About rivers, Theodore Roosevelt was passionate. That passion changed the character of rivers, landscapes, and life in the Western U.S. More about that later, but first an illustrative and remarkable story. A hundred years ago, Roosevelt co-led a small group that explored Brazil’s intimidating Rio da Duvida (River of Doubt), a tributary of a tributary of a tributary of the Amazon on the eastern slopes of the Andes. The expedition was historic, tumultuous, and, as it happened, murderous.
In the remote northeast corner of Washington, Big Sheep Creek snakes its way out of the Monashee Mountains and winds through a wide valley of conifer forests, meadows and wetlands rich with wildlife. Rare redband and bull trout inhabit the creek, and the gentle, fertile terrain of the river valley makes it the region’s prime migration route for large mammals moving north and south between Canada and the United States. Moose, caribou, grizzly bear, Rocky Mountain elk, mountain goat and bighorn sheep all move regularly through the area. The valley is also home to rare predators like Canada lynx and wolverine.
This spring, Western Rivers Conservancy continued an exciting project on Oregon’s North Santiam River that will complete an assemblage of protected riverlands for the benefit of salmon, steelhead and other imperiled Willamette Valley wildlife. In March, we committed to purchase another crucial property along the North Santiam that will add a unique expanse of closed-canopy riparian forest and rare wetlands to the much larger...
This February, in an effort to restore some of the highest-priority salmon and steelhead habitat in the Grande Ronde, Snake and Columbia River basins, Western Rivers Conservancy purchased a unique reach of Oregon’s Catherine Creek. Flowing 32 miles from the Wallowa Mountains to the Grande Ronde, Catherine Creek is particularly important for threatened spring Chinook, which spawn in the upper reaches of the creek, where we are focusing our efforts. The stream reach that passes through the 545-acre property also provides critical habitat for bull trout and summer steelhead.
The Hoh River is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse river corridors in the country. Ten years ago, WRC set out to purchase and conserve all the unprotected riverlands between Olympic National Park (which protects the headwaters and upper river) and the Pacific Ocean. The result is a nearly unbroken riverland sanctuary for fish, wildlife and people reaching from the headwaters to the coast. In partnership with the Wild Salmon Center, WRC created the Hoh River Trust, which now manages the land to ensure this majestic river remains healthy for fish and wildlife and open to the public. Here’s to another 10 years!