A Presentation by Joe Moll
The Willamette River and its tributaries have been an economic driver for centuries.
Due to its rich resources, the river basin is home to about two-thirds of Oregon’s population, and will continue to attract people to the region in the coming decades. Inevitably, this influx is leading to more conflict over demands for available water, and more pressure on water that remains in-stream.
With settlement and development, demands on the river increased, and the health of the river declined. The loss of complexity and floodplain connections have contributed to decreases in native and increases in non-native fish and wildlife populations. Water quality declined dramatically in the first two thirds of the 20th century but has improved in recent decades.
How have we and how will we deal with these changes? And what impacts might we see in water availability, fish and wildlife health, and community development? This presentation will focus on the conservation work of McKenzie River Trust in the upper Willamette Basin, from headwater streams to the mainstem Willamette River near Harrisburg. The Trust is a part of a growing network of organizations working to protect, enhance, and restore river processes. This recognition of a Living River, or one that is free to meander and change course throughout the seasons and throughout the years, has implications for how we choose to live, work, and play in the Willamette Valley.