Watershed Programs

 Watershed Programs


Each year the Clackamas River Water Providers implement a number of projects that benefit the watershed and promote source water protection efforts. Below is a description of some of the work we have completed. For a more detailed look at what we accomplished this past year check out our Annual Report! CRWP Annual Report.


Clackamas Watershed Resiliency

The CRWP worked with Portland State University faculty and graduate students and the Institute of Sustainable Solutions (ISS) on a multi-year project aimed to provide water resource stakeholders in the Clackamas River watershed with guidance for managing resilience in the face of climate change. Phase I of this project was to establish a baseline of historical trends in the Clackamas River watershed relevant to climate change and identify issues pertinent to stakeholders in the context of climate change (e.g., diminished summer water supply, water quality degradation resulting from urban development and intense rainfall, etc.). Phase II of this project sought to continue that research with two objectives: (1) Applied Climate Science, (2) Climate Adaptation Planning. The goal of the Clackamas Watershed Resilience project was to help the CRWP understand local impacts of climate change on water quality and quantity in the region; and develop strategies to sustain a healthy, reliable water source. To see the results from this research go to   https://sites.google.com/a/pdx.edu/maxnp/research/Clackamas-watershed


Find a Sign Near You!

In 2014 the CRWP received a State Revolving Fund Drinking Water Protection Grant to install attractive interpretative signage at parks and boat ramps in the lower Clackamas River to help educate our river users on how their actions can impact water quality and what they can do to project our drinking water source. Due to the diverse ownership of parks and boat access points in the Clackamas River watershed the CRWP had to work with Oregon City Parks, Clackamas County Parks, Clackamas River Water (District), Oregon State Parks, and PGE on this project. Through this grant the signs were produced and installed at Riverside Park, Barton Park, and Milo McIver State Park in the lower river, and smaller version of the signs were installed by PGE at Timber Park, Promontory Park and along new river access point higher up in the watershed. As part of this grant the CRWP also worked with PGE and the Oregon State Marine Board to to get PGE’s renewly revamped Promontory Park marina certified under the Oregon Clean Marina Program.  Certifiction was finalized in July of 2016 and acknowledgement of this accomplishment is listed on the Oregon State Marine Board website. To learn more about how you can paddle, fish, and play in the Clackamas while protecting our drinking water source click here. img_2751-600             img_2759 Milo McIver State Park                                        Riverside Park

CRWP Macroinvertebrate Monitoring

The CRWP worked with ABR, Inc. Environmental Research & Services to look at how macroinvertebrate monitoring could be used as a tool to track long-term trends in overall water quality in the Clackamas River. The purpose of the study was to look at and summarize all of the existing macroinvertebrate data in the watershed, to conduct a gap analysis, to map all the current and proposed monitoring sites, and to develop a Long Term Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Plan for the lower Clackamas River. The CRWP hopes to use this Plan as a tool to identify opportunities to better collaborate with our Basin partners in these kind of monitoring efforts by aligning monitoring stations and identifying common field and lab methodologies. Click here for the Lower Clackamas River Basin Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Plan. In September of 2013 the CRWP began sampling macroinvertebrates from six sites in the lower Calckamas River mainstem between river miles 0.5 and 22. 2013 Lower Clackamas River Macroinvertebrate Assessment sampling results can be downloaded here. 2014 Lower Clackamas River Macroinvertebrate Assessment sampling results can be downloaded here. 2013-2015 Lower Clackamas River Macroinvertebrate Assessment NEW – MACROINVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY CONDITIONS of the LOWER CLACKAMAS RIVER BASIN 1997-2016 2018 Lower Clackamas River Macroinvertebrate Assessment

Organic Farm Certification Feasibility Study

In 2013 the CRWP provided the Clackamas River Basin Council funding to conduct a Organic Farm Certification Feasibility Study. The purpose of this study was to identify what kind of organic certification program are available to farmers, and to better understand what the impediments are to farms from pursuing these kinds of certifications. The CRWP’s intent was to gain a better understanding of how we can entice more farms in the Clackamas River watershed to become organically certified as a strategy to reduce pesticide use in the basin. Click here for the Organic Farm Certification Final Report.

