregon News
Here's the latest news-

Discount Ending: Our early registration discount will end May 1st, so be sure to register soon if you plan to join us on this river-loving adventure.

Volunteers: We are still seeking experienced paddlers to volunteer for our river safety team. Our Safety Weekend takes place May 4 th -5 th , so if you think you are a good fit, please contact kate@willametteriverkeeper.org .

Entertainment: In addition to the legendary Pete Krebs and the Rockin’ K Review, we’ll be joined by the acclaimed Jenny Conlee of the Decemberists , who will perform with her “ Paper Bellows Accordion Group!
Pinot Paddle
BYO Bag To Support Clean Water

We are super excited to announce several ways you can support clean water and healthy habitat while you run your errands! 

Five, that's right FIVE different stores and 3 different companies are currently offering to donate 5 cents to Willamette Riverkeeper when you shop and choose to BYO bag

Please support these stores and your river JUST by bringing your own bag!
Vote For YOUR Water Trail @ REI
Help fund our project when you shop at your local REI! Now through April 8th, you can s upport our work to enhance and expand YOUR Willamette River Water Trail!

  • For each purchase you make (as an REI Member) at REI in Portland, Salem, Clackamas, Tualatin, and Hillsboro, you'll receive a voting token.

  • Place your token in the container for Willamette Riverkeeper's Water Trail Enhancement Project.

  • Projects will receive funding based on the number of tokens they receive.