WRC Blog

Conserving Land at the Heart of the Sandy River Basin Salmon and Steelhead Habitat: Boulder Creek

Sep 1st, 2011  |  Written by Western Rivers Conservancy

Conserving Land at the Heart of the Sandy River Basin Salmon and Steelhead Habitat: Boulder Creek
Above: Salmon River. Photo by Peter Marbach.

In September, Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) will successfully protect 245 acres of Oregon’s lower Boulder Creek, a tributary to the Salmon River in the Sandy River basin. Flowing off the west glaciers of Mount Hood, the Sandy River is one of the most productive salmon and steelhead systems in the lower Columbia River. Boulder Creek lies at the very heart of this important spring Chinook, winter steelhead and winter coho habitat (all listed Threatened species), and after a comprehensive study, was designated as an Anchor Habitat by a team of federal, state, local and private fisheries biologists.

WRC has been buying lands within the Sandy River basin since 1999 and has preserved more than 3,000 acres including 13 miles on the Sandy River, Little Sandy River, Salmon River and other tributaries. The Boulder Creek acquisition is one of the final pieces of an impressive assemblage of conservation lands and restoration projects. The upper half of Boulder Creek lies pristine and protected on Forest Service lands in the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness Area. Surrounding Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands along the Salmon River both upstream and downstream of the Boulder Creek confluence are designated Wild and Scenic. The same team of fisheries biologists that studied the Sandy River’s fish habitat have been implementing large-scale in-stream and riparian habitat restoration projects in the greater Sandy River basin. WRC intends to continue doing conservation projects in this critical stretch of the Sandy River watershed.

WRC will acquire the Boulder Creek property from Clackamas County with the support of the Oregon Congressional Delegation - Senator Merkley, Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer. WRC conveyed the land to the BLM, where it will be managed as part of the Salmon Wild and Scenic River system. With this acquisition, Boulder Creek, from its headwaters in the Wilderness Area to its confluence with the Salmon River, will forever be managed for salmon and steelhead.