September Riverscape

In This Newsletter
From the Riverkeeper
The Big (Successful) Float
High Praise For Paddle Oregon 2011
"The River Why" Film Premier- Friday, 9/9
Down the River Cleanup on the Clackamas: Sunday, 9/11
River Discovery: Guided Hike- Saturday, 9/17
Volunteers Needed: New Seasons Bennefit BBQ- October 1st & 2nd
3rd Annual Great Willamette Cleanup: October 8th & 9th
Waldo Weekend: October 14th - 16th
Thanks to NW Natural
Office Snapshot
From the Riverkeeper

CliffordRose.Willamette shower


Hey Folks - 

The Willamette River system has experienced a tremendous loss of riparian habitat over the decades from a range of development types. Over the past few years there have been good efforts to restore riparian habitat, on small creeks leading to larger tributaries, to the mainstem Willamette itself. 


The reasons for this are simple, good riparian habitat benefits a range of native aquatic and avian species, and can help cool water during the heat of the summer months. Water that is too warm along the Willamette is already an issue that needs to be addressed. Another reason to establish healthy riparian habitat is Global Climate Change, something that is figuring into many parts of our lives, and will more so over the years if the predictions hold true. 


Establishing healthy riparian ecosystems can help guard against changing conditions along the river - conditions such as the timing of spring flows, less water in general, and other potential alterations to how the river has most recently functioned (imposition of dams aside). The resilience that we create through vigorous riparian areas can help stem against permanent changes that could affect these systems if they are already unhealthy now. 


The more robust riverside areas are, with the related level of resiliency they contain, the better they will be able to withstand changes in temperature and extreme events as a result of Global Climate Change - thereby helping to sustain native species of wildlife for the long-term. 


The road ahead is long, but every restoration project along our rivers, if done well, can help sustain and recover native species. We must continue the efforts of a wide range of partners to conduct riparian restoration projects, whether in rural areas, or urban. 


Thanks, and see you out along the river. 




Travis Williams

Riverkeeper & Executive Director


photo: Clifford Rose cools off along the Willamette during our 11th Annual Paddle Oregon in August, by Kelly Otto.

The Big (Successful) Float




And so it was that on Sunday, July 31, 2011, an armada of 1,200 thrill-seeking floaters of all ages and creeds donned various and sundry buoyant devices including inner tubes, noodles, rafts, kayaks, canoes, SUP boards, air mattresses, kinetic sculptures, and in one case a bag of plastic bottles, all to gallantly set sail across Portland's mighty Willamette River. This passionately prepared and well executed happening was none other than the inaugural launching of THE BIG FLOAT, and its story is just beginning...


Many thanks to all of you who participated in our first annual floatilla! We were thrilled with the results, which would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors including the Portland Mercury, the Office of Healthy Working Rivers, KINK-FM, Popina Swimwear, Kona Brewing, Homespun Websites, Vitamin Water, Morel Ink, Les Overhead, Dotzero Design, Google Places Portland, popchips, and Columbia Sportswear.


A very special thanks-kudos-and-hip-hip-huzzahs to Will Levenson, Big Float Visionary, Willamette Riverkeeper board member, and co-owner of Popina Swimwear! All of us thank you for your tireless efforts, contagious enthusiasm, and most of all... for legitimizing the free-floating inner tube in downtown Portland!


The Big Float- see it to believe it!
The Big Float- see it to believe it!

There will be more to come in the way of videos and news about the Human Access Project. Follow The Big Float Facebook Fan Page, and... GET TO KNOW YOUR RIVER with Willamette Riverkeeper!


Did the Willamette surprise you? Is your interest in your HOME RIVER piqued? We WELCOME your participation as a volunteer (especially this October at our New Season BBQ and 3rd Annual Great Willamette Cleanup)! We have many more exciting events to round out our year including paddling opportunities, film festivals, and more, so stay tuned to our E-newsletter, Facebook, & Twitter posts. Your river will love you for it. Really!


