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Free series of courses will focus on fish, forestry and natural history in the Clackamas River Basin area

PMG FILE PHOTO - A new series of classes will focus on the Clackamas River.

Starting this week, the Clackamas River Watershed Council is launching a series of free, online seminars for everyone with a relationship to the Clackamas River watershed.

Lake Oswego, Oregon City, West Linn, Tigard, Happy Valley and Damascus all get their drinking water from the Clackamas.

From fish to geology to natural history, there are a variety of elements of the Clackamas River that will be highlighted in the upcoming free series of 33 one-hour classes about every other week through 2022.

David Bugni, who is collaborating with the Clackamas River Basin Council, Clackamas River Water Providers and Portland General Electric to spearhead the Clackamas Conference, said he believes this will be the first educational event of its scope in the Clackamas River Basin.

"It's such a unique basin with diverse uses — agriculture, timber, fisheries," Bugni said. "We want to know how to be better stewards and become aware of how special the river is."

Topics will include fish migration patterns, how forested areas have evolved, the history of wildfire in the basin, predicted changes in climate, and the role of fish hatcheries in the river basin. Each class will likely span several hours in length.

Speakers may include representatives from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Portland General Electric, Oregon State University, the U.S. Forest Service, Natural Systems Design, NOAA Fisheries, and Cramer Fish Sciences.

"We want to make it practical and worthwhile," Bugni said.

The free classes beginning this month will be held online, with recordings for those who are unable to make the live sessions.

"There are a lot of benefits for getting information out," Bugni said. "I think it will open it up to a lot of folks who couldn't go in the past. There are no downsides to doing it this way."

Bugni said the courses will be beneficial to community members who wish to learn more about the river and professionals who do work pertaining to it.

He described a "two level benefit" to the project.

"The first one is to any interested person. They'll learn something about how to be better stewards," he said. "The second one is for professional scientists, engineers, and city or county planners. Every river is different. They can get the best knowledge of what the Clackamas River is and tailor what they're doing to that."

He also hopes to see students of all ages in the classes

"Any high school student, or junior high school student, could get something out of it," he said. "We hope to see our local schools interested in the classes."

More online

Registration for classes in the Clackamas Conference will be available on the Clackamas River Basin Council's website. The classes will be free. For more information, visit

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