Protecting Oregon's Waterways


Oregon's natural rivers, lakes, and wetlands provide amazing benefits to our state. Spawning habitat for salmon. Clean drinking water for communities. Beyond ecosystem benefits these natural waterways are - quite simply - stunningly beautiful.

From the Metolius to the Molalla, Oregon's rivers are home to vital habitat for salmon and steelhead. The adjacent forests in the river corridor support endangered northern spotted owls, pileated woodpeckers, and pacific giant salamanders. River like the North Umpqua, Clackamas, Molalla and many more also serve as the primary source of drinking water for nearby cities.

Without protection, these waters could be subjected to the harmful effects of mines, dams, and other development that could lead to polluted water and erosion. Oregon's rivers also provide outstanding recreation opportunities. Hiking along a stream, kayaking through a smooth-as-glass stretch of scenic water, whitewater rafting, fishing, swimming, and more are all quintessential river recreation opportunities that are made possible by protected waters.

There are two primary tools Oregon has used to protect it's rivers, the congressional Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the State Scenic Waterway Act. Click on either of these two links for more information regarding these protected rivers in Oregon. Senator Wyden's River Democracy Act would designate 4,700 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers in Oregon. 

McKenzie River photo by John Goodyear