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Columbia Slough Watershed Council


2016 Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Leardership and Achievement Award Winners

Leadership Awards recognize extraordinary and long-term individual commitments to the watershed. Recipients are honored at our annual Slough Celebration event.

2016 Leadership Award Winner

Brenda Demaree, Purdy Community Engagement Team

brendapurdy people

Provided three years of leadership work with Purdy team to improve the Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area through a variety of conservation tasks. Exemplary leadership in bringing their manufacturing plant to zero waste to landfill practices and no VOC paint production standards.

2016 Achievement Award Winners

Achievement Awards recognize extraordinary projects or project-related efforts. Recipients are honored at our annual Slough Celebration event.

Lower Slough Refugia Project

lower slough

Engineered and installed log jams in the lower slough for endangered steelhead, Coho, and Chinook salmon seeking refuge from the strong currents and predators in the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
Recognized project winners: Dave Helzer, Fred MacGregor, Nadine Meyers, Melissa Brown and Peter Hesford with the City of Portland - Bureau of Environmental Services; Greg Morrill and Clayton Solberg with Bergerson Marine Company

Vanport Mosaic Festival

Broadened awareness to the history of Vanport, including the people who lived there, the institutions of the community, the reason for its existence and its end with the flood of 1948. The festival offered a myriad of experiences and opportunities for the public, students, and historians to learn about this important part of the watershed’s history.
Recognized project winners: Laura LoForti, Damaris Webb, and S. Renee Mitchell

View the 2016 Leadership and Achievement Award Winner recognition videos.

View our past award winners

Private Paddle Tours

Private Paddle Tours

The Council’s recreation program strives to give communities the opportunity to connect with their local natural areas. We offer private paddle tours to groups who are interested in learning about and experiencing their local watershed through canoeing and/or kayaking.

At every tour we provide a fun and safe opportunity for community members to be active outdoors and learn about the important role our watershed plays in maintaining our good health. We work with you to shape a tour that fits your needs and interests, comfort and experience levels.

Tour Highlights

- Ideal for groups sizes 10-25
- Enjoy nature from the comfort of a canoe or kayak
- Experience and learn about the Columbia Slough Watershed

Interested in taking your group on a private paddle tour? Please contact Outreach & Events Director Karen Carrillo at or (503) 281-1132

Past private tour partners:

- Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
- Center for Intercultural Organizing (Now Unite Oregon)
- Portland State University
- University of Portland

Private Paddle Partner & Sponsor

Slough Celebration Past Award Winners

2015 Award Winners

• Shannah Anderson, City of Portland – Bureau of Environmental Services
• Meei Lum, Leatherman Tool Group
• Knife River Corporation - Northwest
• Depave
• Matthew Todd, Buffalo Slough
• Lee Dayfield and Jim Labbe, Nadaka Park and Garden Project

2014 Award Winners

• Randy Belston-City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
• Don Goldberg and the Colwood Property Project-Trust for Public Land
• Mason Flats Stormwater-Wetland Restoration Project

2013 Award Winners

• Corky Collier-Columbia Corridor Association
• Jeff Locke-Friends of Smith and Bybee
• Recology-Stormwater Treatment Facility
• Jeremy Aasum-Graphic Designer-website

2012 Award Winners

• Rex Burkholder, Metro Councilor
• Toby Query, City of Portland-Ecologist
• City of Gresham-Columbia Slough Water Quality Facility
• Elena Mark-Portland Public Schools
• Port of Portland-PDX Deicing System
• Katy Weil-Metro-Smith and Bybee

2011 Award Winners

• Megan Hanson, City of Portland, Clean Rivers Education
• Verde
• David Kennedy, Architect
• Natural Area Land Acquisition-Shannah Anderson, Deb Lev, Leif Anderson, & Hillary Wilton
• Jamie Stamberger, City of Gresham

2010 Award Winners

• Rebecca Geisen, Portland Water Bureau
• City of Portland Terrestrial Ecology and Enhancement Strategy
• Sue Bielke- Turtle Research and Conservation
• Bruce Gilles-DEQ Settlement Process
• ODFW & BES- Lower Columbia Slough Fish Study

2009 Award Winners

• Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station
• Ken Finney, BES
• Wildlife Studies: Katie Holzer, David Kennedy, Julian Lawrence
• Lee Dayfield, Nadaka Park

2008 Award Winners

• James Davis, Metro, Environmental Education
• Portland International Airport Wildlife Hazard Management Program, Innovative Wildlife Management
• Fairview Creek Water Quality Facility, City of Gresham, Floodplain Restoration
• Harbor Oil Superfund Community Advisory Group
• Keelin Sanger, Reynolds Middle School

2007 Award Winners

• Erwin Bergman, Neighborhood Advocate
• Richard and Gyrid Towle, Columbia Children’s Arboretum
• City of Gresham-Keri Handaly & Kris Rein, Fairview Creek Burnside to Stark Restoration Project
• Rose Sandy & Jeff Walker, Multnomah Youth Cooperative
• Ken Barker & Jerry Lanz, Northwest Discoveries
• New Columbia-Housing Authority of Portland, Steve Fancher, & KPFF Consulting Engineers

2006 Award Winners

• Lynn Barlow, Watershed Revegetation Program
• Gregg Everhart, Trails Planning and Development
• Chris Scarzello, Environmental Code Improvement Process
• Ducks Unlimited, Fish Monitoring Program, Cyndi Baker
• Measure 26-80-Campaign for Natural Areas, Parks and Streams
• The Boeing Company, Land Donation

2005 Award Winners

• Jeff Adams, Aquatic Programs Director, Xerces Society
• Al Smith, Chair, Pacific Northwest Freshwater Mussel Workgroup
• Ry Thompson, Environmental Planner, City of Portland
• Bob Dolphin, Treasurer, Columbia Slough Watershed Council
• Linda Robinson, Neighborhood Advocate
• Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director, Audubon Portland

2004 Award Winners

• Nancy Hendrickson, Watershed Manager, City of Portland
• Matt Moule, Science Teacher, Whitaker Middle School
• Jay Mower, Urban Watershed Advocate
• Denise Rennis, Natural Resources Project Mgr, Port of Portland
• Amanda Briles, Eyes on the Slough Volunteer
• Florence & Ron Bunn, Jerome Duletzke, PPR, Bunn Property
• Ducks Unlimited & Jim Morgan, Smith and Bybee Lakes Water Control Structure
• Matt Weatherly, Volunteer Grantwriter

2003 Award Winners

• Kathi Futornick, Columbia Slough Watershed Action Plan
• Dave Masunaga, George Middle School
• Bruce McClelland, Multnomah County Drainage District #1
• Paul Trone, Volunteer, Columbia Slough Watershed Council
• Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
• Fujitsu Microelectronics, Inc & Microchip Technology Inc.
• Friends of Blue Heron Wetlands
• Urban Forestry Canopy Study, Joe Poracsky & Mike Lackner
• Multnomah County “Big Year” Bird Study, Ian Tomlinson & John Fitchen
• Wellhead Protection Guidelines, Business, Industry & City Working Group

2002 Award Winners

• Dave Hendricks, Operations Manager, MCDD
• Kenton Elementary School Teachers, Susan Price, Kathy Rodgers, Amy Sands, and Andrew Jacquiss
• Friends of Trees, Neighborhood Trees Program
• Dorothy Sperry, Port of Portland
• Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe, Regatta Support
• American Honda Company, Inc.
• Columbia Slough 1135 Ecosystem Restoration Project
• Explorando el Columbia Slough, Fernando Velez

2001 Award Winners

• Donna Hempstead
• Linda Robinson
• David Eatwell
• Open Meadow CRUE Program
• Leslie Winter-Gorsline, City of Portland BES
• Julie Howland, Portland Public Schools
• Port of Portland - Vanport Wetlands Project
• Center for Columbia River History, Community History

2000 Award Winners

• Troy Clark, Friends of Smith & Bybee Lakes
• Jennifer Devlin Educator, City of Portland, BES
• Mike Houck, Audubon Society of Portland
• Anne Nickel, former Executive Director of CCA
• John Bentley, Skyport Properties
• Jane Graybill, Citizen Activist
• Ned Hayes, Donor, Whitaker Ponds Natural Area
• Mike Hess, Teacher at Parkrose High School

1999 Award Winners

• Susan Barthel, City of Portland BES
• Alice Blatt, Citizen Extraordinaire
• George Kral, City of Portland Revegetation Program
• Dennis Sivers, D.W. Sivers Company
• Mary Abrams
• Howard and Carol Brandwein
• MCDD Employees
• Emily Roth
• Doug Saulter, Portsmouth Middle School
• Simpson Timber
• Gail Weatherby, Portsmouth/Gregory Heights Middle Schools
• Marv Welt, Northwest Steelheaders

1998 Award Winners

• Chuck Harrison, The Halton Company
• Steve Cameron, LWO Corporation
• Tim Hayford, MCDD
• Jim Pierce, Atlas Copco Wagner Inc.

