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The Willamette River

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									     The Willamette River




 A look at the River
 http://www.willamette-
  riverkeeper.org/theriver/
           Historically
 Wild river.
 Floods in winter
 187miles on its main stem
 Great floods result in the river changing
    Historically the valley
 Valley open prairies
 Oak and conifer woodlands
 Native American peoples, Calapooia
 Euro American 150
          The River Today
   Surrounded by agricultural land
   Little riverside forests
   Cities hug the banks
   Industrial facilities
   Source and dumping
   Harnessed and modified by hydropower dams
    on the tributaries.
   Pollution and habitat destruction have altered
    the function and very health
   Still opportunities to regain some semblance
    of the river's former health and vitality.
        Physical Character
   13th largest river in the United States
   Valley receives between 40-50 inches of rain a
    year.
   Watershed of 11,500 square miles in area.
   Average flow of the river is some 32,000 cubic
    feet per second (cfs) where the river flows into
    the Columbia.
   Flood in February of 1996, the flow was estimated
    to be some 460,000 cfs.
Damming of the Willamette
 13 US Army Corps of Engineers, dams
  on its tributaries.
 11 of which produce hydropower.
 Privately held dams
 These projects control over 27% of
  runoff
 These projects have a direct connection
  to the future health and natural
  function of the Willamette
Wathershed & Tributaries
    Watershed & Tributaries
   Willamette River has multiple
    tributaries.
    – Middle Fork     Coast Fork
    – McKenzie,       Santiam,
    – Mary's,         Luckiamute,
    – Yamhill,        Molalla,
    – Tualatin,       Clackamas
       The Impact of People

 22% of the Willamette Basin agriculture
 70% forest.due to the mountainous parts
 8% urban.
 70% of all Oregonians live in the Willamette
  Basin.
 Man made north south - Interstate 5.
              Cities
 Greatest impact on the river
 Major cities hug the river
 Providing ample opportunity for polluted
  runoff
 Habitat alteration
          Pollution 1
 Pollution has come from industry
 Some from agriculture
 Some from cities
 Some from other sources as well
 1960s progress made reducing industrial
  wastes
              Pollution 2
   Non Point Source Pollution
    – Can not identify the source.
   Point Source Pollution
    – Can put your finger on the pollution.
    Governor Tom McCall
 Reduced the raw industrial pollution
 Environmental law.
         Current River
 River flows that are manipulated by
  dams, to the detriment of native
  species.
 Habitat destruction on the main stem
  and tributaries that has resulted in
  threatened species and rising
  temperatures.
    Loss of channel diversity
 In the early days an intensive effort to
  cut off natural back channels separated
  river habitat from the main river.
 90 miles of the river now has banks
  that were hardened with rip rap.
 Instead of multiple braided channels
  that support local biodiversity, the river
  is largely confined to one main channel
  in many areas.
        Current Problems
   Clean Water Act 303 (d) list for
    violations
    – temperature
    – bacteria
    – mercury standards
   40 miles known as the Newberg Pool
    – high percentages of skeletal deformities.
         Current Problems
   A six mile stretch in Portland
    – Federally designated Superfund
    – toxic pollution
    – heavy metals
    – cleanup process a decade to complete.
   Spring Chinook and steelhead, the
    Willamette's native salmonids, are listed
    as threatened under the Federal
    Endangered Species Act.
      Current Problems
 Lamprey eel and white sturgeon found to
  contain man made chemicals in their
  tissues.
 Fish consumption advisory for resident fish.

								
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