The Conservancy and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to balance needs of people and nature.
Healthy Flows, Healthy Rivers
Learn how changing flows from dams can produce benefits for people and nature.
Leslie Bach, the Conservancy's Oregon freshwater director
In Oregon, our freshwater team is working with partners to protect and restore habitat for salmon.
The Willamette River, Oregon’s largest river system, and its tributaries support important migratory runs of coho and Chinook salmon, trout and other fish. But 13 dams control how water flows through the system, impacting their life cycles and habitats.
The Nature Conservancy has partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers to establish more natural flows through dams operating in the Willamette Basin. Often the storage and diversion of water alters seasonal flow patterns, stressing fish and wildlife adapted to natural rhythms. More natural flows of river and streams are critical to the health and viability of freshwater systems while also providing vital water for human communities.
At Sandy River Gorge, six miles of untamed river with upland terraces and canyons provide excellent habitat for native fish, wildlife and an old-growth forest, all within 20 miles of Oregon's largest urban area.
The Conservancy is working with over 250 private landowners, schools, agencies and service groups to improve habitat and remove invasive species like Japanese knotweed, an aggressive invasive plant that threatens fish habitat up and down the West Coast.
Protecting the Sandy River is critical to threatened lower Columbia River fall Chinook and winter steelhead as well as spring coho, Chinook and steelhead. The fall Chinook run represents one of only two viable populations in the entire lower Columbia River system.