The Willamette River
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The Willamette River



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    The Willamette River The Willamette River Presentation Transcript

    • The Willamette River Hayley Mackay Sustainability UNST 124g {
    • Located within the Willamette River Basin of Oregon, the Willamette River was firstnoted in 1792 by Lt. William R. Broughton, a member of Captain George Vancouver’sexpedition. The 187-mile-long river begins in the Cascade Mountains and runs norththrough Eugene, Corvallis and Salem, and ends in Portland where it merges with theColumbia River. The river passes through 9 counties and 19 cities. The Willametteinhabits 60 different species of fish, 30 of which are native to the area. Likewise, the riverplays an important role in agriculture and irrigation, as well as a mode of transport forships and barges. Throughout history, the Willamette River has become more heavilypolluted from the waste of industries and agricultural processes, as well as from runofffrom nearby cities. In 1930 the river was labeled as ‚biologically dead‛ as it becameheavily polluted and neglected. According to the Willamette Riverkeeper organization, inthe winter of 2000 the Portland Harbor, a highly industrialized section of the river,became a Federal Superfund Site – a location set up by the government to clean upuncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Furthermore, in 2006 the river was even listed by theAmerican Rivers as the third most endangered river in the United States. While the riverhas suffered pollution issues in the past and continues to today, the river has began to getcleaned up in hopes of restoring it to a healthier condition as it once was prior to thearrival of industries. The Lower Willamette area in Portland, Oregon is indeed the mostimpacted area by pollution due to the large amount of industries that reside close by.While the river will never return to its true natural state, the City of Portland andenvironmental groups have been making large efforts to conserve and protect this watersystem. With the development of the Big Pipe Project and other conservation groupsfocusing on methods to make the Willamette safer for people and for its inhabitants,Oregon has become more aware of the importance of ensuring that this water system ishealthy, as all people and the species who inhabit the waters have a right to a clean andhealthy river.Summary
    • Route of the Willamette River:Flows northbound from Eugene,OR to Portland, OR where it thenmerges with the Columbia River. Burdlck, Connie. (2012). Retrieved from: Information
    • Lower Willamette River, Portland, Oregon via Google EarthGeographic Information
    • Lower Willamette, Portland, Oregon via Project VulcanGeographic Information
    • Willamette Rivervia United States National AtlasGeographic Information
    • How the Upper Willamette River channels have been simplified between 1854-1967 Dunnette, A. D. & Laenen, A. (1997) River Quality: Dynamics and Restoration, 25. Retrieved from Information
    •  In “The Willamette River: Oregon’s Legacy‛ (2004), Oregon’s past governor Ted Kulongoski started the Willamette Legacy to ‚repair, restore, and recreate‛ the Willamette River: “ . . . the Willamette River plays an important role in all three areas. It is a key environmental resource, providing fish and wildlife habitat. As a “working river,” the Willamette is also the lifeblood of our economy in the Valley, supporting businesses, industries and communities. Finally, the Willamette contributes to the quality of life that Oregonians enjoy and it is part of the legacy we will leave for our children” (p. 1). 70% of Oregonians live within 20 miles of the Willamette. The river passes through 9 counties and 19 cities. This demonstrates how this river reaches many different locations along its 187-mile-long path, as well as shows how many different areas could be impacting the health of the river.. ( Agriculturists rely on the Willamette as it provides water for irrigation purposes. The article ‚Willamette River OR Conservation Easement Paves Way For Long-Term Fish & Wildlife Conservation‛ (2011) incorporates comments from the public regarding their use and relationship with the Willamette River : “’Our family has worked and lived on the Willamette River for five generations, which is why we take such pride in showing we can work around the river sustainably. We know the health of our crops depends on the health of the river system. Our goal for restoration is to utilize important floodplain areas to improve water quality and protect the valuable farm land that our family farm depends on,’ said landowner Gary Horning‛. The Willamette is home to 60 different species of fish, half of which are native to the Willamette. In the past few years, some fish species have been listed by the ESA (Endangered Species Act) as endangered. The health of the fish clearly depends on the water quality condition. In order to thrive they need to live in a healthy environment. This motivates mankind to take better care of the water and what goes into the water. Diversity of Human Experience Who uses this service and how does it affect their lives?
