Rivers of Oregon

Session Date & Time: 
May 5, 2012 - 3:30pm
Session Length: 
90 minutes
Skill Level: 

Tim Palmer, author/photographer, self employed

Dr. Chris Frissell, Pacific Rivers Council

Travis Williams, Willamette Riverkeeper; Leslie Adams, Rogue Riverkeeper

No surprise - the 2012 Rally is in Oregon. The program, people, food, fun, and accommodations will be great, but, hey, what about Oregon's rivers?

Many people know little about this state's extraordinary suite of streams, or about the long and storied past of river protection efforts, or about the host of cutting-edge programs being acted-out here for preservation and restoration. This workshop will offer a means for Oregonians to learn about and discuss what's happening across the varied spectrum of local rivers, and also for activists from elsewhere to become familiar with this remarkable collection of streams and to consider how efforts there might inform crucial work elsewhere.

Session organizer Tim Palmer will first introduce the panel and then present an overview of the rivers of the state, with photos and commentary about the system of rivers and watersheds. He will address the distinctions of key streams, the diversity of habitat, and the importance that these rivers hold - individually and as a network - to the state, to the nation, and to the river conservation movement as symbols and models of protection efforts. He will finish with a brief description of river conservation in Oregon with attention to the schematic of how local, statewide, and national efforts function (or can function) together.

The second panelist will discuss the statewide importance of Oregon's rivers biologically, with attention to salmon and other anadromous fishes, which in many ways are the "flagship" of the Pacific Northwest's rivers, the cornerstone of protection efforts, and the indicator species of river health. Approaches to be mentioned might include state fisheries programs, federal land planning, the National and State Wild and Scenic Rivers systems, the Salmon Stronghold movement, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

The third and fourth panelists will be the Willamette and Rogue Riverkeepers, who will share their own stories of approach, success, and failure in striving to protect and restore their rivers. Topics likely to be included here are water quality monitoring, policy and enforcement; wild and scenic river designations; mining regulation; public information; political organizing; and consensus building among both allied and opposing groups - each of these landmark basins has plenty of both.

Half the workshop period will be dedicated to questions, answers, and discussion by the audience, with guidance and direction by the moderator toward measures that can be applied in watersheds elsewhere.

The goal is for the attendees to go away inspired by the work that is being done in Oregon, informed by the approaches being taken there, and enlivened by the beauty and vitality of rivers in the home state of the 2012 Rally.

Presenter Bio(s): 

Tim Palmer, author of books about rivers and river conservation, river activist for 35 years.

Chris Frissell, Ph.D in fisheries science, Director of Science and Conservation for Pacific Rivers Council.

Lesley Adams, Director Rogue Riverkeeper, formerly outreach director for Klamath-Siskiyou Wild.

Travis Williams, Director Willamette Riverkeeper, author of Willamette River Field Guide.