The Willamette River was recently graded a B– overall by the Willamette River Initiative’s first report card, with the middle and upper sections of the river scoring a grade of B. This is a result of many efforts up and down the river, but we are proud of our efforts at the North Santiam Watershed Council (NSWC) as being part of the solution to make the river a healthy home for our community and local wildlife.
Since 1995, the NSWC has been working to improve water quality and habitat conditions in the North Santiam Watershed. As a volunteer, nongovernmental advisory group, we work hand-in-hand with our partners and supporters including local agencies, schools, landowners, industries and businesses. Many of us live, work and play alongside, or within just a few minutes of, the rivers and streams that flow into the Willamette — so we know first-hand how important it is to have clean water, healthy streamside conditions and thriving fish populations for our kids and grandkids to continue enjoying in the future.
A complex river like the Willamette calls for solutions on a large scale, such as restoring floodplain forests and cleaning up Portland Harbor. But individual actions matter too. Today we invite you to take action to make a difference to the health of our rivers and streams, and help raise the grade of the Willamette. Volunteer with us, at one of our events, or throughout the year. And don’t stop there–take your efforts to help the river back to your home. There are simple steps that you can take to keep the river clean–and ensure it stays that way:
- Reduce the amount of toxic chemicals you use at home. Choose safer cleaning products.
- Choose alternatives to toxic lawn care products.
- Learn about common hazardous products and how to dispose of them properly.
- Drop off your unused medications at an appropriate site instead of flushing them down the toilet or tossing them in the garbage.
- Clean up after your pets to reduce the introduction of harmful bacteria to the river. Pet waste left on the ground contributes to runoff that pollutes the waterways.
- Use less water at home. More water left in the system means better stream conditions and temperatures for sensitive species like salmon.
- Plant trees and shrubs along streambanks to provide shade and filter runoff.
Download your own copy of the Willamette River Initiative’s report card by clicking here, and be sure to visit our website to learn about more ways to get involved with the North Santiam Watershed Council. Together we can ensure our grade in the next report card is even higher.
Click HERE to Download the 2015 Willamette River Report Card