National nonprofit: Willamette River 5th most endangered in U.S.
}American Rivers, a nonprofit organization advocating for the protection and restoration of river habitats across the United States, named the Willamette River as the fifth most endangered river in the country in a published this week detailing the most threatened watersheds from coast to coast.
The report calls upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make improvements to 13 dams that the group believes to be outdated and harmful to wild salmon and steelhead populations that are cut off from access to more than 400 miles of pristine spawning and rearing habitat.
According to the report, an estimated annual run of nearly 400,000 spring chinook up the Willamette has dwindled to a few thousand naturally reproducing fish. Last year, the winter steelhead run totaled 512 fish, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife warns that the run is under imminent threat of extinction.
In compiling their report and calling upon the Corps to take action, American Rivers partnered with organizations like the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and Willamette Riverkeeper to bolster their message that this is a situation borders on a crisis.
The Willamette River in Oregon flows 187 miles out of the Cascades and Coast Range Mountains to its confluence with the Columbia River in the city of Portland. The river has thirteen significant tributaries, including the Clackamas, Molalla, McKenzie, and North and South Santiam Rivers.
Read the report .