Equity & Inclusion

Diversity Statement

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council recognizes that human diversity is a fundamental strength of our community, that racism and oppression have caused long-lasting and grievous harm, and that this is fundamentally relevant to our work. We are committed to engage participants, volunteers, staff, partners, and council members who live, work, and play in the watershed. 

Why it matters

“The world around us is changing at all levels— our global atmosphere, the demographics of our country, the demands and uses of freshwater, and the nature of nonprofit organizations are all shifting beneath our feet. To meet the ever-growing needs of our planet, our watersheds’ citizens, the political and regulatory agencies we work with and our organizations’ members, we—watershed protection organizations—must embrace these changes by proactively planning to organize and support a more inclusive and diverse community of conservationists.” Cindy Lowry and Adam Johnston, Alabama Rivers Alliance.

The above quote comes from the most recent issue of River Voices published by the Portland-based River Network. The issue highlights a number of equity initiatives contributing to the national conversation around more inclusive programming in environmental non-profit work.  Watershed Councils around the Portland area and around the nation are realizing the great need to create space for all voices in watershed advocacy and restoration work, particularly those of people of color. As we become more familiar with the state of diversity in environmental organizations, it becomes clear that one of our most pressing needs in future watershed management is the meaningful engagement of watershed residents whose voices are historically and presently underrepresented.

What are we doing about it?

In the summer of 2015, we wrote about our intention to delve into an organization-wide assessment focused on racial equity and inclusive community engagement. Over an 8-month period, Council staff members actively participated in the development of a Racial Equity Action plan based on the findings of our assessment.  Over the last year, our organization has been making modifications to individual program delivery by prioritizing the needs of our watershed community. You can find the most updated list of goals and actions that we are currently implementing below.

Accountability: walking the talk

We view diversity as a strength and seek to create social changes by giving leadership to the community itself. The Council is currently seeking leadership in the implementation of the Council’s Racial Equity Action Plan. The Community Engagement & Inclusion Committee provides support and guidance to the Council with the development and implementation of proactive equity and inclusion initiatives in decisions, including policies, programs, and budgets. 

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity to serve on this committee, please contact Karen Carrillo at or call 503-281-1132.


Resource Description
Equity Action Plan, 2016-17 Update
Current development and implementation of proactive equity and inclusion initiatives
Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Columbia Slough is a special place to live, work, and play. Ensure that you are promoting a healthy Slough and a vibrant watershed community by sponsoring the Council’s education, recreation, and restoration programs. Learn more about sponsorship opportunities below.

Questions?  Give us a call at: (503) 281-1132 or email

Resource Description
2017 Comprehensive Sponsor Packet
2017 Slough Celebration Sponsorship Opportunities
2017 Slough Celebration Sponsorship Information
2017 Explorando Sponsorship Opportunities
2017 Explorando Sponsorship Information
2017 Regatta Sponsorship Opportunities
2017 Regatta Sponsorship Information
2017 Restoration Sponsorship Opportunities
2017 Restoration Sponsorship Information

Slough Stories

2014 was our 20th anniversary year as an organization and there are a thousand stories to tell about the last 20 years.

This video is a compilation of a few of the stories told at the Slough Stories event in November 2014. This is part of an effort to document efforts large and small that have improved the Columbia Slough watershed and raised public awareness of the waterway and the region. Enjoy this trip down memory lane (or should we say a paddle down memory slough).

We want to hear your story! Email your reflections to:

About the Event

Where and When

Melody Ballroom
615 Southeast Alder Street
Portland, OR 97214

Friday, February 5, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

About the Event

Each year at the Slough Celebration, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council honors individuals, programs and activities that have shown outstanding leadership and achievement in support of our mission: to foster action to protect, enhance, restore and revitalize the Columbia Slough and its watershed.  This year marks 21 years of:

  • Engaging students in outdoor science education
  • Working with community members to protect our valuable watershed
  • Creating habitat for fish and wildlife
  • Offering free outdoor paddling, walking, and biking experiences

For answers to frequently asked questions about the event, visit our FAQ page.

Award Winners

Leadership Award:

  • Shannah Anderson, City of Portland – Bureau of Environmental Services
  • Meei Lum, Leatherman Tool Group

Click here to learn more about the 2015 Leadership Award winners.

Achievement Award

  • Depave
  • Knife River Corporation – Northwest
  • Nadaka Park and Garden Project
  • Matthew Todd

Click here to learn more about the 2015 Achievement Award winners.


For questions and inquiries contact Outreach & Events Director Karen Carrillo,

Sponsorship Opportunities

Deepen your impact and recognition at Slough Celebration by sponsoring the event.  Sponsorship is a great way to show your support for a healthy watershed and community.  Table sponsorship starts at $250.  Learn more about event sponsorship opportunities here.

Silent Auction Donation Opportunities

We invite you to contribute to the Council by donating an item to our silent auction that will take place at the Slough Celebration Event. As an auction donor, you will be recognized in the event program, on signs at the auction/raffle tables, on our website, and in our newsletter.

Who will be bidding on your auction item? The attendees of our Slough Celebration are neighborhood residents, business owners, government officials, and outdoor recreationalists. This crowd tends to be enthusiastic about delicious food, fine wines and beers, local vacations, outdoor recreation, and the chance to support local and green businesses. This is an excellent opportunity to both advertise your business and demonstrate your commitment to healthy kids, communities, and watersheds.  We encourage individuals to donate as well.

Ready to donate?

Please mail your donation to Columbia Slough Watershed Council, 7040 NE 47th Ave, Portland, OR 97218 by January 22, 2016. We are also happy to pick up your donated items. Please complete this form, email or call (503) 281-1132 to arrange for donation pick up.

a special thanks to our auction donors

See our full list of auction donors here.

