Evolution was the word of year at Pacific Rivers.
In 2015, we embarked on a rebranding that led to a new logo, a name change (we dropped Council from our name) and a brand, new, shiny website – with a blog! We also hired a full-time communications staff member to maintain the shiny new website and blog, among other things. We hope you enjoy poking around on the website, and watching our videos. As we continue to increase our investment in storytelling, especially via film, we are excited that this new website can include our films and is easy to update.
We also released a new film, Behind the Emerald Curtain, to launch our campaign to modernize rules on private industrial timberlands in Oregon. Oregon is behind its neighbors in California, Oregon and Washington. We need upgraded rules that:
- Keep our water clean by requiring a buffer of standing trees along all streams, large and small;
- Prevent landslides by limiting clearcuts on steep, unstable slopes; and,
- Protect people and wildlife by reducing or eliminating aerial spraying of toxic herbicides.
The 30-minute film is our longest yet. It has received four awards and been accepted into the national Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, Calif. in January. Kudos to our filmmaker Shane Anderson for doing an incredible job, and many thanks to everyone who has come to see it or hosted a screening. We have more screenings on the way, and will release a short version online in 2016. You can see the preview here and sign our petition here.
In 2015, we also worked with Senator Ron Wyden and his staff to introduce the Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary, which would protect the 104,000-acre Steamboat Creek watershed in the North Umpqua River basin. The Steamboat Creek watershed is one of the most important ecological areas in the Pacific Northwest, providing over 50 river and stream miles of high-quality habitat for summer and winter steelhead, Coho salmon, cutthroat trout and other native species, and Frank Moore is a legendary WWII veteran, angler, and conservationist from the area.
One of the more tedious jobs we did – but somebody’s got to do it – was analyze the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s proposal for changing management of certain federal forests in Oregon. The so-called the Oregon & California Railroad lands make up 2.5 million acres in all but one county in western Oregon. There is pressure to increase harvest on these lands. Pacific Rivers submitted comments with Wild Salmon Center, Trout Unlimited, and American Rivers asking that the Bureau make sure they fully consider the harm to water from increased timber harvest. After all, 1.8 million Oregonians get their drinking water from streams that flow through O&C lands, and O&C watersheds support important populations of fish and wildlife.
Finally, we completed another year of fish monitoring on Canton Creek, a tributary to Steamboat Creek in the North Umpqua watershed east of Roseburg, Oregon. Canton Creek is an extremely productive stream for salmon and cutthroat trout, and for four years, stream ecologist Charley Dewberry has led a group of students and volunteers to don wetsuits, get in the river, and count young fish. This popular program has been featured in the news several times, and our filmmaker did a short video on the Canton Creek monitoring program.
All in all, we’re thrilled with our work in 2015, our evolution, and our progress in raising awareness about watershed issues in the Northwest while building our base of activists and supporters. Thank you for joining us on the journey, and here’s to clean water and healthy rivers in 2016! If you are not yet a member, please join us!