This week, Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) purchased 160 acres of critical steelhead habitat along Oregon’s North Santiam River—a vital Willamette River tributary. Historically, the North Santiam was the largest producer of winter steelhead in the Willamette basin and is the source of approximately one-third of its spring Chinook salmon. Today, fish in the basin are imperiled: upper Willamette River Chinook salmon and winter steelhead have both been listed as Threatened.
WRC says: The property WRC purchased is located near the town of Stayton and has two miles of North Santiam frontage, seven side channels/sloughs and frontage on the smaller Dieckman Creek. It is the most intact wetland assemblage within 50 square miles. Besides the large number of aquatic species, four wildlife species of concern also call this property home: the pileated woodpecker, hooded merganser, western pond turtle and red-legged frog.
Purchasing and restoring property along the North Santiam River is a critical step for native fish and wildlife, and will aid in the recovery of listed species in the Willamette basin. WRC is hopeful that this first purchase along the North Santiam will lead to the conservation of additional properties with high quality habitat and good restoration potential.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.