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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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Clackamas River

Clackamas River - RM 9 - Reported 7/11/13

A tree has fallen into the river at approximately river mile 9 and branches are posing a hazard to boaters.  Boaters are able to safely navigate around the obstruction but are urged to use extreme caution.  Clackamas County Marine Patrol officers are assessing the situation and working with contractors on the removal. 

Fallen tree trapping rafts on Clackamas -KATU TV -reported 7/9/13 

Close call on the same tree as reported by KATU TV -reported 7/14/13


Clackamas River Upstream of Carver Boat Ramp - Reported 5/24/13

Three trees have fallen into the Clackamas River, just upstream from the Carver Boat Ramp.  The trees fell together with the majority of the trees underwater - the base and tops remain visible and are a strainer hazard.  Clackamas County Marine Patrol Officers are monitoring the situation and will keep us posted on mitigation efforts.  Boaters are urged to use extreme caution in this area.

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McKenzie River System

McKenzie River at Eagle Rock - Reported 5/16/13
Location: 44.107197'N, -122.429308'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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Rogue River System

Above Shady Cove -reported 6/15/12

UPDATE - A private contractor removed what they could and removed approximately 85% of the obstructions just above Shady Cove.  Kayaks, rafts, and inflatable craft can easily become entrapped and several have already been witnessed by a local homeowner.   

"Strainer Alert -Marine Officers say an unusual number of boating obstructions have appeared on the upper Rogue River," by Mark Freeman, Medford Mail Tribune, Friday, August 3, 2012  



Downstream of the old "Gold Ray Dam" Site 
From the Medford Mail Tribune: Paul Prince of Sacramento runs a pontoon boat through the newly formed rapid directly below what was once Gold Ray Dam. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch 
While the removal of Gold Ray Dam has eliminated a major navigational barrier from the Rogue River, the general public might want to avoid floating that stretch right now.
The dam's demolition has created a nasty little rapid on the river's north side just downstream of the old dam. With rocks and logs in precarious places and little room for maneuvering, it is not recommended for casual or lightly experienced boaters, especially those in drift boats. 
Since a boating ban was lifted on this stretch Oct. 15, most drift boaters have chosen to walk or line their boats through the shallow and rocky south side and away from the main rapid. The current low releases from Lost Creek Lake make the rapid even tougher. Upcoming high-water events will give the entire reach a new identity.
"Winter is going to change things, and quite dramatically," says DanVanDyke, fish biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Rogue District.
— Mark Freeman 

(Right: A picture provided to OSMB from Mike Cooley and the drift runA good run for driftboats -per the Rogue River Steelheaders that is the safest through the old Gold Ray Dam.)

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Santiam River

N. Santiam River near Talbot Rd S, Jefferson - Reported 07/01/13

A log jam has formed approx. half a mile downstream of the RR trestle on the N. Santiam River in Jefferson, just south of Talbot Rd. S and the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.  Marine Patrol officers have cleared branches and trimmed trees so that passage is possible for jetboats and kayaks, but may still pose a risk for floaters or those with limited steering capability.  Site lines are good and safe portage is possible.  Please use caution and scout the area.
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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

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.





Norwood Island on the Willamette River, Benton County


Reported 4/22/12 by Benton County Marine Patrol and again on 6/19.  Debris is accumulating on an old, derelict bridge at RM 149 near Norwood Island in the west channel, south of the confluence of the Long Tom River.  The blockage is around a river bend and isn't easy to see until the boater is too far into the channel. The water is swift and no safe portage or bank to exit onto.

Benton County Deputies placed a warning sign at the entrance to the west channel of this blockage.

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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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