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It's important we all do our part to prevent pesticides from getting into our waterways.

COURTESY: CRBC - The Clackamas River flows 83 miles from its headwaters to its confluence at the Willamette River and supplies drinking water to almost 300,00 people in Clackamas County.The Clackamas River basin's fertile soils support a variety of robust harvests. The region's vibrant nurseries and Christmas tree farms bring joy to families nationwide. Gardeners boast blue-ribbon vegetables and harness our PNW rains to create lush, green lawns.

Many growers use pesticides to produce these bounties. Herbicides combat weeds, insecticides repel bugs that harm crops, and fungicides keep plants from getting plants sick.

Sometimes, these pesticides get out of the garden, however, and they can contaminate our waterways. Herbicides and insecticides in our streams kill the plants and insects that form the basis of our ecological food web. Pesticides "bioaccumulate" in fish that eat contaminated insects, threatening our endangered salmon species.

Pesticides in our water can harm us, too. As the Clackamas River provides drinking water for nearly 400,000 people, it's important we all do our part to prevent pesticides from getting into our waterways.

Unfortunately, we regularly find pesticides in the Clackamas River and its tributaries.

The Clackamas River Basin Council is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that creates partnerships between landowners, agricultural producers, and local government agencies to protect our watershed from threats like pesticide contamination. We work to reduce pesticides in our waters with the Clackamas River Water Providers and the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) - but we need your help.

Clackamas River Basin Council

Address: P.O. Box 1869

Clackamas, OR 97015

Phone: 503-303-4372

Website: Clackamasriver.org

Specializes in: Locally organized, non-governmental group of citizens formed to protect and improve the Clackamas River Basin and its watersheds.

If you use pesticides on your lawn or in your garden, please make sure you employ "Pesticide Wise" practices:

• Always read pesticide labels and follow recommended application methods and amounts.

• Never apply pesticides on rainy or windy days.

• Reduce your pesticide use alongside creeks and try alternatives to protect our waters.

You can take our "Pesticide Pledge" to learn more about proper application techniques. We will send you a metal yard sign for your "Pesticide Free" or "Pesticide Wise" garden or lawn — and we hope we can count on you to encourage your friends and neighbors to learn about this issue and reduce their pesticide use (clackamasriver.org/pesticide-pledge/).

If you use pesticides on your industrial farm, we urge you to join our Pesticide Stewardship Partnership and have a say in the forthcoming Pesticide Strategic Plan. We are calling upon farmers to work with us, the SWCD, and the Oregon State University Extension Service to strategize how we can reduce pesticides in our waterways as a community to avoid regulations. Call CRBC Stewardship Manager Suzi Cloutier to learn more (503-303-4372 x105).

It's up to all of us to do our part to keep pesticides out of our waterways. Through knowledge-sharing, cooperative problem-solving, and even grant opportunities for new equipment, on-the-ground assistance, and technologies, we can work together to protect our watershed, our native fish and wildlife, and the people who drink from the Clackamas River.