Oregon's North Coast is home to some of the lower 48's strongest wild salmon populations and genetic reserves. Rivers like Necanicum, Kilchis, Nestucca, Trask and Nehalem, just to name a few, all have something unique to contribute to the long-term recovery of Pacific coastal salmon and steelhead runs, and each therefore must be prioritized for restoration and protective efforts. Despite decades of population declines due to timber harvest, floodplain development, overfishing and heavy reliance on hatchery stocks, the North Coast still serves as a nursery for many of the salmon that are harvested as adults off the Oregon, Washington, BC and southeast Alaska coasts. The fact that Oregon's North Coast remains so productive for so many diverse different anadromous fish runs is testament to the richness of the area and the critical need for its stewardship.
TU and its Portland-area chapters are taking a one-watershed-at-a-time approach to doing our part. For the last year-plus, staff from the Portland TU office and volunteers from the Tualatin Valley and Clackamas River TU chapters have been actively working on partnerships in the Necanicum River watershed - home to strong runs of wild ESA-listed Oregon Coastal coho, as well as wild winter steelhead and sea-run coastal cutthroat - to restore habitat in need and reconnect healthy sections of the river. Thus far, our project has produced partnerships with about a dozen different local groups, agencies and entities, two major project sites with many more on the way, and raised a sizeable chunk of money for restoration. Now entering its second year, TU's focus on the rivers of Oregon's North Coast expects to double or better our work in the Necanicum, and to add a river from the breadbasket Tillamook Bay system just to the south to our efforts.