Clackamas SWCD's water source protection plan is finished, now looking for those who need some help

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.

COURTESY PHOTO: CLACKAMAS SWCD - The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District's Molalla Watershed Drinking Water Source Protection Plan is finished and the group is looking for landowners along the river that need help.

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.

COURTESY PHOTO: CLACKAMAS SWCD - Bank erosion can be a big issue in terms of impacting water quality.

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.

If you think you have erosion that is eating away your fields or your streambanks; you have no trees next to the stream; or have manure piles that just continue to grow, contact Clackamas SWCD for help at 503-210-6000 or send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

To read the Phase I and II reports or the final plan, go to the Molalla Watershed Source Water Protection Plan website: or contact the Clackamas SWCD office at 503-210-6000, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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