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What is Watershed Resilience?

This term refers to the ability of a watershed to resist and recover from disturbances to remain in its normal state. Some examples of disturbances to a watershed include drought or excessive nutrient runoff. A resilient watershed has the ability to stabilize itself after these events occur, and continues to provide essential functions to the ecosystem. Disturbances are expected to become increasingly relevant due to human impacts like climate change. It is essential that waterways like the Tualatin are resilient in the face of these changes for the sake of the organisms that depend on it.

In order to have a resilient ecosystem, we also need a resilient community. Our advocacy team works to create a more equitable, just, and inclusive community through our events and outreach. Through education, we hope to provide resources that empower the community to learn about environmental issues and have the tools to address them.

Watershed Resilience Goals

  1. Widely distributed tree canopy throughout the watershed.
  2. Functional wetlands that provide ecosystem services, including natural water filtration, fish habitat, and floodplain.
  3. Healthy habitats for riparian species, including connectivity for native plants, fish, birds, and mammals.
  4. Sustainable land use, agricultural and forest practices with limited pesticide use.
  5. Sustainable and resilient water supply that is resistant to drought.
  6. Limited pollutant load entering watersheds, including persistent organic pollutants (POPs), plastics, etc.
  7. Equitable access to Tualatin River and its tributaries for all communities.
  8. Mapping out demographics and watershed concerns, including erosion, tree cover, land use, and distribution and connectivity of riparian species.

Current Projects

Cooper Mountain Nature Park

Tualatin Riverkeepers supports the expansion of the Cooper Mountain Nature Park and is working to advocate for this in the planning of future development in the area.

River Runners

The River Runners is a volunteer group at Tualatin Riverkeepers who are our eyes on the river. They gather information on current threats to the health of the Tualatin, including potential invasive species, agricultural runoff, pollution, and erosion concerns. If you are interested in becoming a River Runner volunteer, please reach out to

North Fork Gales Creek Landslide

Landslide events in early 2022 have caused increased turbidity in the North Fork of Gales Creek. More information coming soon!

Balm Grove Dam Removal

The process of removing the Balm Grove Dam will begin later this summer. This will allow fish such as lamprey to once again migrate upstream from the Dam. Our advocacy team is pushing for the area to once again be a public access site to the river.

Learning Resources

Tree Canopy

What are the benefits of trees in watersheds? How can this be quantified? This link will take you to the Treekeepers' website with specific information on the benefits of trees.


What are the benefits of wetlands? Click this link to learn what benefits wetlands provide.

Sustainable Land Use

About 35% of the Tualatin basin is made up of agricultural land. The management of agricultural runoff and waste is important to keeping the waters clean. See this link for management suggestions on mud, manure, and pastures.

Native & Invasive Species

Invasive plant species can crowd out natives and remove vital habitat for other organisms. Plant native species to encourage a healthy ecosystem.

River Friendly Garden Tips

Yards and gardens can be utilized to grow healthy food, create a cooling effect, and cultivate healthy soils. A pesticide-free yard is key to protecting wetlands, streams and rivers. Find out ways to manage pests without pesticides.

The Dangers of Pesticides

Pesticides contain dangerous chemicals that are not only environmentally harmful but can also cause health issues for humans. This link will provide more information on what to do if you are exposed to pesticides and become sick.

Salmon in the Tualatin

A few salmonid species live in the Tualatin Watershed, including Coho and Steelhead. The Department of State Lands has an essential habitat map for salmonids that shows the salmonid species that occupy waterways across the country. Zoom in on the area West of Portland and look at what type of species are found here.

Fast Facts About the Tualatin River