GIS Assessment of Drinking Water Threats

In 2010 the CRWP hired Herrera Environmental Consultants to develop a GIS/Geodatabase as a tool to assess potential drinking water threats in the Clackamas watershed. During the first year Herrera gathered relevant GIS data for the Clackamas River watershed and built the geodatabase. In the second year of the project Herrera completed a series of GIS risk analyses that focus on six potential contaminant source categories identified as being high risk to water quality in the CRWP Drinking Water Protection Plan. The goal of these GIS analyses was to map risk factors known to have a strong negative correlation with drinking water quality in the Clackamas River watershed. Mapped “hot spots” generated from each analysis separately as well as the results of the six risk analyses overlaid together as an aggregate will be used by the CRWP to help focus drinking water protection priorities. In addition Herrera developed a list of required datasets and a suggested approach for developing a GIS-based watershed emergency response system for the Clackamas River Watershed. The Risk Analysis work done in the second year of this project was funded by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency through the Oregon Safe Drinking Water Program administered by the Oregon Business Development Department. Click on the links below to see the Final Reports for each risk analysis. Executive Summary Septic Systems Analysis Agricultural Analysis Forestry Analysis Urban Development Analysis Vulnerable Soils Analysis Point Source Pollution Analysis Watershed Emergency Response System

Hazardous Materials Spill Risk Analysis

In the fall of 2013 the CRWP worked with Herrera to complete a risk analysis that looked at how hazardous material spills could affect drinking water quality in the Clackamas River watershed.The initial Hazardous Material Spill analysis identified more than 500 facilities store reportable quantities of 3,500 different hazardous substances in the Clackamas River watershed. The analysis grouped substances by physical state and quantity, but did not distinguish by substance type, toxicity, or potential pathways to surface water. To better assess the distribution and magnitude of risk in the focus area, during the FY 2014-15 the CRWP hired Herrera to refined the GIS spill risk analyses to focus specifically on facilities storing large quantities of key categories of hazardous substances. This effort also including identifying potential spill pathways to the Clackamas River. January 28, 2015 Project Results Presentation Updated GIS Hazardous Materials Spill Risk Analyses Results and Recommendations

Pollutant Load Modeling

In 2014 CRWP hired Geosyntec Consultants to better understand the relative and cumulative impacts to the drinking water source quality including all of the land uses. To conduct this assessment a pollutant load modeling tool (PLMT, or the “tool”) was developed to assess baseline conditions and consider scenarios for management and risk reduction.

The tool builds upon CRWP’s Geodatabase and was designed to assist CRWP with (1) prioritizing future water quality sampling to assess progress or performance; (2) selecting best management practices (BMPs) for mitigating various land use-based threats to source water quality; and (3) prioritizing funding to obtain the greatest benefit out of CRWP’s available resources. Clackamas River Basin Pollutant Load Modeling Tool Report)


EcoBiz, short for Eco-Logical Business, is a certification recognizing businesses in Oregon that adopt best practices and protect the environment. The completely free and voluntary program is designed to prevent and minimize hazardous waste, air and water pollution. The CRWP is an active member of the Pollution Prevention Outreach (P2O) Team a group of pollution prevention experts from around the Portland Metro Region, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, which administer the EcoBiz certification program.

EcoBiz currently recognizes Automotive businesses (including general repair, body and paint, radiator repair and car wash), Landscapers (design, installation, maintenance, irrigation, and specialty), and Public Agencies.  In 2014-15 the CRWP partnered with Water Environment Services to hire the Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC) to conduct EcoBiz Outreach Services in the lower part of the Clackamas River watershed.  Click on the link below to see a summary of these efforts. PPRC Final Report FY 15_16 CRWP EcoBiz Certified Landscapers Fact Sheet for Clackamas County

To learn more about EcoBiz or to find a Ecobiz certified business go to www.ecobiz.org_

CE-QUAL-W2 Modeling of the Lower Clackamas River

The Clackamas River Water Providers continue to work with Portland State University (PSU) to develop and maintain a sophisticated hydrodynamic model of stream flows in the lower Clackamas River. The objective of these efforts is to assess the impacts of increased municipal demand on river flows, to balance domestic needs with the flow needed for endangered salmon. We continue to enhance the current CE-QUAL-W2 model to incorporate predictive capabilities into the model so that we can better estimate when impacts to the river might occur over short time periods, therefore facilitating better water supply planning and management of the water resources in the basin.

