By acquiring riverland properties with associated water rights, WRC can have an even greater impact on river systems, especially when rivers are strained by summer heat, water withdrawals and low flows.
All of us at Western Rivers Conservancy are proud of the progress we made in 2015 working to save the great rivers of the West. We could never have done it without your help.
We created this slideshow of ten rivers we worked to conserve in 2015 as our way of saying thanks, to all of you who have ever supported WRC. We hope it gives you the same sense of pride that we feel—and that it serves as inspiration for the year to come.
The Grande Ronde River is a jewel in northeastern Oregon. It flows 182 miles from the Blue Mountains across an expansive agricultural valley and through several large canyons before meeting the Snake River just below Hells Canyon. In addition to breathtaking scenery, the Grande Ronde boasts excellent float trips, popular big game hunting grounds and one of the most productive salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Snake River basin. One of its lifeline tributaries is Catherine Creek, one of the most important salmon and steelhead producing tributaries in the entire Snake River basin.
How have steelhead and Chinook salmon continued to survive in the upper Columbia and Snake rivers? With all the dams to negotiate, poor water quality to endure, and some degraded spawning habitat once they get there, you don’t know whether to feel sorry for these fish or simply admire their tenacity and resilience. They are survivors…if given half a chance.
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.