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Navigation Obstructions on Inland Waterways

All outdoor recreational activities include risk, and boating is no different. Every time you step into a boat you accept this.  You reduce this risk by wearing a life jacket and other appropriate safety gear, and learning the basic skill and knowledge to navigate the risks. 

When you take a boat down a river, you offset the increased risk by taking more precautions. SCOUT THE WATERWAY BEFORE running it.  All rivers are dynamic.  Boulders move, trees fall, currents shift, and changing flows can increase or decrease difficulty.
The Marine Board works with local county sheriff's offices to review reported obstructions.   Not every log or snag can be removed due to safety concerns or excessive costs.  If an obstruction creates a serious hazard and cannot be mitigated, the Marine Board may choose to close the waterway to ALL boating.
Also...float toys, air mattresses, inner tubes and many rafts are not designed for use in rivers.  They do not provide adequate flotation and puncture resistance.  Using the right equipment, carrying the right gear, and gaining the necessary knowledge will help ensure your safety on the water.


Contact your local Marine Patrol Office to report an obstruction​

The Marine Board works with local county Sheriff's Offices and the public to report navigation obstructions.  The Marine Patrol will investigate heavily boated areas and make recommendations to the Marine Board for mitigation.  Not every log or snag can safely be removed.  If law enforcement deem a waterway too dangerous for recreational boating, the Marine Director has the authority to close the waterway to boating. 


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Notice to Mariners

Weekly Notice To Mariners -U.S. Coast Guard District 13


Notice -Issued March 2, 2011
WARNING TO: U.S. Registered Yachts and Sailing Vessels
Marad Advisory (2011-05) to Mariners: Risk to Vessels Transiting High Risk Waters

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Coastal Bar Web Cams & Bar Restrictions

NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard now have coastal bar web cams and bar conditions/restrictions for the following locations:

  • Columbia River -Cape Disappointment, WA
  • Tillamook Bar
  • Depoe Bay Bar
  • Yaquina Bay Bar
  • Siuslaw Bar
  • Umpqua Bar
  • Coos Bay Bar
  • Chetco Bar

Bar Camera Images and Latest Observations

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Statewide Valley Rivers and Bays

SAFETY FIRST...Scout the River Before Launching
Watch for trees, root wads and snags, floating debris and other hazards.  Remember, rivers are dynamic, meaning they are constantly changing depending on rain, snow melt, erosion, and other factors.  Boaters should expect log jams, and other obstacles (in conjunction with deviation from normal river patterns) and need to know what to do when they encounter hazards to protect property and lives.
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Rivers with Consistent Naviation Obstructions

Some of Oregon's rivers are prone to natural navigation obstructions based on the topography and geology of the water basin.  
The hazards listed on this page will list rivers that have consistent log jams, strainers, or debris. 
The Marine Board works with local law enforcement marine deputies to identify obstructions and who will then name the obstruction based on:
  1. Waterbody
  2. Proximity to known landmarks vs. river miles
The Marine Board will then use these names to correlate onto maps for perspective.
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McKenzie River System

McKenzie River - just below the Frissell Bridge, reported 9/18/14 A large tree has fallen, spanning the McKenzie River, about 500 yards below the Frissell Boat Launch. Please scout the river and use extreme caution in this area as river levels may fluctuate.  Signs have been posted at sites upriver of the obstruction.  The Forest Service is evaluating options for mitigation and will keep us advised. 
UPDATE: 10/1/14The tree was not topped, hwever; there is an opening on the river-left for drift boat traffic.  Signs at the nearby boat ramp will remain in place so boaters are aware the tree will be there until high water moves it downstream. 

McKenzie River, 1/2 mile above Hendricks Park -Reported 8/11/14Location: 44.3.18'N, -122.48.32'W

Drift boaters need to keep a sharp lookout for this obstruction.  The current and existing water levels are taking drift boaters directly into the fallen spruce tree on river right heading downstream.  Safe portage is possible.  The Lane County Marine Patrol are working on a mitigation plan. 

McKenzie River at Eagle Rock - Reported 5/16/13
Location: 44.10.7197'N, -122.42.9308'W

A tree from the hillside has fallen into the river and is protruding into the river from the left bank.  Presently there is sufficient water to safely negotiate around it, but boaters are advised to use caution as water levels change.  Forest Glen and Finn Rock boat launches upstream have been posted with information signs.  Lane County Marine Patrol is monitoring the obstruction and will keep us advised.


McKenzie River Below Leaburg Dam -Reported May 15, 2012A large boulder is in the middle of the only chute/pathway directly below the boat slide downstream of the Leaburg Dam.  Multiple boulders have migrated into this channel, lodging the largest one.  As the water level drops, boaters can easily capsize when attempting to use the slide.  Lane County Marine Patrol Deputies are assessing the hazard and will advise how boaters can successfully navigate the hazard or how it can be mitigated.
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Santiam River System

North Santiam River by Stayton (Garen) Island above Stayton - Reported 9/25/14Water hydraulics and overhanging branches are making the north channel of the North Santiam River around Stayton (Garen) Island dangerous to paddle craft and small boats. The hazardous area is approx. 1-2 miles above the Stayton Bridge.  Users are advised to take the south channel.  Signs are being posted at upstream launch points and Marion County Marine Patrol is assessing mitigation options.  Please use extreme caution in this area.​

North Santiam River between Buell Miller Boat Launch to Jefferson - Reported 7/19/14

This stretch of river contains a gauntlet of obstructions -strainers, log jams and other debris.  Because of the extensive channel braiding, knowing which channel is clear is difficult to determine without scouting from the shoreline first.  The area is surrounded by private land.  The Marine Board recommends finding an alternate location to boat.