Next year we will aim for 3,000 floaters! 


Enjoy our video slideshow to with images courtesy of Portland Mercury staff, Al Knorr, Travis Williams, and Kate Ross.


photo: Festive floaters take to the Willamette, by Kate Ross (top)

High Praise for Paddle Oregon 2011  
Fun Dance
Evening on Paddle Oregon 2011... intriguing, isn't it? by Kelly Otto 


We are still wrapping up from what we feel was our most triumphant and meaningful Paddle Oregon experience to date. This year we concentrated on connecting people to the river not only through the lens of paddling, but by engaging with communities, businesses, and organizations along the way. 


Some highlights: hosting the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde's Canoe Family who paddled impressive, traditional canoes and offered an exhilarating, interactive cultural program, partnering with the City of Albany Visitors Association to offer historic downtown Albany trolley car tours with designated stopping points at areas of interest, camping at Chatoe Rogue's historic Aluvial Hop Farm & Brewery while enjoying fascinating tours of the farm and fresh, delicious brews, Chintimini Wildlife Rehabilitation Center's live river raptor presentation, a "Star Party" hosted by local astronomy club Night Sky 45, living history volunteers from the Historic Friends of Champoeg fiddling us into camp and educating participants on the significant history of the area, live musical performances by Flat Rock String Band and the Byron Lord & Johnny Powell Duo, valley based wine tastings by Anne Amie and Chehalem, talent shows and river queens, all in addition to massage, yoga, and Reflexology. As usual, the company and food was exceptional, the days were hot, and thankfully the headwind was minimal (since the millage was not)!


THANK YOU to our outstanding 2011 paddlers and volunteers! We simply could not have this much fun without out you, nor could we gather the support needed to protect and restore our river and continue our work.


Please send us your trip photos! Our photo contest extends through September when we will post our trip slideshow. Winners will receive a KEEN shoe card with a value of $150. Send images to kate@willametteriverkeeper.org or mail your disk to Willamette Riverkeeper, 1515 SE Water Ave #102 Portland, OR 97214.  


We look forward to the late fall when we will share our NEW documentary film produced by Tom Frisch. Until then, we invite you to continue to participate in our events and volunteer opportunities!

"The River Why" Film Premier- Friday, 9/9 

Join Willamette Riverkeeper as we support our friends at the River Network as they feature the anticipated premier of the classic river-novel-turned film, The River Why.    


River Why posterSet on the banks of a wild river (and filmed extensively in Oregon), The River Why is the story of 20 year old Gus Orviston, the Mozart of flyfishing, who leaves his big city home in rebellion from his family to live in a secluded cabin. Instead of finding fishing bliss, his desolation drives him on a reluctant quest for self-discovery- which was only possible because he had access to a healthy river!


When: Friday, September 9th, showtime @ 7pm 

Where: Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland


The River Why is a part of the Active Cinema movement, inspiring audiences to get involved and take care of the rivers and lands the film so beautifully highlights. The evening will also serve as the official kick-off leading up to the 13th annual National River Rally, which River Network and Waterkeeper Alliance will jointly bring to Portland for the first time May 4-7, 2012. River Rally is the largest gathering of river and watershed conservation leaders in the nation; Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and Alexandra Cousteau will be among the Keynote speakers.


Actors William Hurt, and Zach Gilford (Gus/Friday Night Lights), along with producer Kristi Denton Cohen, will be on hand before the screening and for a post-film Q&A.


Tickets $20-- Includes admission to the film, complimentary raffle ticket and donation to support healthy rivers.

Limited seating. Purchase your tickets online today!


Down the River Cleanup on the Clackamas: Sunday, 9/11



On Sunday, September 11th our friends at We Love Clean Rivers, in partnership with the Clackamas River Basin Council will host the 9th Annual Down the River Clean Up on Oregon's Clackamas River!


