Summer Riverscape 

From The Riverkeeper

Hey River People - 
A couple of weeks ago, one of our members reported an interesting interaction. He had stopped on a Willamette River beach with a couple of friends - taking a break from an evening kayak trip to enjoy the sunset. 
After a few minutes the small group was interrupted by a landowner who told them that, "we own the beach here, so you can't stop here." The landowner insisted that this was a fact. 
The group said they thought she was wrong, but they left, a bit uncertain as to what was the truth, and/or allowable. Well, the landowner was wrong - the public owns the bed and banks of the Willamette River, and has access up to the average high water mark. This means, in most cases in the summer months when the water is low, there is often a considerable area that the public can legally access. 
One of the central tenets of many rivers is that the bed and banks are owned by the public. This is part of the "public trust."
In Oregon, rivers like the Willamette River that have been determined as "navigable" are held in Trust by the State of Oregon for the public. If a river was used in some fashion for commerce, prior to 1859 when Oregon became a State, they are often deemed navigable. 
Specifically, the Oregon Department of State Lands holds our navigable rivers in Trust. Again, the commonly accepted policy is that the public can access the river and the river's banks up to the high water mark. Certainly if one goes above the average high water mark, a person may be trespassing, and this is why most river travelers take care in regard to where they walk inland from the river's edge. 
Willamette Riverkeeper and others continue to work to safeguard the right to public waterways. We also promote responsible use, via our Water Trail guides and website that make clear definitions of where public land exists.
So, get out there and explore and enjoy your river, whether canoeing, kayaking, swimming, rowing, fishing or more. It is your river. 
See you on the river. 


Travis Williams
Riverkeeper & Executive Director

Paddle & Pull- 7/25, 8/22

WHAT:  Paddle & Pull on the Willamette

 Wednesday, July 25th from 9:30am - 3:30pm
WHERE:   Michaels Landing in Corvallis  to  Hyak Park in Albany  
REGISTER for 7/25 here
WHEN:  Wednesday, August 22nd from 9:30am - 3:30pm
WHERE:  Peoria Park in Peoria to Crystal Lake Boat Ramp in Corvallis

REGISTER for 8/22 here

DETAILS:  The Willamette River supports diverse native plant and wildlife populations and provides clean water to Oregonians. Land managers, scientists, and concerned citizens are working together throughout the Willamette Basin to address the growing issue of aquatic invasives. 

Join staff from Will
amette Riverkeeper, Benton SWCD, members from the Willamette Mainstem Cooperative, and members of the Willamette Aquatic Invasive Network for a 9 mile paddle-and-pull outing, launching from Michael's Landing in Corvallis, and taking out at Hyak Park in Albany.
Participants will learn to identify aquatic weeds and effectively hand pull priority aquatic weeds. Paddle your own boat, or  reserve a space in a Willamette Riverkeeper canoe. Water Weed Field Guide provided .
BRING: Pack two full water bottles, a warm layer, sun protection (glasses, hat and sunscreen), brown bag lunch, snacks, and closed-toe shoes.
VOLUNTEER: Mussel Surveys, 7/31 - 8/3

As you may recall, last summer we conducted a major study and survey of Western Pearlshell freshwater mussels in the upper Willamette .

We will be conducting another study of an assemblage of mussel beds we located in Eugene. Similar to our work last year at Norwood Island, we will try to determine whether the beds are reproducing, and to gain a population estimate. We also have plans for additional survey work to determine if mussels are present on a few remaining stretches of the mainstem Willamette River, as well as a couple of key
You can participate in the mania! We are actively seeking volunteers who are interested in helping out for a day or more. The work involves some or all of the following: standing and/or immersion in the water, snorkeling, paddling, excavating the river bottom by hand, and documenting findings. There are a variety of roles that can be played, so if you are interested we can likely find a way to utilize your talent.
Our Eugene study is scheduled for July 31-Aug 3rd, while other surveys will occur multiple days from July through September based on staff and volunteer availability.
This is sure to be another great field season where we can generate useful data to help protect mussels in the Willamette River system, inform the public about this amazing animal, and work toward greater river health overall.

Contact Travis at if you want to join the team.

Double Your Mussel!

We are excited to share t hat the Collins Foundation has awarded Willamette Riverkeeper a $10,000 Challenge Grant for Mussel research.  

Our work advocates for the health of our community and our river, an could not be possible without your support.  Please consider  increasing your current donation or becoming a new donor TODAY and YOUR GIFT WILL BE DOUBLED!   Please be sure to   dedicate your donation to "mussel research" when prompted.

VOLUNTEER: Trashy Tuesdays- 8/7, 8/21

 Last months trashy Tuesday in Eugene with AmeriCorp NCCC students cleaned up about 2 yards of trash!


WHEN:  Tuesday, 8/7 at 9:00am
WHERE:  Boat launch from D Street at 8:30am / land-based from east Holiday Inn parking area on Franklin Blvd. at 9:00am
DETAILS: This month's effort will require land and river based teams. Bring a water bottle, and wear closed-toe shoes, long sleeves and pants. Gloves, pickers, garbage bags, coffee and snacks will be provided. 

REGISTER: Please contact Michelle at or 541-913-4318 


WHEN:  Tuesday, 8/21 from 11:30am to 1:30pm
WHERE: meet at the  SE Portland Boathouse Dock

DETAILS: Join us at the 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. 

REGISTER: Plese email or 503-223-6418

Ross Island Summer Evening Paddle & Pick Up- 8/23

WHAT:  Ross Island Summer Evening Paddle & Pick Up

WHERE:  Meet in the gravel lot at above the river access ramp, next to the Portland Boathouse parking lot (1515 SE Water Ave, Portland, 97214).

WHEN:  Thursday, August 23rd.

Please arrive promptly at 5:30pm to check in, sign a waiver, and gear up. We will not hold up the group to accommodate you if you are late! We should return to the boat ramp by 8:30pm in the evening, and be wrapped up by 9:00pm.

DETAILS: You are invited to join us  and our partners at Portland Parks & Recreation  for an evening canoe adventure to explore Portland's urban island wilderness- Ross Island!

On this exclusive tour you'll be guided into the island's verdant interior (which is closed to the general public), learning about Ross Island's history, and the work we are doing to improve its habitat. We will also work together to pick up trash from the beach (clean up supplies will be provided). Registration is free, and includes a paddle, PFD, and seat in a canoe.

BRING: Dress appropriately for the weather (such as a rain coat, rain pants and extra layers). Tall rubber boots and long pants work well for walking around the island. Bring water, snacks, and a picnic dinner. 

Paddle Oregon Kudos 

We were thrilled to see that our own Paddle Oregon event was named by Rapid Media's "Paddling" Magazine Trip Guide as one of the BEST trips available today!

REGISTRATION CLOSES on Sunday, July 29th at 11:00pm. Come and discover why our award winning Paddle Oregon adventure is the premier multi-day experience offered on our National Willamette River Water Trail.  Your enjoyable, educational, environmentally focused vacation awaits at

Order "187 Miles of Wonder" Today

Oue new WPA-style graphic print is now available for purchase! Visit our homepage to review sizing and framing options and place your order. Proceeds of this purchase support our work!

Willamette Riverkeeper | 503-223-6418 | Email 


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