Is your land along Molalla River going downstream?
The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District (Clackamas SWCD) recently completed the Molalla Watershed Drinking Water Source Protection Plan. This plan looked at assessing threats to the source drinking water in the Molalla River.
The technical advisory committee for the plan identified many contaminants but recommended tackling these first: turbidity/sediment/total suspended solids, water temperature, harmful algal blooms, hazardous materials and spills, E. coli bacteria.
The Clackamas SWCD will begin helping watershed residents fix the problems by focusing first on turbidity/sediment/total suspended solids. When soil erodes from fields or streambanks, it carries nutrients, heavy metals, and some pesticides.
Large amounts of soil make the water muddy which can mean trouble for local water treatment facilities.
The bad news is that there is too much turbidity/sediment in the side streams and Molalla River. The good news is that there is help, according to Lisa Kilders, education and outreach program manager for the Clackamas SWCD.
She noted that Clackamas SWCD "specializes in helping landowners and managers hold on to their soil."
They offer voluntary, non-regulatory technical advice in Clackamas County to help solve problems such as erosion and failing streambanks. They also help with manure management and improving shade to streams to keep the water cool. And their help is free.
To know where to start their outreach, Kilders said that the Clackamas SWCD wants to find out which streams are delivering the most sediment to the Molalla River. Their staff and partners will be taking water samples where side streams join a larger stream or the Molalla River to find the muddiest streams.
The best time to grab samples is during major rainstorms in the fall, so residents along the Molalla River may see Clackamas SWCD personnel out in the rain.
"At the same time, we will be looking for opportunities to get more shade on the streams as the water temperature is also an issue," Kilders said.
Staff will be happy to talk with property owners or come out and walk the property and discuss solutions that fit your goals for your land.
The Molalla River Drinking Water Source Protection Project is an effort to better understand issues affecting the river water. Clackamas SWCD sponsored the project, developed in partnership with the community water systems, land managers, natural resource agencies, and watershed residents. The Molalla Watershed Drinking Water Source Protection Plan was finished at the end of June 2021.
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