    • Use of the Willamette River
    • Beckett, M. (2001). Retrieved from oeoregonexplorer.into/WillametteExplorerClassic/publications/pdf/WRD_OVER.pdf While the population increases, there will be a greater importance to ensure that systems in the Willamette Basin, such as the Willamette River do not suffer negative consequences from human impact;. Also, humans should become more aware of sustainable actions they can take to lessen the amount of waste that enters the water.Diversity of Human Experience
    • ‚These purposeful modifications *of the Willamette+ haveled to a complex web of unintended secondary ecologicalchanges to this river system. The result is that the ecologicalintegrity of the system has been seriously compromised‛(Laenen & Dunnette, 1997, p. 44-45).Ethic and SocialResponsibility:Who is/should be responsible for maintaining the Willamette River?What are some ethical implications of the misuse of the Willamette?
    • 1. Pollution within the river ‚Pollution in the Willamette River has brought attention to the people because it highly influences fish, wildlife, human and environmental sustainability‛(Willamette River, 2011). ‚There are many pollutants that plague the river today; these include nutrients, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), temperature, bacteria, dioxins and metals‛(Willamette River, 2011). Sources of pollutants: agricultural runoff; fertilizer runoff; improper disposal of sewage waste; storm water runoff; etc. 2. Damming on the river Dams that were made after WWII were multi-purpose. For example: generate power; control flooding; improve water quality, etc. The environmental consequences from these dams were not understood at the time (The Willamette Valley: Past and Present, 2007). Dams made by the US Army Corps of Engineers The flow of the Willamette River has been modified by a total of 13 dams. Dams create a physical barrier for migrating fish. Changes the temperature (increase/decrease) of the water depending on the depth of the water, which overall negatively impacts the fish. Building dams destroys the vegetation along the riverbanks. Misuse of the Willamette River Retrieved from
    •  ‚Poor water quality affects the sustainability of all living organisms and the environment that relies on the water resources provide by the Willamette River‛ (Pollution of The Willamette River: Water Quality Issues, 2011). With a polluted river, it negatively impacts the community from safely using the river through activities such as swimming and fishing, etcetera. In terms of the fish species that inhabit the Willamette, some are now listed as endangered, as well as continuing to feel the negative impacts of the pollution as their habitat is worsening. In order to protect these species we must take care of the river system.Ethical Implications Regarding the Misuse of the Willamette
    •  Founded in 1996; is a non-profit organization  Mission: ‚To protect and restore the Willamette River. We believe that a river with good water quality and abundant natural habitat is a basic public right .The Willamette River belongs to all of us, and should be protected as such.‛  The only group dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the Willamette River.  Operates under the the principle of the Public Trust Doctrine which is the belief that all rivers belong to every one of us and should be protected as such.  Group is apart of a network of riverkeeper organizations that all have similar goals all around the country.  ‚The public should be able to experience a clean river that poses no threat to their health, or the health of wildlife.‛Addressing Social Responsibility:The Willamette Riverkeeper Organization
    • Retrieved from The Willamette Riverkeeper tests e. coli levels at six different sites along the river, twice a month between the months of April and September. This effort demonstrates how the organzation has taken the responsibility to ensure that the river is safe for swimming and other river activities for those in the area.Willamette Riverkeeper collects river samplesto monitor e. coli levels in the water
    •  Launched in 1991, project entirely finished in 2011. Cost: $1.4 billion. ‚It’s the biggest public works project ever done by the city – and the most ambitious environmental cleanup‛ (Law, 2011). Demonstrates the City of Portland and its leaders are assuming responsibility for improving the river’s health by going through with this project. ‚The program aims to reduce annual discharge of sewage mixed with stormwater from an estimated 6 billion gallons in 1991, to 250 million gallons by 2011‛ (McFall, 2003, p.1). ‚‘Obviously, it needed to be done for the health of the river,’ says Tom Fahey, human resources and communications director for Siltronic Corp., the chipmaker that is the largest user of city water‛ (Law, 2011).Social ResponsibilityThe Big Pipe Project Aguayo, D. (2011). The Oregonian.
