Support Stronger Protections for Wildlife Habitat on the Lower Willamette River

The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will be considering two important issues next Tuesday that will have a big impact on the health of our river: 

  • Increasing the Slow/ No Wake Zone around Ross Island
  • Increasing penalties for people who illegally destroy wildlife habitat along the Willamette River.

We need your voice to ensure that the PSC takes strong action on both of these issues to ensure adequate protection for wildlife habitat and to enhance passive recreational activities such as canoeing, kayaking and birdwatching on the river. Please take the opportunity to submit written testimony here and/or attend and testify at the virtual PSC hearing on Tuesday June 23 at 5 p.m. to testify

Submit Testimony

Expansion of the Slow/ No Wake Zone: Motorized boats and especially wake surfing boats create artificial waves that decrease safety for non-motorized river recreationalists (swimmers, kayakers, etc). These artificial waves also create significant environmental damage by disturbing nearshore habitat for listed salmon species and eroding river bank vegetation that is important for native birds and other wildlife. The impacts are particularly significant around natural areas such as Ross Island and Oaks Bottom. Please urge the PSC to:

  • Extend the current no wake zone the full length of the Holgate channel along Ross Island.
  • Prioritize impacts to wildlife and habitat along the Willamette, especially surrounding Ross Island and Holgate Channel when considering a Slow Wake Zone. 
  • Consider safety impacts to non-motorized recreationists when considering a Slow Wake Zone.  

Enforcement of Vegetation Removal: One of the biggest environmental challenges in the South Reach of the Willamette is the ongoing illegal removal of vegetation in the greenway adjacent to the river. Removal of trees and shrubs reduces habitat, disrupts nesting of native birds, decreases shade which raises water temperatures, and increases erosion of the riverbank. Please urge the PSC to:

  • Increase monitoring to survey for illegal removal of vegetation in the greenway
  • Increase penalties for illegal removal of vegetation in the Greenway;
  • Sharply increase fines for repeat offenders of removing vegetation from the greenway
An example of the habitat loss along the Willamette River.