Event Sponsors

Sponsor Logos

Silent Auction Sponsors

Silent Auction Sponsors

a special thanks to our 2017 auction donors

A-WOL Dance Collective
Academy Theater
Artistic Bliss Portraits
Assembly PDX
Audobon Society of Portland
Backyard Bird Shop
Barnes & Noble
Bob’s Red Mill
Bollywood Theater
Bolt Fabric Boutique
Breitenbush Hot Springs
Caffe Umbria
Chuck Harrison
Chinook Book
Cinema 21
Columbia River Maritime Museum
Columbia Sportswear
Colwood Golf Center
Erwin Bergman
Common Ground Wellness Co-operative
Concordia Wellness
Danner Boots
Diva Den
Eastside Distilling
Fire on the Mountain
Flipside Hats
Free House Bar
Garden Fever!
Garnish Apparel
Gazelle Natural Fibre Clothing
Glendoveer Golf & Tennis
Grand Central Baking Co.
Heron Lakes Golf Club
Hollywood Theatre
La Petite Provence
Laurelwood Brewing Co.
Leatherman Tools
Light Science Studios
Lisa Appel
Marine Discovery Tours
Me Fitness Studio
Mediterranean Exploration Company
Mississippi Pizza
Mud Bay
Multnomah County Drainage District
Neil Kelly
New Deal Distillery
New Seasons
Next Adventure
Ninkasi Brewing
NW Discoveries
Olive Garden
Oregon Ballet Theatre
Oregon Garden
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Oregon Symphony
Oregon Zoo
Pastini Pastaria
PDX Project
Penner Ash Wine Cellars
Pittock Mansion
Plan-it Earth Design
Pollo Bravo
Porque no? Taqueria
Port of Portland
Portland Aerial Tram
Portland Baroque Orchestra
Portland Center Stage
Portland Children’s Museum
Portland Monthly
Portland Nursery
Portland Timbers
Portland Culinary Workshop
Shilo Inns Suites Hotels
Stumptown Coffee
The Fly Fishing Shop
The Merry Kitchen
Timber Press
Timberline Lodge
Toro Bravo
Troy Clark
Widmer Brothers Brewing
Willamette Valley Vineyards
Wilsonville Family Fun Center
Working Class Acupuncture
Written on the Body Massage and Acupuncture
Yoga Shala of Portland

Silent Auction Donation Opportunities

We invite you to contribute to the Council by donating an item to our silent auction that will take place at the Slough Celebration Event. As an auction donor, you will be recognized in the event program, on signs at the auction/raffle tables, on our website, and in our newsletter.

Who will be bidding on your auction item?

The attendees of our Slough Celebration are neighborhood residents, business owners, government officials, and outdoor recreationalists. This crowd tends to be enthusiastic about delicious food, fine wines and beers, local vacations, outdoor recreation, and the chance to support local and green businesses. This is an excellent opportunity to both advertise your business and demonstrate your commitment to healthy kids, communities, and watersheds.  We encourage individuals to donate as well (see details below).

Ready to donate?

Please mail your donation to Columbia Slough Watershed Council, 7040 NE 47th Ave, Portland, OR 97218 by January 26, 2017. We are also happy to pick up your donated items. Please complete this form, email or call (503) 281-1132 to arrange for donation pick up.

Council Meetings

The Council usually meets on the last Monday of every month; during holiday seasons our schedule varies. See upcoming dates for our meetings listed below.  Visitors are welcome!  Agendas and minutes are available under the “About” section of this website.  RSVPs are helpful; please RSVP in our “Upcoming Activities” section.

If you are interested in presenting at a Council Meeting, please contact Executive Director Corrina Chase at:

Typical meeting time is 5:00 - 7:30 PM


  • Monday, January 30
  • Monday, February 27
  • Monday, March 27
  • Monday, April 24
  • Monday, June 5
  • Monday, June 26
  • Monday, July 31
  • Monday, August 28

Location for meetings varies; see our “Upcoming Activities” section for details on the current month’s meeting location. 

Typically meetings are held here:
Multnomah County Drainage District
1880 NE Elrod Drive
Portland, OR 97211

For more information: (503) 281-1132 or

Slough Celebration Frequently Asked Questions

This page is designed to answer questions about attending Slough Celebration. Feel free to contact Karen Carrillo at (503) 281-1132 if you need additional assistance.

Slough Celebration
Friday, February 10, 2017
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Melody Ballroom
15 Southeast Alder Street
Portland, OR 97214

Need to purchase additional tickets? Ticketing information located on our event page.

What should I wear and/or bring?
Dress for the Slough Celebration is business casual to cocktail. Cash, checks, and credit cards will be accepted for the purchase of drinks, Dining & Entertainment raffle tickets, silent auction items, and donations to the Council.

Will I need to bring my ticket?
You don’t need a paper ticket. You and your guests can check in by name at the registration table.

How do I get there?
The Melody Ballroom is located at 615 SE Alder St, just a few blocks south of SE Stark St and one block east of SE Grand Ave. Buses #6 and 15 make stops near the Melody Ballroom. Parking is in designated lots and on-street (adhere to time limits 8 am to 6 pm), including:

Lot 1: Melody Ballroom Lot - SE 7th & SE Washington - Weekdays after 5 pm or All Day Saturday & Sunday
Lot 2: Star Park on SE 9th & SE Morrison - Pay to Park - 503.223.4128
Lot 3: McCloud Parking behind Bank of America – Entrance on SE Grand between SE Belmont & SE Morrison – Pay to Park - 503.234.4452

When should I arrive?
The Slough Celebration starts at 6:00 PM (registration opens at 5:45 PM) with a photo station, socializing and our silent auction.

What’s for Dinner?
Stuffed mushrooms (GF)
Endive with Apple and Beets (V, GF)
Mini Quiches (GF, V)

Northwest Salad – Mesclun greens, apples, blue cheese crumbles, hazelnuts and balsamic vinaigrette (GF)
Ratatouille – Zucchini, tomato, eggplant, breadcrumbs, herbs de provence (V,GF)
Roasted Potato Medley with Rosemary (V, GF))
Chemoura Chicken Quarters (GF)
Vegan Lasagna – Polenta layered with sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, spinach and tofu “ricotta” (GF)

*Dairy free and gluten free versions of dishes served may be available (please send an email ahead of time so we have an accurate count of guests with dietary restrictions)

What entertainment will I enjoy?
Awards will be presented (don’t worry, it’s not your typical awards night), along with the debut of new videos showcasing the wonderful work of this year’s award winners!

What if there is ice or snow?
If there is any risk of ice or snow, check the Council homepage or call 503-281-1132.

Event Contact:

Karen Carrillo
Outreach & Events Director
Columbia Slough Watershed Council

Internship Opportunities

The Council has several internships available throughout the year.  Have an idea for an internship? We can work with you to design an internship around your talents.  Please email us at with your proposal. 

No current internships open with the council

Projects and Programs 2003-2013

Projects and Programs 2003-2013

Ten years ago the Council adopted its Action Plan which identified more than one hundred watershed projects to establish healthy habitats and clean water.

The Projects and Programs 2003-2013 report captures a review of all the original Action Plan projects and includes an analysis of the status of projects old and new. New projects are numbered and categorized. While this report is a snapshot in time, it also adds the element of interactive web-based maps. Project locations and information can be viewed online using Google Maps.

This report could not have been completed without the generous in-kind efforts of the City of Portland’s Environmental Services staff.

Click here to view the Projects and Programs 2003-2013 document.

Having trouble viewing the document?  Try this Google Doc version.

Please contact Corrina Chase for more information at: (503) 281-1132 or

Resource Description
Projects and Programs 2003-2013 Report
This report captures projects and programs in the watershed 2003-2013 in the areas of: Restoration and Enhancement, Water Quality and Quantity, Resource Collection, Outreach and Education, Monitoring, and Recreation. PDF version. Full color; maps included
Projects and Programs 2003-2013 Online Map Viewing Tool
View the projects captured in Projects and Programs 2003-2013 online using Google maps
Action Plan Summary (2003)
Highlights priority projects and gives and overview of the Action Plan (2003)

Watershed Facts

Columbia Slough Watershed Facts:

• 32,700 acres
• Contains Smith and Bybee Wetlands, the largest urban wetland in the United States
• Lower slough is a refuge for endangered salmon
• 175 bird species
• 26 fish species
• 6 lakes, 3 ponds, 50 total miles of waterways
• 30 miles of flood control levees
• 170,000 residents
• 2 universities, one community college
• Wildlife corridors
• Portland International Airport and Troutdale Airport
• Portland Marine Terminals
• 4,200 businesses
• Columbia South Shore Well Field-part of the City of Portland and City of Gresham’s drinking water
• Critical transportation corridors-I-5, I-205, I-83, and Highway 30
• 250,000 railroad cars pass through
• Water quality listed under 303(d)
• Six golf courses
• 40 mile Loop Trail-trail system over 150 miles
• Canoe and kayak launches
• 60% impervious surfaces



Resource Description
Groundwater Protection Program Brochure
City of Portland; Portland Water Bureau Groundwater Protection Program Information
Find out what watershed you live in!
If you live in the Portland Metro area this website is a tool to helping you find out what watershed you live in. Watershed information is located on the "Environmental" tab.

