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The Clackamas watershed is a special place.  It is home to the last significant run of wild late winter coho in the Columbia Basin, and it is also one of only two remaining runs of spring Chinook in the Willamette Basin. In addition, it supports a significant population of winter steelhead. The watershed is also home to threatened and endangered species, including the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and Nelson's checkermallow.  

20 miles of the Clackamas are classified as seasonal, and 27 are classified as recreational, for a total of 47 miles of wild and scenic river. In order for a river to become a National Wild and Scenic River, it mus have at least one resource that is considered to be "outstandingly remarkable." Assessment of the Clackamas River found five different resource categories to be "outstandingly remarkable" -- recreation, fish, wildlife, historic, and vegetation.

To learn more about the sub-watersheds that make up this remarkable basin, simply hover over the "About the Watershed" tab at the top of the webpage, and select the creek of most interest to you.

Rock Creek

The Rock Creek sub-watershed is in the more urbanized part of the Clackamas watershed.  It flows through parts of Damascus, and you cross over Rock Creek as you travel east-bound on Highway 212 towards Damascus.  Because this area is one of the most developed in our watershed, actions such as planting riparian buffer zones and limiting pesticide use are especially important.

We conduct water quality monitoring along Rock Creek and in some of its tributaries to get a picture of the sub-watershed's health.  Some of this monitoring is done in conjunction with Portland State University's Snapshot Program.  CRBC also partners with SOLV and Friends of Trees to conduct restoration work in the Rock Creek basin, which has been prioritized by Clackamas County Service District Number 1.  They've created a Watershed Action Plan for Rock Creek that details actions which can be taken to help improve this sub-watershed! Clackamas County Service District Number 1's Watershed Action Plan can be found here.

Richardson Creek

Richardson Creek, like Rock, is part of the more urbanized portion of our watershed.  It flows near Damascus and Boring, and is slightly east of Rock Creek.  Richardson Creek residents can also have water quality monitoring through our program with Portland State University's Snapshot Water Quality Monitoring Program, or receive information about how to reduce their pesticide use.  Past (and current) projects in this region focus on planting native trees and shrubs in riparian buffer zones.  These shrubs and trees act as a filter for water running off lawns and roads.

Deep Creek

Deep Creek, which is the sub-watershed that flows through Boring and surrounding lands, is a priority area for our Council.  Salmon were recently spotted returning (in Fall 2010) to the North Fork of Deep Creek to spawn.  However, this tributary is also plagued by turbidity (water cloudiness, usually from excess soil in the water), and pesticides.  

CRBC has engaged in a number of projects in Deep Creek.  We monitor water quality through agreements with DEQ and in partnership with Portland State, and we provide pesticide use reduction information to watershed residents.  We also recently removed a weir that was blocking fish passage through the North Fork in conjunction with Clackamas County Service District #1.  Riparian buffer planting efforts will be a major focus in this area in the upcoming years.  If you live in the Deep Creek sub-watershed, call us to see how we can help you!  

For more technical information, you can also read our Deep Creek Fish Passage Barrier Assessment, or visit our interactive tool.

Goose Creek

Unlike Deep Creek directly to the north, Goose Creek flows across a relatively flat, broad terrace that was cut by the ancient Clackamas River. It enters the Clackamas River, just upriver from Barton Park. The soil is composed of unweathered fluvial gravel, sand and silt deposits.

Most of this area small subwatershed is characterized by pasture lands with a small pocket of forested land in the south of the watershed.

You can read more about Goose Creek in our Deep, Goose, Eagle Report, or visit our interactive tool.

Eagle Creek


The headwaters of Eagle Creek flow out of the Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness, an area of Douglas fir, true firs, western red cedar, and western hemlock. Ten miles of trails cut through this wild area, part of a larger 70 mile trail system. The creek then flows through commercial forest and agricultural land before joining the Clackamas.

Eagle Fern County Park near Estacada provides an excellent opportunity to access the creek, picnic under beautiful cedar trees, view fall salmon spawning, and explore a native streamside forest of old growth. For more information on the park, please click here.

A natural heritage of Coho, spring and fall Chinook and steelhead spawn and rear in Eagle Creek. Spring Chinook salmon spawn in the lower reaches while coho and steelhead spawn and rear in streams and low gradient tributaries.

If you're a landowner in the Eagle Creek Basin and you're interested in receiving free trees and invasive species removal, please contact us!  It will be a major focus in the upcoming years.

To read about our Deep, Goose, and Eagle Assesment, please click here, or visit our interactive tool.

Clear Creek

Clear Creek is a main tributary entering the south side of the lower Clackamas River near the town of Carver. Elevations in the Clear Creek watershed range from 4,226 feet on Goat Mountain to 79 feet where Clear Creek joins the Clackamas River near Carver Park. The large range in elevation results in several different ecoregions that range from Prairie Terraces and Valley Foothills in the lower elevations to Western Cascade Lowlands and Valleys in the higher elevations.Description

Cities surrounding the sub-watershed include Estacada and Sandy to the East, and Oregon City and Gladstone to the West. The landscape is diverse ranging from Christmas tree farms to small acreage farms. In the upper watershed on a clear day the vista contains a stunning view of Mt Hood, Mt Adams, Mt St. Helens, and Mt Rainier.

