Is Your Land Going Downstream?

Soil erosion can contaminate source drinking water.

Sediment from soil erosion upstream can contaminate our drinking water.

The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District recently completed Molalla Watershed Drinking Water Source Protection Plan. This plan identified threats to the Molalla River water quality.

The technical advisory committee for the plan named many contaminants, but recommended tackling these first:

  • turbidity/sediment/total suspended solids
  • water temperature
  • harmful algal blooms
  • hazardous materials and spills
  • E. coli bacteria
Heavy erosion along Milk Creek prior to the construction project

Heavy erosion along Milk Creek was a concern for one landowner until the District was contacted for assistance.

Sediment in the Water?

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. 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. 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!

To know where to start their outreach, 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 the Molalla River to find the muddiest streams. The best time to grab samples is during major rainstorms in the fall, so you may see them out in the rain.

Are you struggling with erosion along your creek or stream? We can help!

Are you struggling with erosion along your creek or stream? We can help!

Do You Have an Erosion Concern?

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, don’t wait, contact Clackamas SWCD for help. Call 503-210-6000 or send a message to [email protected]. Staff are happy to talk or come out and walk the property with you 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, [email protected]

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Clackamas SWCD