History of the Watershed

The Columbia Slough is a wonderful place.  The Slough waterways were historically utilized by native peoples for seasonal fishing and hunting and safe canoe passage. In 1805, Lewis and Clark expedition members complained they could not sleep due to the noise created by massive numbers of geese and swans, “their noise horid.” The Hudson’s Bay Company began trapping otter and beaver in 1820.  By the 1850s farming had replaced trapping as the main economic activity.

During the early 1920s, levee construction began to prevent the Columbia River’s annual spring floods.  As the area developed, what was once a wildlife-rich mosaic of sloughs, wetlands and lakes was transformed into a highly managed system of channels, agricultural lands, industrial development, and residences.

Today, this urban watershed provides recreation, greenspace, drainage, and habitat.  It is home to 4,200 businesses, 170,000 people, a marine terminal and two airports.  The watershed collects stormwater runoff, rainwater, and groundwater.  Its streams, sloughs, wetlands, grasslands and woodlands provide wildlife corridors and migratory routes for over 175 species of birds. Mink, river otter, beaver, coyote and sensitive species like Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Willow Flycatcher, and Western Pond and Painted turtles use slough habitats. Twenty eight fish species call the Columbia Slough home.

Historia de la cuenca


Contact Us

Columbia Slough Watershed Council

Mailing Address/Office Location:
7040 NE 47th Ave
Portland, OR 97218

Phone: (503) 281-1132
Office Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday - Friday (Typically). We are working in the field at times.  Call ahead to make sure you catch us in the office.

Member Area

Member access only.  For help please contact:

Mission Statement

To protect and enhance the Columbia Slough and its watershed through community engagement, education, and restoration.



The Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s Stewardship program is dedicated to improving watershed health by combining local residents, natural areas, and restoration activities in locations throughout the watershed.  Volunteer activities include native plantings, weed pulls, and litter cleanups in and along waterways.

Stewardship Saturday

Stewardship Saturdays are morning workparties in local parks and natural spaces. Activities range from invasive species removal to litter pick up, native plant planting, mulching, trail maintenance and more. We provide tools and training - no experience is necessary! Learn more about how you can get involved below.

    March 25 - Big Four Corners
    April 29 - Planting by Boat

All events take place from 9:00am - 12:00pm.
Click the event for more information.
Want to sign up?Register here.


Join us for a morning work party and improve watershed health! Caring for our native plant community takes team work and the native bugs, birds, fish, mammals and other Slough fauna will thank you for it.
Connect with friends and neighbors, fulfill service hours for a school project and get to know more about how your actions affect the health of our local waterways. Click the events above to sign up!

Become a volunteer partner

Groups and individuals are welcome for all Stewardship Saturday events. Businesses and community groups are encouraged to register as a Volunteer Partner for any of the events above. Get out and start serving your community today at a park near you! Contact Kelsie Greer at or call (503) 281-1132. We also host custom Stewardship Saturday events at Whitaker Ponds Nature Park pending staff and project availability - contact us for details!

Donate to our volunteers

Are you a local restaurant or café? Donate coffee, tea, pastry or other snacks to feed our volunteer crews!  The Council is an IRS recognized non-profit organization. Contact Kelsie Greer for more information or call (503) 281-1132.

With questions about these and other volunteer opportunities, contact Kelsie Greer at or call (503) 281-1132.


Walking & Biking

Whether you enjoy exercise by foot or on a bike, you have a slough of options with the region’s evolving 40-mile loop (150-mile system) of walking and bicycle paths that connects trails through the Columbia Slough.

An Evolving Trail System

This interconnected system will eventually include a walking path along the entire Slough, and bicycle-pedestrian trails along roadways stretching from Kelly Point Park east to Sandy River Gorge and south to the Springwater Corridor.

Portland Office of Transportation Biking Information
Neighborhood biking/walking maps

Recent Trail Updates

The Columbia Slough trail between North Denver and Vancouver Avenues is now open!  This connects part of the 40 mile loop trail system along the Columbia Slough.  Learn more here.

40-Mile Loop Trail Map

The 40-Mile Loop Trail is a century long effort to build a comprehensive trail system through and around Portland.

The planned loop trail has lengthened to more than 140 miles to include all of Multnomah County and to connect more than 30 parks. The trail connects parks and locations along the Slough and along the Columbia, Sandy, and Willamette Rivers and Johnson Creek in an almost continuous loop.

Download Preview
40-Mile Loop Trail Map

Council Members

The Council’s board members meet once a month to govern the Council and vote on key decisions. To learn more about board member roles, check out the description and application to be a board member. Space is currently available for new board members.

Resource Description
Council Board Member Job Description
Board Member Position Description
Council Member Application
Board Member Application

Agendas & Minutes

The Council Meeting Agendas are available for community members to read what is being planned and discussed. If you would like to see past agendas and minutes, please contact: or (503) 281-1132

Resource Description
January 30, 2017 Agenda
January Meeting Agenda
December 5, 2016 Agenda
December Meeting Agenda
August 29, 2016 Agenda
August Meeting Agenda
July 25, 2016 Agenda
July Meeting Agenda
June 27, 2016 Agenda
June Meeting Agenda
May 23, 2016 Agenda
May 2016 Angenda
April 25, 2016 Agenda
April Meeting Agenda
March 28, 2016 Agenda
March Meeting Agenda
February 29, 2016 Agenda
February Meeting Agenda
January 25, 2016 Agenda
January Meeting Agenda
October 26, 2015 Agenda
October Meeting Minutes
September 28th, Agenda
September Meeting Agenda
August 31st, 2015 Agenda
August Meeting Agenda
July 27th, 2015 Agenda
July Meeting Agenda
June, 29th, 2015 Agenda
June Meeting Agenda
May 18th, 2015 Agenda
May Meeting Agenda
April 27th, 2015 Agenda
April Meeting Agenda
March 30th, 2015 Agenda
March Meeting Agenda
February 23rd, 2015 Agenda
February Agenda
January 26th, 2015 Agenda
January Meeting Agenda
December 15th, 2014 Agenda
December (Holiday) Meeting Agenda
November 17th, 2014 Agenda
November Meeting Agenda (Short meeting prior to Slough Stories event)
October 27th, 2014 Agenda
October Meeting Agenda
September 29th, 2014 Agenda
September Meeting Agenda
August, 25, 2014 Agenda
August Meeting Agenda
July 28th, 2014 Agenda
July Meeting Agenda
June 30th, 2014 Agenda
June Meeting Agenda


“Slough News” is the newsletter of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Throughout the year, we provide you with articles about what is happening in your watershed.


Thank you for your interest in working at Columbia Slough Watershed Council (CSWC). Visit our Get Involved page to learn about volunteer and internship opportunities.

Stewardship Director

Compensation: 34-40K and benefits
Hours: 40 hours/week, full time, some evenings and weekends required
Reports to: Executive Director

The Stewardship Director’s primary duties are to provide leadership, planning, and management for restoration and stewardship projects throughout the watershed. This includes project development, grant writing, grant management, and project management.  They will also be responsible for running volunteer work parties including Stewardship Saturdays. The Stewardship Director actively maintains relationships with partner organizations and leads the CSWC Tech Team, which is currently developing a five year restoration plan. They will be responsible for understanding the ecology of the slough, staying up to date on relevant topics within the watershed, and ensuring that the rest of the CSWC team has critical information in this area.

Closing Date:

Position open until filled. Will begin reviewing applications in early January.

See below for full position description.

Resource Description
Stewardship Director Position Description
Stewardship Director Position Description


Please contact us at: or (503) 281-1132 if you are interested in resources not found on this site.

