Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers

by Western Rivers Conservancy
Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers

Project Report | Jul 5, 2016
Western Rivers Conservancy: Summer 2016 Report

By Anne Tattam | Grants Manager

With backing from GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy is permanently protecting land along outstanding rivers across the western United States. Your gift supports the core costs of purchasing and conserving land for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people. Your contribution is dedicated to such efforts as preserving salmon and wildlife habitat, and creating new hiking trails, boating access and recreational opportunities.                                   

Thanks to your support, Western Rivers Conservancy is:   

  • One Step Closer to Completing the Blue Creek Sanctuary on California’s Klamath River and Blue Creek
  • Conserving Another Prime Reach of Oregon’s North Santiam River

California’s Klamath River and Blue Creek:

Thanks to a generous show of support during our 2015 crowdfunding campaign and a $1 million grant from the Kendeda Fund, Western Rivers Conservancy is one step closer to saving Blue Creek! The contributions allowed us to purchase another 562 acres of coastal temperate rain forest in the heart of the California redwoods. This is exciting headway in our effort to bring the final 10,000 acres of land into the 47,000-acre Blue Creek Salmon Sanctuary and Yurok Tribal Community Forest.

Our partners on the ground at Blue Creek are the Yurok people, who have deep cultural, spiritual and economic ties to Blue Creek and the Klamath River. Once our efforts are complete and WRC has conveyed the lands to the Tribe, the Yurok will regain the crown jewel of their spiritual homeland: Blue Creek. The Yurok will then manage the entire lower Blue Creek watershed to enhance recovery of salmon, steelhead and imperiled wildlife of the Klamath-Siskiyou.

WRC has been working to save Blue Creek for more than eight years, and we are now over 80% of the way there. But there is still much work to be done. The cost of purchasing the remaining lands is over $15 million. We hope to raise this through multiple sources, including foundations, individuals, corporations and state and federal funding. The role of individual support in this effort is pivotal, and we’re tremendously grateful to all who have contributed to WRC and our campaigns to save Blue Creek.

There are very few places like this on Earth. The Klamath-Siskiyou is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, home to a vast array of plant and animal life. The region is drained by some of the most extraordinary rivers in the West, including the Rogue, the Illinois, the Smith, the Chetco and the third largest salmon stream on the West Coast, the Klamath River. The Klamath remains the most recoverable of all the West’s great salmon rivers, and the key to ensuring its long-term survival is Blue Creek.


Oregon’s North Santiam River:  

In western Oregon, another great reach of Willamette Valley fish and wildlife habitat has been forever protected. We recently purchased and conveyed into permanent stewardship our third property on Oregon’s lower North Santiam River, an effort that is conserving over 2.5 miles of outstanding river and side-channel habitat along this key Willamette River tributary.

WRC’s protection of 411 acres comes on the heels of two previous acquisitions that conserved 429 acres and over 2.5 miles of river, side-channel and wetland habitat on the North Santiam. Our partner in all three of these acquisitions is the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, who also steward the riverlands that WRC conveyed to the Tribe in 2013 and 2014. With this third conveyance, 840 acres and more than five miles of river and side-channel habitat will be forever protected for the sake of fish and wildlife.

The North Santiam has always been a powerhouse of salmon and steelhead production in the Willamette Valley. It once produced two-thirds of the Willamette’s winter steelhead run and a third of its spring Chinook. Today, both species listed are as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and habitat protection and restoration is vital to their recovery.

The importance of these projects to salmon and steelhead is only part of the story. As with our earlier efforts, this acquisition will protect seasonally flooded wetlands and magnificent swaths of both closed- and open-canopy forest. Stands such as the ones found on these properties are increasingly rare in the Willamette Valley and provide important habitat for numerous at-risk and listed wildlife species, including pileated woodpecker, hooded merganser, western pond turtle and red-legged frog.


The Klamath River and North Santiam River are two of our recent successes. WRC currently has two dozen active projects in six states. With the support of GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy is expanding our efforts to protect riverlands for fish, wildlife and people.

We love to hear from our supporters. Please contact Anne Tattam at 503-241-0151, ext. 219 (or for further information. Thank you.

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Organization Information

Western Rivers Conservancy

Project Leader:
Anne Tattam
Administrative and Development Associate
Portland , OR United States

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