    • ‚‘Portland is a river city, and the Big Pipe project removes the ‘specter’ of bacterial contamination that kept people from using the river, says Travis Williams, executive director of Willamette Riverkeeper. Public use and appreciation for the river is going to be ‘orders of magnitude different,’ Williams says‛ (Law, 2011, p. 1). Retrieved from Responsibility:The Big Pipe Project
    •  Clean Water Act (CWA)  Passed by Congress in 1972.  ‚The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters‛ (2012, Restoring A River of Life). Willamette Restoration Strategy  Published in 2001 by the Willamette River Initiative  ‚The Willamette Restoration Initiative is overseen by a 26-member Board of Directors, chaired by Oregon State University President Paul Risser. The board includes members from businesses, local government, utilities, tribes, academia, watershed groups, soil and water conservation districts, agriculture, forestry, environmental groups, and state and federal government‛ (2012, Restoring a River of Life).  Strategies in order to do more to fix the problems surrounding the Willamette River and the Willamette Basin as a whole.Other ways in which responsibility for the healthof the Willamette has been demonstrated
    • Looking at the Willamette Riverkeeper organization, which is a dynamicforce created by individuals who assume responsibility for the river’s well-being, and also looking at past actions by individuals such as Tom McCall(Oregon governor in 1967 who wrote/narrated ‛Pollution in Paradise‛) andTed Kulongoski (Willamette River Legacy project of 2004), and the Big PipeProject (completed in 2011), it is apparent that restoring the Willamette Riverto a better condition is important to this state. While in the past the river wasneglected, throughout the current years the concept of improving theWillamette has become a priority as many depend on the river system. Asindividuals, I believe that it’s important that everyone becomes more aware ofissues that may be harming the river and the endangered fish species withinit, for instance. Also, individuals should have a better understandingregarding how to do better job at not contributing to the runoff that may endup in the river. Those who reside in the Willamette Valley all depend on theriver in some way, so we all should have a responsibility to treating incorrectly. While not all bodies of water can be pollutant-free, the WillametteRiver, all 187 miles of it, contributes to many things so we should takeadvantage of it. Again, each individual should be at least be aware of how tolessen their impact on the river. We should help maintain the WillametteRiver so each one of us has access to a healthy river in the Willamette Valley.Social Responsibility
    • I chose to interview Travis Williams, the lead director of the Willamette Riverkeeper organization, as he experiences the river first-hand and the issues currently at bay. Unfortunately, he was unable to respond to my email and did not answer the questions I had, but the following are the questions that I sent him regarding the Willamette River: 1. What are some concerns that are still present that may impact/are impacting the overall health of the Willamette River? 2. Presently, do you consider the Willamette to be heavily polluted? Why or why not? 3. What has had the biggest negative impact on the Willamette? 4. Who is responsible for maintaining the river? 5. Is the Big Pipe Project helping to improve the health of the river? 6. Is it safe to swim in the Willamette? Specifically along the lower Willamette alongside Portland? 7. Are there portions of the Willamette River that are more polluted that other portions? If so, why is that? 8. Has there been any recent controversies arising regarding the Willamette? If so, please explain.InterviewTravis Williams, Executive Director and Riverkeeper.
    •  Aguayo, D. (2011). Retrieved from portlands_14_billion_big_pipe.html  Beckett, M. 2001. Retrieved from oeoregonexplorer.into/WillametteExplorerClassic/publications/pdf/ WRD_OVER.pdf  Burdlck, C. (2012). Retrieved from  Dunnette, A. D. & Laenen, A. (1997). River Quality: Dynamics and Restoration. Retrieved from http://  Google Earth  Johnson, Vivian. Retrieved from < report/willamette-river>  Law, S. River City’s Pipe Dream. (2011). Retrieved from news/story.php?story_id=132087821575266300  McFall, K. (2003). Portlands Big Pipe Project Gets Down to The Big Grind. ENR: Engineering News-Record, 251(18), 15.  Restoring a River of Life. 2012. Retrieved from publications/pd/WRS_PVER.pdf  Project Vulcan. Retrieved from  The Big Float. Retrieved from  The Willamette River: Oregon’s Legacy. (2004). Retriveved from Governor_Kulongoski_2011/  United States National Atlas. Retrieved from  Willamette Riverkeeper. Retrieved from  Willamette Riverkeeper. (2012). Retrieved from riverkeeper  Willamette River OR Conservation Easement Paves Way For Long-Term Fish & Wildlife Conservation. (2011). Retrieved from  Willamette River. Retrieved from
    • Johnson, Vivian. Retrieved from cleaner-rivers-for-oregon-report/willamette-river>`The end