Resource Description
Annual Report (FY 15-16)
Annual report covering June 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016
Program Area Specific Highlights Report (FY 15-16)
Program area highlights report covering June 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016
Annual Report (FY 14-15)
Annual report covering June 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015
Program Area Specific Highlights Report (FY 14-15)
Program area highlights report covering June 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015
Watershed Wide Partner Newsletter
This partner newsletter is compiled quarterly by Watershed Councils and Soil & Water Conservation Districts within the Portland Metro region.
Projects and Programs 2003-2013
Report on status of projects and programs in the watershed 2003-2013

Canoeing & Kayaking

Almost two centuries after the Lewis and Clark expedition, it is still easy to imagine you are on your own “corps of discovery,” traveling by canoe or kayak, even in the midst of the industrial landscape.

The narrow, tree-lined Upper Slough evokes an air of mystery as you glide silently beneath a mixed alder, cottonwood, red-osier dogwood and willow canopy. The brushy banks are especially attractive to Wood Duck, Black-crowned Night Heron and the secretive Green Heron.

Paddling the Slough

While it is easily navigable by canoe, culverts and other barriers must be negotiated if you plan to paddle the entire Upper Slough. East of the 142rd Avenue levee, canoeing is best on the south “arm” of the Slough. Downstream the preferred route is along the north “arm.” Two floating docks off Airport Way provide the easiest access to the Upper Slough.

The Lower Slough is a wider, obstacle-free waterway with expansive vistas and open water, lined with black cottonwoods and ash - ideal perching and nesting habitat for Osprey, Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron and welcome shade on a hot summer paddle. Daily tides mean a will timed trip allows for paddling with the current; the alternative is a muddy take-out and paddling against a stiff current at ebb tide. Kelley Point Park, St. Johns Landfill and Smith and Bybee Lakes Wildlife Area provide easily accessible launch sites. A new launch is planned near Northeast Denver Avenue.

Resource Description
Paddler's Access Guide
Paddle guide; includes launch location information.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(Invasive Species Prevention Program) Permits required for all boats over 10 ft
NOAA Tide Predictions Website
NOAA Tide Predictions
Paddlers Safety Checklist
Paddlers Safety Checklist (American Canoe Association)
Alder Creek
Kayak/Canoe/Gear/SUP Rental and Sales Vendor. Skill building classes offered.
Next Adventure Paddle Sports
Kayak/Canoe/Gear/SUP Rental and Sales Vendor. Skill building classes offered.
Portland Kayak Company
Kayak Rental and Sales Vendor

Field Programs

Kelley Point Park SERVEWe design Field Programs for students to study the ecosystem of a site within the Columbia Slough Watershed and its nearby habitats. These trips are the field component for students who have completed at least one classroom presentation.

What to Expect

Field activities include:

  • Wildlife observation
  • Permeability, porosity, and the flow of water
  • Visiting Portland Water Bureau’s Groundwater Pump Station
  • Water quality testing
  • Macroinvertebrate sampling
  • Identifying native and non-native plants
  • Habitat studies

Field programs generally last between 1.5 - 2 hours and can include a stewardship project or deeper scientific investigation.


After studying watersheds and riparian zones, students can participate in riparian restoration projects through our partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, including:

  • Invasive plant removal
  • Mulching and trail maintenance
  • Planting native herbs and shrubs

Cost and Transportation

Slough School programs are offered free of charge to teachers and students within the Columbia Slough Watershed. Thanks to funding from Metro, the Gray Family, and the Cities of Gresham and Fairview, you can bill school bus fees to Slough School.

Whitaker Ponds Nature Park is accessible by Tri-met bus #75 and is located at 7040 NE 47th Ave in Portland, a short walk from NE 47th & Columbia Blvd.

Academic Standards

We plan for Slough School field lessons to be in line with the science curriculum and standards that you are meeting in the classroom.

Our programming supports Next Generation Science Standards at each grade level.


Many field trips take place at Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, which has an outdoor classroom, pond access and limited indoor study areas.

HOT TIP: In May - mid November 2017, Whitaker Ponds will be under construction as Portland Parks works on a new entrance to the park on NE 47th. Please work with us to find alternative natural areas for field trips during this timeframe. Thank you!

Other sites within the watershed include:

Be Prepared

Come to field experiences dressed appropriately for the weather! During the fall, winter, and spring it’s a great idea to wear:

  • Warm layers
  • A waterproof layer
  • Closed-toed shoes or boots

...all of which are OK to get dirty!

Slough School has raingear, boots, and gloves for your students to borrow if they want it - let us know!

We also need to be safe in our urban natural areas! We remember these guidelines in the field:

  • Sharp: Leave sharp things on the ground and tell an adult
  • Slippery: Walk carefully on surfaces
  • Stay With the Group: Always be able to see and hear your adult leaders

Please invite enough adult chaperones to meet a 1:10 adult to student ratio.

If you are interested in creating a plan of study with the Slough School, contact:

Jennifer Starkey, Education Director
Phone: (503) 281-1132

Viajes de Estudios


Put your money to work supporting a healthy future for people, plants, and wildlife.
What do we do?​
♦ Engage students in outdoor science education
​♦ Work with community members to protect, restore, and enhance our valuable watershed
♦ Create healthy habitat for fish, wildlife, and surrounding communities
♦ Offer FREE workshops, outdoor paddling, walking, and biking experiences​

As a non-profit organization, we know our greatest asset is YOU: your enthusiasm, your volunteer time, your knowledge, and your financial support. Your contribution this year will help the Council continue programs and activities in our watershed for years to come. Donations to the Council are tax-deductible as provided by law: our IRS Tax Identification number is 03-0456181.

Yes! I want to support the Council!

You may also mail a check directly to:
Columbia Slough Watershed Council
7040 NE 47th Ave
Portland, OR 97218

Register Your Fred Meyer Rewards Card

(Another easy way to support the slough!)

Are you a Fred Meyer customer? Support the Slough just by getting groceries! Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million each year - up to $625,000 each quarter to community organizations - make this support go to work for your watershed! All you have to do is link your Rewards Card and use it when you shop at Fred Meyer. By registering your card you are helping decide what these funds support.

To register your card visit: Register and then add Columbia Slough Watershed Council as your Community Rewards organization. Search for organization number: 83957

Sponsorship Opportunities

Deepen your impact and become a Council partner through Sponsorship.
Visit our sponsor page for more information.
Questions?  Give us a call at: (503) 281-1132 or email

Slough FAQs

The Columbia Slough is a wonderful place to visit and the home to many amazing living organisms, including humans. But, what is a slough? What is a watershed? Read on to learn the answers to those questions…

Classroom Presentations

Slough School provides classroom lessons tailored to fit the learning objectives of a specific group or classroom. We can combine combine programs to create a specific unit of interest.

Water Insects and Friends- target grade 1

Explore life cycles and anatomy of aquatic insects. Through specimens and slides, learn about water invertebrates and their adaptations.

Habitats of Oregon – target grades 2 & 6

What make up a habitat? Food, Water, Shelter, Oxygen, and Space! Explore habitats of Oregon and the Columbia Slough watershed through hands-on activities. What animals find what they need to survive on Oregon’s Coast? Valley Ponds? Mountains? Desert? Students will select an animal from the Columbia Slough Watershed and draw it in its habitat.

Animal Adaptations- target grade 3

Discuss how animals have adapted to their specific environment. Identify the adaptations of birds, mammals and fish. Examine pelts, skulls and specimens of local animals.

Aquatic Macroinvertebrates – target grade 4

What do aquatic organisms tell us about water quality? Through specimens and slides, learn about aquatic invertebrates and their adaptations.

Groundwater- target grades 4 & 7

The Columbia Slough Watershed sits right on top of Portland’s secondary source of drinking water, the Columbia South Shore Well Field! Learn how local geology affects our groundwater system. Using an interactive model, discover how local choices affect groundwater safety. Recommended pairing with: Watersheds lesson and the Groundwater Pump Station Field Trip

Riparian Plants- targets grades 3,5 & 6.