The annual Down the River Clean Up is an on-the-river, 15-mile cleanup made possible by a rich network of river recreationalists, outdoor companies, environmental organizations, government entities, local community leaders, and hopefully you!


If you have ever fallen in love with the Clackamas or any river, you are invited to participate in this spectacular day of organized chaos where 300+ river-lovers jump in their rafts, kayaks, canoes, and drift boats, uniting to scour the banks and river bottom from Barton Park to Clackamette Park where the Clackamas meets the Willamette River.


The Clackamas River is home to old-growth forests, bird species, steelhead, and is one of the last remaining wild salmon runs in the lower Columbia basin. While the river provides healthy habitat for wildlife, it also supplies the Portland metropolitan area with fresh drinking water. Due to the bounty, beauty and close proximity to urban areas, the Clackamas River has become known for attracting recreationalists of all kinds, including kayakers, rafters, tubers, anglers, and more. The high-use of the river and its nearness to cities, unfortunately, brings in pollutants and unwarranted litter.


WLCR blue logoSo, get wet, make new friends, race your neighboring Pod to extract the biggest, weirdest, or funniest (after all, there will be awards for this sort of thing) piece of rusted-dilapidated-detritus you've ever seen and help restore the Clackamas back to its pristine state! We will thank you. The salmon will thank you. And did I mention that this event is also a whole lotta fun?


See the official event website for details and registration information. Volunteers paddling their own kayaks, canoes, etc must have whitewater paddling experience, be proficient at navigating up to class II rapids, and have an appropriate craft for these conditions with adequate floatation. If you do not have this experience or an appropriate whitewater boat of your own-- don't worry, you may register to ride in an even raft. 

Following the cleanup volunteers will be treated to a BBQ and live music by The Pickups, Volifonix, & The Pink Widowers, silent auction, & awards ceremony.


New this year, learn how you can turn this into a rewarding weekend of volun-tourism in Oregon's scenic Clackamas County! Combine sightseeing, adventure and philanthropy in one memorable weekend.


photo: Volunteers get to work on the Clackamas Cleanup in 2010, by Kate Ross 

River Discovery: Guided Hike- Saturday, 9/17 

This month we have a UNIQUE Willamette River experience in store for you!


Join us we enjoy an EXCLUSIVE guided hiking tour of the Willamette Confluence Project, formerly know as the Wildish Lands. Led by Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah, this is The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) newest Eugene/Springfield area acquisition. The 1,270-acre property borders Buford Park and includes over six miles of Willamette riverfront.


Located where the Middle and Coast forks of the Willamette River join, east of Eugene, TNC describes this area as "an ecological crossroad where water and wildlife come together in tremendous diversity."


Willamette Confluence. TNC
The Willamette Confluence, courtesy of TNC. 

Why It's Important:  

The area features extensive habitats that are increasingly endangered in the Willamette Valley, including floodplain forest, wetlands, upland oak woodlands and native prairie. The property's diverse habitats are home to blue wildrye, Siberian springbeauty, Saskatoon serviceberry, incense cedar and more. Aditioanlly, more than 30 native fish and wildlife species considered at risk live here including Chinook salmon, northern red-legged frog, vesper sparrow and western meadowlark, Oregon's state bird.


The Nature Conservancy acquired the property from the Wildish family in 2010. With partners, scientists are developing strategies to reconnect the river to its historic floodplain, control invasive species, restore oak and prairie habitats, implement controlled burns, and accommodate public access compatible with habitat restoration. Restoration is expected to take the better part of a decade. Eventually the property will be turned over to public ownership.


When: Saturday, 9/17 meet @ 11am for a bagel brunch provided by Willamette Riverkeeper.

Where: Meet at the Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah's Native Plant Nursery (see directions below.)


The tour takes 3 to 4 hours and covers about 3 miles. Most of the walking is easy. We follow a gravel road that parallels the Middle Fork of the Willamette. Dress accordingly.


