News and Events
On May 10, 2013 the Estuary Partnership will host its annual Science to Policy Summit with a focus on the Columbia River Treaty. The goal of the Summit is to convey the key interests of the lower Columbia to the 2014/2024 Treaty Review process that is currently underway. A lot has changed in our understanding of the river and the basin since the Treaty between the United States and Candada was approved in 1964. While the Columbia River Treaty has no end date, either country can terminate it in 2024 by giving ten years written notice. In addition, in 2024 the annual assured flood control operations will end, whether the Treaty is terminated or not.
Three recent grant awards support the Estuary Partnership Education Program’s ongoing work to prepare our next generation to take care of the Columbia River. The Education Program engages elementary school students, offering classroom lessons on subjects such as watersheds, water quality, and native plants. The lessons come to life when the students then head outdoors to improve nearby natural areas and explore a local waterway in the Estuary Partnership canoes.
Salmon aren't the only species that return to the lower Columbia River and its tributaries in spring. Smelt, small ocean going fish that spawn in fishwater, once swarmed into rivers like the Cowlitz and Sandy in late winter and spring. However in the late 1980's smelt runs started a decline that eventually led to their listing in 2010 as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. So, when Tom Paulu from The Daily News in Longview, Washington reported a big mass of smelt 20 miles heading up the Columbia River, it was a moment, if brief, for spring optimism. Of course, the big giveaway as Paulu reported, was the high activity of the seals, birds, and sea lions feeding on the smelt.
Want to compare how floodplain habitat in the lower Columbia River has changed since the late 1880's? Now you can! Check out the Estuary Partnership's new on-line habitat change analysis maps. They mark the first time a comparison of "pre-development" conditions to current habitat conditions have been calculated for the entire lower Columbia River.
Nutria are a common site along the lower Columbia River and its tributaries. Large, semi-aquatic rodents, they burrow into the sides of river banks and munch on river vegetation, creating erosion and impacting shoreline vegetation. Like many invasive species, Nutria have detrimental impacts to the local ecosystem and are the focus of management efforts to control their population. On March 28, PSU, USGS, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service will convene a Nutria Management Meeting in Vancouver to talk about nutria management tools and coordination. Click here to learn more.
Paddlers using Oregon's waters, including the Lower Columbia River Water Trail need to carry up to date aquatic invasive species prevention permits. The 2013 permits are now available through the Oregon State Marine Board and the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Permits are requred for paddlecraft and non-motorzied vessels 10 ft and longer for residents and non-residents. Costs range from $5-$14 depending on place of purchase and period of time (1-2 years).Visit the Oregon State Marine Board Aquatic Invasive Species Page for more information and purchasing options.
The Estuary Partnership, Hosford Middle School and Portland Public Schools recently completed swale construction at Hosford Middle School.
Over 350 supporters of the Estuary Partnership dined, bid on art and generously raised their paddles at our 13th Annual Dinner and Art Gala on November 3rd at the Portland Art Museum. Senator Jeff Merkley and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici honored us by welcoming guests and addressing the importance of the Columbia River and the Estuary Partnership to the vitality of our region. Joan Dukes, former State Senator and member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and Louise Solliday, recently retired Director of State Lands and formerly with Governors Kitzhaber and Kulongski’s teams, were named 2012 Stewards of the Year for their longstanding support and dedication to the lower Columbia.
The in-development Lewis River-Vancouver Lake Water Trail being developed by the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation gets kudos from this Columbian Editorial for their "forward thinking." It notes that an offical water trail and a well-designed web site would "coodinate kayaking and canoieing activites" and promote paddling safety. Along the way it praises two existing trails - the Cascadia Marine Trail in Puget Sound, and our own Lower Columbia River Water Trail! Read the editorial here.
After a few hours of lively discussion at the Water Trail Signage workshop this August one thing was clear - people signage on the Lower Columbia River Water Trail will enhance both the trail's identity, but more importantly the use experience as well. The workshop's 25 participants discussed the purposes and goals of signage while critiquing three signage concepts. After much debate, general consensus emerged that an adaptatoin of the Water Trail logo, with River Miles, a paddling icon, and other details was the way to go. Next steps are in process with the first signs scheduled to be installed within the next few months.