WRC Blog

Another Win for Fish and People on the Sandy River

Jul 8th, 2015  |  Written by Western Rivers Conservancy

Another Win for Fish and People on the Sandy River
Photo by Steve Terrill.

Expanding a 20-year conservation effort that has protected 17 miles of Oregon’s Sandy, Little Sandy, Bull Run and Salmon Rivers, in July WRC will purchase a 120-acre tract of forest along Little Joe Creek, a coho and steelhead-bearing tributary to the Sandy. It’s a great project for fish and creates a buffer of protected forest along a stretch of the Sandy Ridge Mountain Bike Trail, the country’s largest trail system built specifically for mountain bikes.

Our partner, the Bureau of Land Management, is the long-term steward of thousands of acres of riverlands that WRC acquired from Portland General Electric following PGE’s removal of two dams on the Sandy and Little Sandy Rivers. We conveyed these lands to the BLM to conserve vast unprotected stretches of the Sandy and its tributaries. The BLM is now working to incorporate the lands into an existing Area of Critical Environmental Concern, a stringent conservation designation that will ensure these lands are managed for the sake of the Sandy’s imperiled fish and wildlife. With the dams gone, both the Sandy and Little Sandy are free-flowing rivers for their entire lengths.

Within the Columbia Basin, the Sandy River system is crucial for its runs of wild salmon and steelhead and is unmatched as an easily-accessible recreation destination for people in and around the Portland area. From its headwaters to the Columbia River, the Sandy offers outstanding fishing, biking, boating, hiking and wildlife watching opportunities year-round.

WRC is excited to add this important property to the assemblage of riverlands we have been working to conserve for nearly two decades. For people, and for the region’s unique and imperiled fish and wildlife, the Sandy is immeasurably important—and we’ll keep on working to protect it.