Elk Creek Watershed Council, Umpqua Basin, Oregon


The mission of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds is to restore our native fish populations and the aquatic systems that support them to productive and sustainable levels that will provide substantial environmental, cultural, and economic benefits:

"All Oregonians can help restore healthy watersheds that support the economy and quality of life of Oregon. Agriculture, forestry, recreation, fisheries, and industry all need healthy watersheds, along with every person and community in Oregon. The Plan has a strong focus on salmon because they have such great cultural, economic, and recreational importance to Oregonians, and because they are important indicators of watershed health."

A watershed is the area of land where all precipitation drains to a common water body, such as a river or lake. Watersheds are not made of water, but of land. This means the boundaries of a watershed are determined by the shape of the land that surrounds them. Often called a drainage basin or hydrologic unit, a watershed can cover a large multi-state area like the Columbia River watershed, or a relatively small area, like the watershed of a small stream, pond, or wetland. Larger watersheds are made of numerous smaller watersheds, often called sub-watersheds or sub-basins. It is the watershed that connects us all to the resources that we depend on for our survival.

Watershed councils are locally organized, voluntary, non-regulatory groups established to improve the conditions of watersheds in their local area. Watershed councils create a forum that brings local property owners and residents, concerned citizens, and private land managers together with local, state, and federal land management agencies, in a non-regulatory setting, to form a common vision for the ecological and economic sustainability and livability of their watershed.

Watershed councils offer local residents the opportunity to independently evaluate watershed conditions, and to identify opportunities to restore or enhance those conditions. Through the councils, partnerships between residents, local, state, and federal agency staff, and other groups can be developed.

Local watershed councils are highly effective in the development and implementation of projects to maintain and restore the biological and physical processes in the watersheds for the sustainability of their communities. These projects have become increasingly important as both local land managers and government agencies grapple with declining salmon populations, deteriorating water quality, and the implications of the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts.

The Elk Creek Watershed Council is made up of local landowners – farmers, ranchers, and woodland owners. Though we ARE recognized by the State of Oregon, we are NOT a regulatory or government agency. We are an independent, non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation that was formed by local landowners to assist all local landowners to better manage their natural resources, to navigate increasingly complex land use regulations, and to improve the aesthetic and economic value of their properties.

In addition to providing technical assistance to local landowners, the Elk Creek Watershed Council is monitoring the condition of fish and wildlife habitat, and of water quality, in the watershed. With this information, the council is developing restoration projects – projects that not only improve fish and wildlife habitat, but also benefit landowners. We believe it is possible to achieve both economic stability and environmental integrity within the Elk Creek watershed and Douglas County using statistically valid science.

Board of Directors meetings are at 7:00 PM on the third Tuesday of the month at the
Sunnydale Grange, 5040 State Highway 38, Drain, Oregon.
All are welcome. Bring your mask.