What is a Riparian Zone? It’s the Land By the Water! Students will differentiate native and invasive plants and how they both affect water quality and habitat. What’s the difference between herbs, trees, and shrubs? Students will get to identify plant samples with field guides. Recommended pairing with: Watersheds lesson and a Stewardship Field Trip

Water Quality- target grades 5 & 7

Students observe, use units, interpret data and form hypotheses as they measure the temperature, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen of water samples taken from a local field site.

Watershed Model

What is a Watershed?- target grades 2, 4 & 8

Water + Gravity + Land = A watershed. Learn about watersheds and sources of pollution through historical and current maps, drawing, and a watershed model. Recommended as a primary lesson for any class we work with

If you are interested in creating a plan of study with the Slough School, contact:

Jennifer Starkey, Education Director
Phone: (503) 281-1132

Plants & Wildlife

Plants & Wildlife

The Columbia Slough is home to vast numbers of plants and animals.  Check out the guides below for information about what you could see around the Columbia Slough.

Resource Description
Aquatic Plants of the Columbia Slough
Plants you'll see in and around the Columbia Slough.
Turtles of Portland Guide
Native and non-native turtles in the area.
Fish of the Columbia Slough
Native and non-native fish in the Columbia Slough.
Birds of the Columbia Slough
Common birds of the Columbia Slough area.


The Slough is an amazing combination of passages, lakes, and streams in the heart of the city. In addition, roads, businesses and homes are also located in the watershed of the Slough. This growing list of maps are a resource to help you explore the many treasures and resources of the watershed.

Slough School


Slough School is the educational program of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, serving students in Kindergarten through college. It provides hands-on programs for students to learn about the history and ecology of the watershed, its organisms, and the human effects on the area.

Program Structure

Slough School programming is free for students in grades K-college who live or attend schools within the Columbia Slough Watershed. We offer a wide variety of academic programs, including classroom lessons, field programs, and stewardship projects at sites along the Slough.

Geographic Area

A watershed is:
An area of land
Where all the water drains
To a common body of water
(such as a river, lake or slough)

The Columbia Slough is 60 miles of lakes, wetlands and slow-moving channels in the southern floodplain of the Columbia River. On this map, when water hits the ground anywhere in the green area, gravity takes it to the Columbia Slough. If your school is in the green area, you qualify for free programs!

Schools in the Columbia Slough Watershed

The Columbia Slough Watershed includes schools and communities in the St. John’s area, North Portland, and parts of Northeast Portland, Parkrose, North Gresham and Fairview. It reaches from Kelley Point Park in the west to Fairview Lake and the headwaters of Fairview Creek in the east; from Marine Drive in the north to the Alameda Ridge in the south. Slough School activities take place at field sites and classrooms across the watershed.


Slough School is based out of the Council offices at the Whitaker Ponds Natural Area, at 7040 NE 47th Ave in Portland, Oregon.

Teachers and program coordinators, if you are interested in creating a plan of study with the Slough School, contact:

Jennifer Starkey, Education Director
Phone: (503) 281-1132


Slough School is made possible by
Funding from: Metro Nature in Neighborhoods, the Gray Family Foundation, Boeing, and the Jubitz Family Foundation
Partnerships with: City of Gresham, City of Fairview, Portland Water Bureau, Clean Rivers Education, and Portland Parks and Recreation.


LYFE IN THA SLOUGH #sloughschool

A video posted by Columbia Slough (@columbia_slough) on

Volunteer with Slough School

Slough School volunteers assist with the delivery of all Slough School education activities under the supervision of our excellent educators. We’d love to have you! Find details and application instructions in the position description at the bottom of this page.

Educación: Slough School

Resource Description
Slough School Education Volunteer
Slough School Volunteer Position Description

Maps & Guides

The Slough is an amazing combination of passages, lakes, and streams in the heart of the city. In addition, roads, businesses and homes are also located in the watershed of the Slough. This growing list of maps are a resource to help you explore the many treasures and resources of the watershed.

Mapas y Guías

Resource Description
General Maps and Guides
PDF files of maps and guides.
Canoeing & Kayaking Resources
PDF files of maps and guides as well as links to information about canoeing and kayaking local resources.
Biking and Walking Resources
PDF files of maps and guides as well as links to information about walking and biking local resources.

Slough News

Here’s what’s new in the Slough!

For more information about Council events and programs please contact our staff at 503-281-1132 or email

Noticias del Columbia Slough

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities

Bring your talents to the council! The Council has a number of volunteering opportunities for individuals, groups and families.

Short Term Volunteering

friends plant trees

Stewardship Saturdays:

Stewardship Saturdays volunteer work parties at locations all around the watershed focused on creating healthy habitat for Slough creatures - people included! Stewardship Saturdays are a great way to enjoy a local natural area while simultaneously giving back to your community. These are great individual and group volunteer opportunities with various environmental restoration activities including native plant propagation, planting and mulching, invasive plant removal, litter clean and more! We provide all gloves, tools and training. Check out the Council’s upcoming events page for this month’s Stewardship Saturdays. Check out the Council’s upcoming events page for this month’s Stewardship Saturdays.

Business and Community Groups:

Looking for a service or team building event for your business or community group? The Council can help! Become a volunteering partner and we’ll connect your team with one of our events. We host groups at for Stewardship Saturdays, our restoration workparties in the Winter and Spring. Spring and Summer offer opportunities to get involved with our large annual events, like the Columbia Slough Regatta and Explorando el Columbia Slough. Sign up to become a volunteer partner here.

Long Term Volunteering

boats at regatta

Paddle Team:

The ideal paddle team volunteer has paddling experience and is comfortable communicating about canoe and kayak technique to adults and children alike. After a two-afternoon training, Paddle Team Volunteers assist with our paddle programming as Slough guides, safety monitors and volunteer leaders. Paddle volunteers with varying levels of experience are welcome! This position recruits for the spring and summer. Would you like to be notified when the position opens up? Register to be a volunteer here and we will be in touch when the season begins.

Outreach Team:

Outreach volunteers are comfortable communicating with community members about the activities and projects of the Council. After a short training, outreach volunteers attend various community events, festivals and street fairs, to talk with the public about the Council’s activities and programs. The Council recruits member for the Outreach Taskforce for the spring and summer seasons. Email us at or call us to receive more information about the Outreach Team.

kids testing

Slough School Team:

Enjoy spending time with youth in the outdoors? Slough School volunteers assist our Slough School educators in the delivery of classroom and field-based science programs during school field trips to Whitaker Ponds Nature park and other watershed locations. Slough School activities are fun and educational! They range from native plantings to water chemistry studies and guided nature hikes. Slough School volunteer positions require training and practice, so the hourly commitment is greater than our other volunteer teams.

Office Team:

The Council welcomes office volunteers throughout the calendar year. Office volunteers assist with a wide variety of administrative tasks from event preparation to research and data entry. A successful office volunteer pays attention to details and is comfortable taking direction. A general knowledge of computers and the Microsoft Office suite is helpful. Contact us if you’re interested.

Interested in volunteering with us?

Fill Out Our Volunteer Interest Form


Contact Volunteer Coordinator Kelsie Greer at or 503 281-1132.

Resource Description
Slough School Educator Volunteer
Slough School Education Volunteer Position Description
Get Involved

Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Opportunities vary from attending events and workshops, to pulling blackberries and planting native trees, to editing our newsletter, and leading paddling trips.

Here are a few ways to connect with us:

Take a Class:

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council offers free classes and workshops throughout the year including Wetlands 101, Slough 101, and Groundwater 101.

Check our Calendar of Events to see what is coming up.

Come Play with us:

Part of why the Council is so successful is because of our interest in having fun on the Slough. We host paddling trips, tours of the watershed, and hikes.

