Watershed Protection

Source to Tap – Protecting Water Quality

Protecting Graphic 2

Safe drinking water is our top priority and we are here to monitor and protect it from it source to your tap.

Click here for more information. 

Protecting Our Watershed

Unlike the City of Portland’s protected Bull Run watershed, the Clackamas is a multi-use watershed with various users and ownership throughout the watershed.

Each time it rains or snows, pollutants wash off the land and flow untreated into nearby surface and groundwater sources. Because all water in a watershed is connected activities in one part of the watershed often affect other areas. A healthy watershed stores and filters water, stabilizes banks, provides shade and habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

Human activities such as construction, timber harvesting, live stock management, fertilizer and pesticide use if not performed responsibly can degrade water quality. In addition impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, and roofs carry pollutants directly to our streams and natural water ways. Therefore, the combination of cars, homes, people, and animals in the watershed makes pollution from stormwater a serious threat to our river’s water quality.

Enhancing watershed health requires understanding your watershed and taking appropriate action as needed to eliminate or control polluting activities. While good water quality may be difficult to see, a rich variety of plants and animals, from aquatic insects to cutthroat trout, indicate a healthy watershed and clean water.

We all play a role in preserving our vital drinking water resource. Whether you’re a resident, business owner, employee or farmer, you can make a difference. Protecting and conserving our drinking water plays a key role in making the best overall use of the precious resource we share.

Key concerns in the Clackamas Basin are:

Naturally spawning anadromous salmonids – the Clackamas River supports spring and fall Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, Cutthroat trout, and summer and winter Stealhead.

Land use – (agricultural, timber harvesting and urban uses) practices such as removing woody debris from stream channels, clearcutting, removing streamside vegetation, withdrawing water for irrigation, and road building can increase sediment loads and water temperatures.

Urban Growth – Increased growth in the watershed can have negative water quality impacts due to increase impervious surfaces and increase stormwater runoff.

Water Quality – Significant portions of the Clackamas River and its tributaries currently do not meet state water quality standards for temperature and bacteria

Water Supply – Water withdrawals for people must be balanced with maintaining sufficient instream flows to support fish.

Protecting the Clackamas River is one of the top priorities of the Clackamas River Water Providers.
As Clackamas County continues to grow, so does the demand for high quality water. Conserving and protecting the Clackamas River will play a key role in making the best use of this precious resource we share.

What Can You Do?

  • Install a raingarden to allow water from your property to filter into the ground.

  • Practice water efficient landscaping an/or naturescaping. 

  • Prevent stormwater runoff by decreasing impervious surfaces. 

  • Restore streamside and riparian areas by planting native trees and shrubs. 

  • Properly dispose of, or recycle, motor oil, antifreeze, paint, solvents and other toxic materials. 

  • Wash your car on the lawn and prevent car wash water from entering storm drains.

  • Reduce or eliminate your pesticide and fertilizer use to prevent chemical runoff. 

  • Clean up after your pet. 

  • Fence livestock away from water areas to protect stream banks, reduce erosion and protect water quality. 

  • Inspect and properly maintain septic systems. 

  • Conserve water, especially in the summer months when river flows are at their lowest. The more water we save, the more water we can keep in the river for fish. 

  • Get involved! Attend a Clackamas River Water Providers, city council, or water board meeting. 

  • Call your water provider for more information. 

  • Join our local watershed council, the Clackamas River Basin Council. 

     For more ideas on how you can prevent pollution from entering our water ways click here.

Want to learn more about the benefits of watershed protection?  Check out the links below.

Watershed Restoration Mean Clean Drinking Water for Oregonians (Opinion)

Protection Our Water Sources Brings a Wealth of Benefits

The Nature Conservancy, Beyond the Source: The environment, economic and community benefits of source water protection