The topography of the Clear Creek watershed is typical of areas within the Willamette Valley and adjacent foothills, with the downstream areas occurring within fluvial deposits from the Missoula Floods,while higher elevation areas are dominated by volcanic geology. The geologic history of the lower Clackamas region over the past 15 million years involves the interaction of volcanic and depositional processes along the border between the Cascade Mountain Range and the Portland Basin.

The Clear Creek watershed contains many types of stream channels with mostly floodplain and moderate gradient channels in the lower watershed and moderate gradient to steep confined valleys predominating in the upper watershed.

Three vegetation types dominate the Clear Creek natural landscape: Western Douglas-fir-Mixed Conifer, Mountain Hemlock, and Ponderosa Pine-White Oak.

Several future projects in the watershed will focus on water quality monitoring, large woody material placement for fish habitat, streamside vegetation planting to improve water quality and cool the water for salmonids and culvert replacement for fish passage. These actions were identified 2002 watershed assessment conducted in Clear Creek, which has proven to be an effective prioritization tool for watershed restoration work.

For information on our projects in Clear Creek see below.

Clear and Foster Creeks Water Quality Snapshot Event June 2003 (PDF 228 KB)

Clear and Foster Creeks Fish Passage Assessment Report (PDF 8 MB)

Clear Creek Watershed Assesment (PDF)

North Fork Clackamas River

The North Fork of the Clackamas River flows from deep canyons and the higher elevations around Squaw Mountain (4,770 ft) to the more gently sloping ridges around its confluence with the Clackamas. The North Fork of the Clackamas River is part of the national wild and scenic river system, designated as a scenic waterway.Description

Summary of USFS Watershed Assessments


Lower Clackamas River

The Lower Clackamas River mainstem is mostly urban, flowing from upriver in Estacada in the south to Happy Valley and Oregon City in the north where it joins the Willamette river.Description

This part of the river is used as a migration corridor and rearing habitat by salmon and steelhead. The loss of side-channel habitat and the narrowing of the channel with dikes and channelization has impacted key habitats for the fish. A recently completed side-channel project just downstream of Barton Park has excavated and re-watered a historic channel. This promises to provide important rearing habitat and refuge for salmon. For more information on this project read more here

Runoff from the urban tributaries of Rick, Richardson and Deep Creeks presents both challenges and opportunities in the lower Clackamas. Although urbanizing, these creeks still have salmon and steelhead, and relatively good water quality. Over 200,000 citizens currently get their drinking water from municipal intakes on this section of the Clackamas River, so what goes into these tributaries can make its way to our drinking water. These lower tributaries are smack dab in the hub of Portland's urban growth expansion and subject to imminent development. As this area urbanizes if proper streamside buffers are kept, and new best practices for reducing impermeable surfaces are implemented, the area could become a model for sustainable development that protects our drinking water and reduces costs and effects of stormwater runoff.

The mainstem of the river hosts a popular fishing and rafting recreation industry. This section of river is also very popular for recreation. McIver State Park and Barton County Parks provide boat launching facilities used by thousands of recreational boaters and anglers.

Vegetation Surveys

  • Knotweed Treatment Focus Area
  • Down the River Cleanup between Barton and Clackamette Parks
  • 3 Stash the Trash sites at Barton Park, Carver Park, and Clackamette Park
  • 3 Water Quality Monitoring Sites

South Fork Clackamas River

Just south and east of Oregon City the South Fork Watershed is characterized by steep rugged terrain ranging from 650 feet at its confluence with the Clackamas River to over 4000 feet. Most of the land lies within the Mount Hood National Forest and is heavily forested with some wetland areas around three small lakes.


Roaring River

The Roaring River Watershed is located in the Clackamas Ranger Distict of the Mt. Hood National Forest 19 miles southeast of Estacada. This remote and relatively pristine Wild and Scenic River and flows through a broad U-shaped glacial plain which narrows as it descends through a spectacular basalt cliff lined gorge near its confluence with the Clackamas at Roaring River Rapids.

The Roaring River area supports a diverse array of habitats including some majestic stands of old growth forest. Elk, deer, bear and the spotted owl make this area home. Many lakes dot the watershed, with extensive associated wetlands. An array of lakes such as Serene Lake, the Rock Lakes, and Shining Lake provide lovely vistas as well as nice catches of trout.

Late run coho, late run winter steelhead and cutthroat trout are native to this river. Late run coho have been proposed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and this particular stock of coho (found in other parts of the Clackamas River as well, particularly in Clear Creek) is considered to be one of two last self-sustaining runs of native coho salmon in the Lower Columbia River Basin.