Space is limited! CONTACT kate@willametteriverkeeper.org or 503-223-6418 to register. Carpools are encouraged!




*We are told Google maps will lead you astray, so please follow the directions below! The one key thing is to remember to turn LEFT after crossing the bridge over the Coast Fork into Buford Park. Don't go to the Arboretum!!  


Confluence Map

From the north on I-5, heading south 

Take the 30th avenue (LCC) exit. At the first stoplight, stay to the right, heading south on the road paralleling the freeway, approximately 3/4 mile to another stoplight. Turn L and cross over I-5. Turn L again at the blinking red light. Take the first R just past the gas station onto Franklin Blvd. (Hwy 99). Go under the railroad bridge. Take the next left onto Seavey Loop Road. Continue east about 2 miles. Cross bridge over the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, entering Howard Buford Recreation Area (a Lane County Park.) For the native plant nursery and North Trailhead, turn L and proceed a 1/4 mile to a gravel parking area. Walk or drive past the big yellow gate to the nursery.


From the west through Eugene

Follow 30th avenue east past Lane Community College and cross over I-5. Turn L at the blinking red light. Take the first R just past the gas station onto Franklin Blvd. (Hwy 99). Go under the railroad bridge. Take the next left onto Seavey Loop Road. Continue east about 1.5 miles. Cross bridge over the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, entering Howard Buford Recreation Area (a Lane County Park.) For the native plant nursery and north trailhead, turn L and proceed a 1/4 mile to a gravel parking area. Walk (or drive) past the big yellow gate to the nursery.


From the south on I-5, heading north

Exit at 30th avenue, continue straight at the blinking red light. Turn R just past the gas station onto Franklin Blvd. (Hwy 99. Go under the railroad bridge. Take the next left onto Seavey Loop Road. Continue east about 1.5 miles. Cross bridge over the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, entering Howard Buford Recreation Area (a Lane County Park.)  For the native plant nursery and north trailhead, turn L and proceed a 1/4 mile to a gravel parking area. Walk or drive past the big yellow gate to the nursery.


Volunteers Needed: New Seasons Benefit BBQ- October 1st & 2nd 

New Seasons Markets have presented Willamette Riverkeeper with a wonderful fundraising opportunity... but we need your help to make it a success! 


New Seasons storeWhat: Willamette Riverkeeper has been selected to participate in New Seasons' annual Benefit BBQs this year! We will receive the proceeds from all BBQ sales from every New Seasons location during the weekend of October 1st and 2nd. This is an exciting opportunity for us to get the word out about the work we do and help fund our programs!
Learn more about the New Seasons Benefit BBQs


When: Saturday, October 1st & Sunday, October 2nd- from 11:45 am - 4:15 pm


Where: All 11 Portland area New Seasons Stores


Who: We need 44 volunteers to staff the BBQs for the entire weekend. At least 2 volunteers are needed at each store for each day for a 4 1/2 hour shift.


womens TRole of Volunteers:

·Entice shoppers to stop by the BBQ stand and buy food

·Educate shoppers about Willamette Riverkeeper & our programs (we will provide you with information and talking points)

·Help take $ and hand out food

·Encourage donations and member signups


Want to help make a difference for Willamette Riverkeeper and your home river? Please consider taking a shift on either day at your nearest New Seasons! CONTACT WR Development Coordinator Amy Baur at amyb@willametteriverkeeper.org or 503-223-6418. 


PLUS, all volunteers will receive one of our stylish, NEW Willamette Riverkeeper T-shirts (women's t's are purple, unisex/men's are heather brown)   

3rd Annual Great Willamette Cleanup: October 8th & 9th

The Willamette NEEDS YOU!  