Check our Calendar of Events to see what is coming up.

Join Our Mailing List:

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council has an email list that keeps you updated on events and happenings through the watershed. We send out emails a few times a month, and you can unsubscribe at any time. To join the list, click here.

If you’d rather stay involved through twice-yearly mailings to your postal address, contact to sign up for the “snail mail” list.


The Columbia Slough Watershed Council is always looking for volunteers. Please let us know what your interests are.
Learn more here.

Apply for an Internship

We offer a variety of unpaid and stipend-based internships throughout the year.  Learn more about our program and how you can deepen your positive impact as a member of our team.
Learn more here.

Register Your Fred Meyer Card to Support the Slough

Are you a Fred Meyer customer? Support the Slough just by getting groceries! Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million each year - up to $625,000 each quarter to community organizations - make this support go to work for your watershed! All you have to do is link your Rewards Card and use it when you shop at Fred Meyer. By registering your card you are helping decide what these funds support.

To register your card visit:  Register and then add Columbia Slough Watershed Council as your Community Rewards organization. Search for organization number: 83957


Events & Workshops

Events & Workshops

Explore the Slough and learn about local nature!

The recreation program of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council offers free environmental education activities, bike tours, workshops, paddling events and multi-cultural festivals with the objective to increase community engagement and raise awareness about the richness of this special waterway.

paddle pretty

Recreation Activites

- Attracting Pollinators
- Groundwater 101
- Invasive Species
- Naturescaping
- Native Plants
- Slough 101
- Stormwater 101
- Raingarden 101
- Wetlands 101

Bike & Walk Tours
- Bat Night
- Bike the Levees
- Bird Walks
- Brew by the Slough
- Brunch with the Birds
- Cycle the Well Field
- Owl Prowl
- Subs on the Slough
- Vanport Tour

Paddling Events
- Bring Your Own Boat
- Evening Canoe the Slough (Spring & Fall)
- Ladies Lunchtime Paddle
- Moonlight Paddle

Community Festivals
- Explorando el Columbia Slough
- Columbia Slough Regatta
- Aquifer Adventure

Click here to learn more and register for upcoming events and workshops.  For additional information and/or questions, contact:

Karen Carrillo, Outreach & Events Director
Phone: (503) 281-1132.

Sponsors & Partners

Our recreation activities are made possible by funding from: Boeing, the Bureau of Environmental Services, East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Metro, and the Portland Water Bureau and Partnerships with: Community Cycling Center, Hacienda CDC, Living Cully/Verde, and Next Adventure.

Eventos & Actividades


The Columbia Slough Watershed Council is a diverse group of neighbors, property owners, businesses, environmental groups, recreation advocates, and government agencies who work to restore and enhance the 60 miles of waterways known as the Columbia Slough, located in Portland, Gresham, and Fairview. The Columbia Slough Watershed Council is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Our Vision for the Watershed: An urban watershed rich in clean water and healthy habitats that supports the needs of fish, wildlife, plants and people.

Click here to view the short video produced by Portland Monthly about our work. (The Council was honored in 2012 with a Light A Fire award)

For more information: (503) 281-1132 or

Quienes Somos

Resource Description
Annual Report
Columbia Slough Watershed Council Annual Report FY 15-16
Letter of Support Process
Information on how to request a letter of support from the Council.

Council Staff

The staff works towards our mission alongside Council members, regional partners, and our tremendous volunteer community.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Join us for these upcoming events! For a full calendar of events, click here.  For information on any of the events listed below, contact our staff at: or (503) 281-1132.

Year at a Glance

See below for 2017 Columbia Slough Watershed Council events:

For most current information on restoration events (plantings, invasive species removal, clean-ups) please see the upcoming events page of our site.  During planting season, we typically do two volunteer work parties each month (Stewardship Saturdays). 


  • Stewardship Saturday, January 14th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, January 21st, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, January 28th, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

  • Council Meeting, January 30th, 5:00-7:30 PM


  • Stewardship Saturday, February 4th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Slough Celebration, February 10th, 6:00-9:00 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, February 18th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, February 25th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Rain Gardens 101 Workshop, February 26th, 1:00-5:00 PM

  • Council Meeting, February 27th, 5:00-7:30 PM


  • Stewardship Saturday, March 4th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Pollinators Workshop, March 8th, 6:30 PM-9:00 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, March 11th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, March 18th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Slough 101, March 18th, 9:00 AM-12:45 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, March 25th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Council Meeting, March 27th, 5:00-7:30 PM


  • Stewardship Saturday, April 2nd, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Paddle Team Training Part 1, April 6th, 5:00-7:00 PM

  • Paddle Team Training Part 2, April 8th, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM

  • “Bring Your Own Boat” Paddle, April 11th, 5:30-7:30 PM

  • Outreach Team Training, April 15th, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

  • Native Plants Workshop, April 19th, 6:00-8:30 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, April 22nd, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Council Meeting, April 24th, 5:00-7:30 PM

  • Evening Canoe the Slough (Spring), April 27th, 5:00-8:00 PM

  • Stewardship Saturday, April 29th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


  • Naturescaping Workshop, May 6th, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Council Meeting, May 22nd 5:00 PM-7:30 PM

  • Vanport Mosaic, May 29th, All day


  • Cycle the Well Field, June 3rd, 8:45 AM -1:30 PM

  • Explorando el Columbia Slough, June 24th, 1:00-5:00 PM

  • Council Meeting, June 26th, 5:00-7:30 PM


  • Great Slough Cleanup, TBD, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Moonlight Paddle, July 7th, 9:00-11:00 PM

  • Council Meeting, July 31st, 5:00-7:30 PM


  • Columbia Slough Regatta, August 6th, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

  • Subs on the Slough, August 18th, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM

  • Ladies Lunchtime Paddle, August 24th, 10:00 AM -1:30 PM

  • Bat Night, August 25th, 7:30-9:30 PM

  • Council Meeting, August 28th, 5:00-7:30 PM


  • Aquifer Adventure, September 16th, 12:00-4:00 PM

  • Council Meeting, September 25th, 5:00-7:30 PM

  • Evening Canoe the Slough (Fall), September 28th, 5:00-8:00 PM (Fall)


  • Bike the Levees, October 8th, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

  • Wetlands 101, October 14th, 8:45 AM-1:00 PM

  • Owl Prowl October 20th, 7:00-9:00 PM

  • Council Meeting October 23rd, 5:00-7:30 PM


  • Groundwater 101, November 18th, 9:00 AM-1:30 PM

  • Council Meeting, November 20th, 5:00 - 7:30 PM


  • Soup on the Slough, December 1, 2 or 3

  • Council Meeting, December 4, 5:00 PM-7:30 PM

Resource Description
2017 Events Calendar
2017 Events Calendar (PDF)

State of the Slough

The Columbia Slough has had a long history of environmental decline. But with the elimination of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) in 2000, watershed wide efforts to revegetate the Slough with native plants, and the increasing awareness of businesses and residents, the Slough is cleaner today than it has been in over 100 years.

For more information about Oregon Department of Environmental Quality projects in the slough, please visit their website.


Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) occur in some areas of the City where the stormwater sewer and sanitary sewer are combined in one pipe - a combined sewer system. When it rains, combined sewer pipes fill up with both stormwater runoff and sewage. Once the pipes fill to capacity, the excess combined sewage overflows into the local river or slough.

The City of Portland used to have 13 CSO outfalls that discharged combined sewage into the Lower Columbia Slough. But in October 2000 the Bureau of Environmental Services completed its “Big Pipe” project and sewage stopped flowing in to the Columbia Slough for the first time in a century. The elimination of CSOs from the Slough has greatly increased the health of the waterway. Local agencies continue to monitor the Slough to measure the improvements of water quality since the elimination of CSOs from the Slough.