Turner Man Drowns After Canoe Flips in Santiam River -Statesman Journal

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Siltcoos River

Above Lodge Pole Day Use Area

Near Siltcoos Road west of the work center.  A tree fell across the river last summer, landing in the Lodge Pole day use area.  Boaters are advised to use extreme caution when navigating around the obstruction.  It has been reported that kayakers are passing through it without issue.

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Umpqua River System

North Umpqua below Soda Springs Dam - Reported January 31, 2014
 & Updated on March 6, 2014

A large tree is blocking passage of the river just below Soda Springs Dam, above Boulder Flat, but is also upstream of the Boulder Creek Boat Ramp.  The Forest Service posted signs in the undeveloped locations alerting boaters to the obstruction.  Forest Service representatives report that the intention is to leave the tree in-place since it's location is in the Boulder Creek Wilderness and managed for primative recreation.    


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Willamette River System

Middle Fork Willamette River above Fall Creek confluence - Reported 12/18/14

​A large tree has fallen and created a total blockage of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River just above the confluence of Fall Creek.  Portage around the obstruction in difficult. Upstream ramps have been posted, but blockage may shift with changing water levels so extreme caution is urged.  Lane County Marine Patrol is monitoring the situation and determining mitigation options. 

Middle Fork Willamette River at Black Canyon Camp Ground - Reported 9/22/14
Location: 43.781691,-122.533278

A large fir tree has fallen bank to bank on the left channel of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, completely blocking the channel.  River right channel is passable for kayaks. Upstream ramps have been posted about the obstruction.  A section of the tree has been cut to allow for non-motorized passage.






Willamette River at Wallace Marine Park -Salem -Reported 5/30/14

This submerged tree was first reported in the winter, and it was hoped that high water flows would transport the obstruction downstream or to the shoreline.  It hasn't budged.  Polk county Marine Patrol also report a submerged vehicle in the vicinity, and have marked it with a cautionary buoy







Willamette River at Railroad Bridge South of Harrisburg - Reported 11/19/13

Warning: High water levels and low clearance under the temporary work bridge at the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge (approx. RM 163) just south of Harrisburg may create an unsafe condition on the river.  
If the water river gauge is 6 feet or higher at Harrisburg, the bridge is impassable.
Please monitor river levels and use extreme caution in this area.  Check the Harrisburg gauge here: Harrisburg River Gauge

Willamette River Above Ferrin Campground - Reported 3/18/13

A large cottonwood tree has fallen across the across the channel to boater's right above the Ferrin Campground.  Please avoid using the right channel until the obstruction can be mitigated.  Oregon State Police troopers have posted the launches above the site and will work with US Forest Service personnel on removal efforts.





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Health Advisories

Blue-Green Algae Advisories
When are advisories issued?
The Department of Human Services Public Health office of Environmental Toxicology evaluates bluegreen algae test data to determine whether algal blooms present hazards to animals or human beings. DHS does not have resources to collect or test algae samples, but DHS often receives reports of testing done by private contractors, researchers or other government agencies. How long do advisories last?
Dangerous algal blooms may develop and disappear within a matter of days, or they may continue for weeks or months. The longest advisory period for any water body in Oregon to date began in early June and lasted into late November. The intensity of the bloom and the concentrations of toxin in a water body are not uniform. Often thealgaes are most dense around the edges of the water body, but wind or water currents may change the location of affected areas very quickly.

Usually a dangerous bloom is associated with a distinctbluegreen color and cloudiness in the water. Algal blooms often produce large floating masses of green, yellow or bluish green slime. Visibly affected water should be avoided whether or not there is an official advisory in place.
Blue-Green Algae Health Concerns in Oregon- frequently asked questions about blue-green algae

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Caution Urged for Dory Boats and Surfers

Cape Kiwanda

The Dorymen's Association and local surfers are working together on solutions to prevent
accidents on Cape Kiwanda.  Tragedy hit the Pacific City cove on July 6, 2008 when a young surfer was seriously injured when a dory boat prop struck him.
Improved signage, better coordination between user groups and partnerships with local business to help distribute brochures with safety messaging have been developed to improve safety.  

Local users know the risks of being on the beach.  The Dorymen's Association and local surfers want to help educate and inform vacationers and out-of-towners (beach combers, kayaks, swimmers, waders, kite surfers, etc.) about the dory boat launching/beach landing, and being more aware of beach safety.  Both groups want to help make the beach safe for everyone, and not impose regulations that prohibit any user group from doing what they enjoy.
For more information about the Dorymen's Association, visit:  www.pcdorymen.com

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North Santiam River Report

 The North Santiam River Guides Assiciation offers a monthly river report with information about the best channels to drift, areas that might get less experienced boaters into trouble, as well as how the fish are biting! It's a great resource for all boaters.
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Tualatin River

The Tualatin Riverkeeper reported seven separate log jams to the Washington County Marine Patrol who forwarded the information to the Marine Board. 

The log jams are in the following locations along the Tualatin River:

Click on the coordinates above for an aerial view of the navigation obstruction.

In all of these log jams, law enforcement report that boaters cannot safely navigate around the obstruction and portage may not be possible.  In many of these log jams, there's a large volume of trees.  Boaters are urged to plan ahead and avoid these areas.  As the water levels continue to drop into the summer, these logs won't be going anywhere. 


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