When: October 8th (in most river cities) & 9th (in Eugene), from 9am to 12:30pm    

Where: at various sites along the mainstem Willamette River*


Join Willamette Riverkeeper and your river community for the 3rd Annual Great Willamette Cleanup! Help clean up trash from 187 miles of the Willamette River at various sites in the Eugene, Corvallis, Albany, Salem and Portland areas. Select sites will have canoes or kayaks available for registered volunteers, while other locations will rely on volunteers with their own paddle craft. While this is primarily a paddling based effort, some sites will focus on land-based trash removal by foot or by bike. All volunteers will receive the limited edition Great Willamette River Cleanup t-shirt. Portland and Eugene will host volunteer appreciation celebrations immediately following the cleanup.   


*Stay tuned for our e-mail announcement which will include details about clean up sites and REGISTRATION information. 


            GWCpartial poster2011


Waldo Weekend: October 14th - 16th


Waldo shore


Join us to explore and celebrate one of the Willamette River system's chief headwaters, Waldo Lake!


This lake is very unique due to its pristine essence, interesting history, bordering wilderness area, and the face that it supplies water to the North Fork of the Middle Fork Willamette River.


WR would like you to join us for a couple of days to paddle portions of the lake, learn about its history, management of the surrounding forest, and its environmental story. We will have a speaker from the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs, and likely a representative from the US Forest Service. We will also discuss the recent non-motorized designation for the lake.


Where: Waldo Lake, Islet Campground ($18.00 nightly fee).


When: October 14-16 (arrive Friday afternoon, leave Sunday morning)


What to Bring: This is a self supported trip, so you should bring whatever you need to camp in what could be cool to cold conditions at night, in addition to your own food (stove etc.), your canoe or kayak and related paddling gear.


What WR provides: WR will provide paddle leadership, interpretation and speakers, pop up tents in the case of precipitate, a good campfire and more.


Trips: We plan a half day trip on Saturday, late morning to mid afternoon, and on Sunday morning for those who are game.


The point of this trip is to hopefully catch the last few nice days of fall at Waldo (and the last weekend the camp is open), learn about the lake, have some fun, and swap stories around the campfire in one of our "home base" camp sites at night.


For more information, contact Travis (travis@willametteriverkeeper.org) or Kate (kate@willametteriverkeeper.org).


photo: Waldo Lake by Travis Williams. 

Thanks to NW Natural

We would like to extend a special thank you to NW Natural for selecting Willamette Riverkeeper as one of the four non-profit organizations that received a portion of $25,000 in NW Natural's paperless billing campaign. NW Natural customers had the opportunity to vote for their favorite environmental non-profit when they signed up for paperless billing and Willamette Riverkeeper came in first place earning 29.7% of 2,502 votes and a generous donation of $7,425!


This lovely Barred Owl visited us on Paddle Oregon with our friends from the Chintimini Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, by Kelly Otto 

NW Natural signed up over 3,000 new paperless billing customers during the month-and-a-half long campaign. Total votes cast for participating non-profits were 2,502 and were as follows:
 NW natural block
Willamette Riverkeeper: 29.7% ($7,425)
Wetlands Conservancy: 27.4% ($6,850)
1000 Friends of Oregon: 21.4% ($5,350)
NW Earth Institute: 21.3% ($5,325)

"This is just fantastic and is a great example of a local company supporting local non-profits like ours that make a difference in our community," said Travis Williams, Riverkeeper & Executive Director.


Thanks to everyone who voted for Willamette Riverkeeper during this campaign and special thanks to NW Natural for their generosity and dedication to restoring and preserving Oregon's natural places!



Office Snapshot 
WQ volunteers in red

Water Quality Volunteers may be surprised to learn of the new dress code our Water Quality Program Coordinator Julia DeGagne is now strictly enforcing... :)



Pictured from left to right is Julia, and long time E. coli monitoring and monthly monitoring volunteers Linda Folkestad and Bob Brewer.



THANK YOU for your service, and for demonstrating that great minds think alike!

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 Travis Williams- Riverkeeper & Executive Director
Kate Ross- Outreach & Education Coordinator
Amy Baur- Development Coordinator
Julia DeGagne- Water Quality Program Coordinator