Natural water flows will be protected for fish and wildlife on Oregon’s scenic Nehalem River.
A 17-mile stretch of Oregon’s Nehalem River is now officially a state scenic waterway, after the hard work of Wild Salmon Center staff and partners. Governor Kate Brown signed the designation this summer, after receiving messages of encouragement from hundreds of WSC supporters and thousands of Oregonians.
The Nehalem River is an Oregon North Coast gem that is home to some of the best wild salmon and steelhead runs left in the Lower 48. From cold mountain streams to coastal estuary, the watershed includes important tributaries for salmon like the Salmonberry River. Surrounding forests, including the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests, provide key habitat for wildlife — including endangered marbled murrelets. The North Coast’s longest river after the mighty Columbia, the Nehalem is also a cherished destination for Oregonians who hike, fish, camp, and float its clear waters.
The scenic waterway status means the lower stretch of the Nehalem will remain free of dams and natural water flows will be protected for fish and wildlife. Additionally, landowners will work with state parks officials to minimize development impacts within a quarter-mile buffer on either side of the designated run of river. (Wild Salmon Center worked successfully this spring to head off a clearcut scheduled for 67 acres of state forest along this stretch of river).
The Nehalem is one of the group of six world-class salmon and steelhead rivers that flow out of the Tillamook Forest.”
“The Nehalem is one of the group of six world-class salmon and steelhead rivers that flow out of the Tillamook Forest,” said Guido Rahr, CEO of the Wild Salmon Center. “It’s a real treasure for Oregonians and a stream I’ve spent many a long day drifting. Our kids and grandkids will thank the governor and everyone who worked hard for this extra level of protection. It improves the chances we’ll pass a truly wild salmon river down to the next generation.”
Wild Salmon Center worked alongside Oregon Wild, Oregon Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Water Watch, and many other partners to secure the Nehalem designation. It’s only the second state scenic designation on Oregon’s North Coast.