Pesticide Study

The Clackamas River Water Providers worked with USGS through a Joint Funding Agreement to conduct a second pesticide study on the Clackamas River. The report for this study was released to the public in March, 2008. The purpose of this joint study was to 1) provide additional data within sub-basins to better identify pesticide sources areas, 2) verify and contrast results found during the 2000 USGS Phase I study, 3) obtain data from smaller tributary streams that were not tested during the 2000 study, and 4) provide a comparison with the data collection by ODEQ that can be used to direct future data collection. The report is available online by going to: https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5027/

Pesticide Reduction Program

The CRWP continues to work with a number of our Basin partners on Pesticide Reduction Efforts.  See what we are working on by clicking here https://www.clackamasproviders.org/pesticide-reduction-efforts/

DEQ 319 Grant for Pesticide Round Up Events

In 2010 the Clackamas River Water Providers in partnership with the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Clackamas River Basin Council received a $44,000 319 grant to hold two Pesticide Round Up Events in 2011. The first event took place on Saturday, March 12, 2011. The second event took place on Saturday, October 22, 2011. The purpose of these events was to collect unwanted agricultural pesticides and chemicals so that they could be disposed of correctly before getting into the Clackamas River and other waterways degrading water quality. These events allowed farmers, nursery owners, and other users a non-threatening anonymous opportunity to dispose of harmful pesticides and herbicides for free and with no questions asked. Combined, both events collected over 56,000 pounds of pesticide waste, exceeding our 40,000 pound goal by 16,000 lbs. In addition approximately 1,500 pounds of empty plastic containers were also collected for recycling. To learn more about these events click here to see the final report.

CRBC Financial Support

The Clackamas River Water Providers provide funding for operation support each year to the Clackamas River Basin Council. This funding support helps enable the Clackamas River Basin Council to continue to work on projects that protect and improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in the Clackamas River basin.

Flow Balance/Seepage Study

The overall purpose of this study with USGS is to provide a better understanding of the hydrologic relationship between the lower Clackamas River surface water and the associated ground-water system. By constructing a streamflow balance for the lower Clackamas River from streamflow data collected during peak water use; and by identifying locations and the magnitudes of streamflow gains and losses due to ground water/surface water interactions; the water providers will be able to better understand the relationship of ground-water inflow with water use, geology, and geomorphology of the lower river. This report can be downloaded by clicking here.

Other Water Resource Activities

PGE FERC Relicensing The Clackamas River Water Providers is an active participant in PGE’s FERC relicensing process and Settlement Agreement. It is anticipated that PGE will receive its new license before the end of 2010. In addition the Water Providers are an active participant of PGE’s Blue Green Algae Team which oversees PGE’s Blue Green Algae Sampling Program for the Clackamas River. Stored Water Agreement PGE and the Clackamas River Water Providers have a Stored Water Agreement which allows the water providers the option to call for water stored in Timothy Lake to be released certain times of the year to preserve minimum stream flows or to enhance in-stream flows. This agreement is the process of being revised and will be tied to the new FERC license. The purpose of this agreement is to give the water providers more flexibility to manage flow variations in the lower river. Annual Watershed Tour Each year the CRWP host a watershed tour for CRWP members elected officials and interested citizens. The purpose of this tour is to connect our citizens to the watershed where their drinking water comes from and to highlight some of the issues and partners that we work with to protect our source. For more information about this program please contact the Water Resource Manager.