Fish Advisory

Columbia Slough Fish may be hazardous to your health. Fish in the Columbia Slough contain PCBs and pesticides. These chemicals may effect human development, reproduction and immune systems. These chemicals may also increase your chance of getting cancer.

People most at risk include: unborn babies, pregnant and nursing mothers, children and people who eat Slough fish often and for many years. Even though the concentrations of PCBs and pesticides in Slough fish are fairly low, they still pose a health risk because these chemicals increase in the body and my cause health problems many years after eating the fish.

PCBs and pesticides accumulate in the fatty parts of fish over the life of the fish. If you do choose to eat Columbia Slough fish, to reduce health risks you should avoid eating the fatty parts or the guts. Bake or broil the fish fillet on a rack so that the fat drips off, and then do not eat the fat drippings.

Water Quality

TMDL is a term from the Clean Water Act that stands for Total Maximum Daily Load. It is an estimate of how much of a particular pollutant a water body can absorb before it becomes a problem. TMDLs are established by Oregon DEQ for every water body that is listed in the Clean Water Act as a water-quality-limited water body .

In 1998 TMDLs were established for the Columbia Slough for pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, bacteria, lead, DDE/DDT, PCBs, dieldrin, and 2,3,7,8-TCDD. DEQ established the temperature for the Willamette Basin (including the Columbia Slough) in 2006.

Our Watershed

The Columbia Slough is a 60-mile long remnant of lakes, wetlands and slow-moving channels in the southern floodplain of the Columbia River. This area was once home to Native Americans. The Lewis and Clark Expedition noted plentiful wildlife particularly geese, brandts, ducks, and otter in the Slough.


In the early 1920’s levees were constructed to prevent seasonal flooding and the waterway was transformed into the channeled and highly managed system now known as the Columbia Slough. With the elimination of yearly floods farming, industrial and residential development flourished.

Today the 40,000 acres of watershed contains 24,000 homes, 4,500 businesses, and is home to 1/10 of all the jobs in Multnomah County.

Each year more than 13.7 million people and over 275,000 tons of freight come through the watershed. Impacts from 150 years of development have left a legacy of environmental problems in the Slough: contaminated fish and sediment, diminished wildlife habitat, and water pollution from both point and non-point sources. The Columbia Slough Watershed Council was formed to address these issues.

As habitats are modified throughout the Portland metropolitan region and the entire Northwest, the Slough’s importance as a component of our regional system of greenspaces grows. The Slough is one of the largest urban waterways contained wholly within the metropolitan urban growth boundary. This vast ribbon of habitat and openspace can be explored by foot, bicycle or canoe and kayak.

Flanked on the west by the 2,000 acre Smith and Bybee lakes, and on the east by the 102 acre Fairview Lake and the headwaters of Fairview Creek near Grant Butte in Gresham, the 60 mile Slough and its watershed represent an irreplaceable resource, both for the region and for north and northeast Portland, Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale, and Wood Village.

Nuestra Cuenca

La cuenca del Columbia Slough es una red de 40 millas de humedales, pantanos, lagos y canales de la antigua llanura aluvial del rio Columbia.  Esta cuenca de 50 millas cuadradas capta los escurrimientos y agua subterránea que la rodean y es rica en recursos naturales. 

La cuenca sustenta a numerosas especies de peces, aves, y vida silvestre, y provee importantes funciones ecológicas: mejorar la calidad del aire y agua, proveer drenaje y ayudar a controlar las inundaciones. Este es un lugar bello para la contemplación, recreación y el descanso.

Resource Description
Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Environmental Services is Portland, Oregon's Clean River agency. The agency treats Portland's wastewater, provides stormwater drainage services, and works in Portland watersheds to reduce stormwater pollution, restore native vegetation, and improves the quality of water in our rivers and streams.
The City of Portland Water Bureau
The City of Portland Water Bureau operates a well field capable of producing close to 100 million gallons per day. The Columbia South Shore Well Field is the second largest water source in the State of Oregon, with about half the capacity of Portland’s Bull Run source.
Groundwater Protection Program Brochure
City of Portland; Portland Water Bureau Groundwater Protection Program Information
Center for Columbia River History
Explore the history of the Columbia Slough and its communities. View the images and read the documents that tell about slough's past. Listen to the voices and read the oral histories of those who witnessed a transformation from farm to city, and of those who created diverse social, environmental, and industrial communities.

Join us at our 20th annual slough 101 workshop!

Join us at our 20th annual slough 101 workshop!

This free hands-on workshop will explore the unique character, challenges and opportunities of the Columbia Slough and its Watershed.  You’ll learn about soil & sediment in relation to water quality, how the Slough has changed over time, and what that means for fish, wildlife, people and businesses.  Open to everyone interested in learning more about the Columbia Slough Watershed.

Saturday March 18, 9:00am - 12:45pm

Workshop presenters include representatives from:
The Columbia Slough Watershed Council
The City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services
The City of Portland, Portland Water Bureau
Friends of Smith and Bybee Lakes
Levee Ready Columbia
Multnomah County Drainage Districts
Portland State University

Click here to learn more and to register.

Fall Brunch with Lavender & Thyme

Fall Brunch with Lavender & Thyme

Join us for a fall brunch fundraiser catered by Lavender and Thyme! Bring your friends and family anytime between 10am and noon to enjoy this fully catered brunch at the scenic Whitaker Ponds Nature Park. Tickets include a three-course, chefs choice brunch, coffee, tea, or cocoa. Meat and vegetarian options are available.

Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.

Slough School is seeking passionate volunteers to help with our education program!

Slough School is seeking passionate volunteers to help with our education program!

Slough School education volunteers assist with stewardship projects (native plantings, mulching, invasive species removal), water quality investigations, and natural history tours for students in the Slough School program. Volunteers first take on a shadowing role observing a staff educator and assisting with behavior monitoring and group management. Once volunteers establish familiarity with the flow of programming, they have the opportunity to lead activities and experiment with teaching/communication styles.

Visit our volunteer opportunities page to learn more.

Explorando success / Explorando: un exito!

Explorando success / Explorando: un exito!

El 11 de Junio de este año, mas de 400 personas asistieron nuestro festival bilingüe ¡Explorando el Columbia Slough!  Familias e individuales disfrutaron de todo lo que la naturaleza del Columbia Slough ofrece con viajes guiados en canoa, exploraciones en el bosque de Whitaker Ponds Nature Park y cuentos e historias bilingües.  Al mismo tiempo, el evento celebro nuestra cultura latina local con bailes folklóricos, música en vivo, arte, manualidades y artesanías para representar las diferentes formas en las que valoramos la bella naturaleza que nos rodea.  Muchas gracias a todos los miembros de la comunidad que nos ayudaron con la planificación, la recaudación de fondos, y la ejecución de este maravilloso evento!

On June 11 this year, over 400 people came out to celebrate nature in the city at ¡Explorando el Columbia Slough! Families and individuals enjoyed everything that the Columbia Slough has to offer with guided canoe trips, a scavenger hunt inside the forest of Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, and bilingual nature tales and narrations.  At the same time, the event celebrated our local Latino culture with folk dancing, live music, and arts & crafts to represent the different ways in which we value the nature that surrounds us.  Many thanks to all the community members and partners who helped us with the planning, fundraising, and execution of this wonderful event!


Meet Our New Executive Director: Corrina Chase!

Meet Our New Executive Director: Corrina Chase!

We are delighted to have Corrina Chase join the Columbia Slough as our new Executive Director.  She brings nine years of watershed council leadership to this position, having served as Coordinator for both the Tryon Creek Watershed Council and prior to that, the Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council on the Oregon coast. Her past work also includes organic biogeochemistry for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and for MIT/WHOI in support of paleoclimate research, marine invasive species research, and restoration charrette planning. She is a passionate social justice advocate. She has a BS in geobiology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a master’s in marine affairs from the University of Washington. She enjoys playing music, hiking, sailing, kayaking, chanterelle hunting, and gardening.

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