Great hiking and camping opportunities can be found in this area. Visit the Estacada Ranger Station for maps and information.

Summary of USFS Watershed Assessments

Middle Clackamas River

The Middle Clackamas River is primarily on public land managed by the Mt. Hood National Forest. Characterized by old-growth forests and high quality habitat for both fish and wildlife with some local exceptions. Whitewater and floating enthusiasts, hikers, campers, anglers and equestrians enjoy this area's clear water and excellent scenery. Wildlife, beautiful forests and dramatic 500 foot high basalt cliffs provide a backdrop to a recreational outing on the Upper Clackamas.


Fish Creek


Fish Creek flows into the Clackamas from the west upriver from the town of Estacada. Much like the Collawash and Hot Springs Tributaries to the south the land here is volcanic in origin with deep canyons and elevations that range from 900 feet to over 5000 feet. Following the destructive 1996 floods, the Forest Service decommissioned over 100 miles including the central road system up the creek.

Located in the Mt Hood National Forest, this area is heavily forested with Douglas Fir, western hemlock and western red cedar that provide habitat for a wide variety of animal species

# Summary of USFS Watershed Assessments

Oak Grove Fork Clackamas River

The Oak Grove Watershed lies 75 miles southeast of Portland. It lush forests drains portions of the Cascade Mountains in Mount Hood National Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservations.

An important river for hydroelectric power, one of the most notable features of Oak Grove Fork is Timothy Lake. Built in 1955 the lake covers 1400 acres and is a popular camping and fishing spot in the summer.

Summary of USFS Watershed Assessments


Hot Springs Fork Collawash River

Managed primarily by the Mount Hood National Forest, the Collawash flows through deep basalt canyons on its way to the Upper Clackamas. Alternating between extreme whitewater and deep green pools this part of the river lies in a remote area of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness.

At least a dozen lakes can be found among the peaks and ridges of the surrounding area and a 68 mile trail system winds its way through the old growth Douglas Fir, western hemlock and deserted mine shafts. If you're very lucky you might even spot a Northern Spotted Owl.

In the context of the entire Clackamas River , this portion of the basin is critical for the production of wild fish. Coho, spring Chinook, steelhead and resident cutthroat and rainbow trout spawn and rear in the watersheds of the Collawash and surrounding rivers. Because of the upper basin's importance for wild fish, it is important to restore degraded areas and protect high quality habitats.

The Forest Service is pursuing a comprehensive habitat protection and restoration strategy for the Collawash River, Hot Springs Fork, and other tributaries that flow into the Upper Clackamas River. Current and past restoration actions were primarily focused on the Collawash River and Hot Springs Fork watersheds.

Summary of USFS Watershed Assessments


Collawash River

Running through land Managed primarily by the Mount Hood National Forest, the Collawash River flows through deep basalt canyons on its way to the Upper Clackamas. Alternating between extreme whitewater and deep green pools this part of the river lies in a remote area of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness.

At least a dozen lakes can be found among the peaks and ridges of the surrounding area and a 68 mile trail system winds its way through the old growth Douglas Fir, western hemlock and past deserted mine shafts. If you're very lucky you might even spot a Northern Spotted Owl.

In the context of the entire Clackamas River , this portion of the basin is critical for the production of wild fish. Coho, spring Chinook, steelhead and resident cutthroat and rainbow trout spawn and rear in the watersheds of the Collawash and surrounding rivers. Because of the upper basin's importance for wild fish, it is important to restore degraded areas and protect high quality habitats.

The Forest Service is pursuing a comprehensive habitat protection and restoration strategy for the Collawash River, Hot Springs Fork, and other tributaries that flow into the Upper Clackamas River. Current and past restoration actions were primarily focused on the Collawash River and Hot Springs Fork watersheds.

Summary of USFS Watershed Assessments


Upper Clackamas River

Running through land Managed primarily by the Mount Hood National Forest, the Collawash River flows through deep basalt canyons on its way to the Upper Clackamas. Alternating between extreme whitewater and deep green pools this part of the river lies in a remote area of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness.

At least a dozen lakes can be found among the peaks and ridges of the surrounding area and a 68 mile trail system winds its way through the old growth Douglas Fir, western hemlock and past deserted mine shafts. If you're very lucky you might even spot a Northern Spotted Owl.

In the context of the entire Clackamas River , this portion of the basin is critical for the production of wild fish. Coho, spring Chinook, steelhead and resident cutthroat and rainbow trout spawn and rear in the watersheds of the Collawash and surrounding rivers. Because of the upper basin's importance for wild fish, it is important to restore degraded areas and protect high quality habitats.

The Forest Service is pursuing a comprehensive habitat protection and restoration strategy for the Collawash River, Hot Springs Fork, and other tributaries that flow into the Upper Clackamas River. Current and past restoration actions were primarily focused on the Collawash River and Hot Springs Fork watersheds.

Summary of USFS Watershed Assessments