Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) is a major contributor to the Oregon Coastal Management Program councils through its funding of Watershed Council Capacity Grants. These grants go to locally organized, voluntary, non-regulatory groups called watershed councils, established to improve the condition of watersheds in their local area.
A watershed council is a group that meets regularly in local communities to assess conditions in a given watershed (usually a river or creek and the lands that drain into them) and to conduct projects that restore or enhance the waters and lands for fish and native plants in their areas. Oregon is one of the few states to have this community-based model – supported by the state and recognized by local governments – to focus on restoring land and water from "ridgetop to ridgetop."
Watershed councils work with local, state, and federal partners and private landowners. Projects include things like replacing culverts to allow for better fish passage or planting shady plants along a creek to keep the water cool enough for fish. Councils are designated by county governments and are expected to have broad and balanced representation and viewpoints.
Watershed councils bring varied interests together to form a common vision for the watershed, prioritize activities, and identify landowner participants for important projects. Many of the threatened or endangered salmonids inhabit coastal watersheds. However, many of the streams have impairments that limit the survival success of salmonids. Coastal Watershed Councils work to identify, prioritize, and develop restoration projects that strive to address limiting factors and aim to help salmon recovery through habitat restoration and enhancement.
Oregon Watershed Councils in the Coastal Zone
To get involved with watershed council activities in your local area, please reach out to the local organizers. This
printable spreadsheet from OWEB contains a list of watershed council names and contact information.
Direct links to the websites of coastal watershed councils are listed below (north to south):