Keeping Oregon Rivers Clean by Protecting Salmon

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 10:47 AM


Portland State University was recently awarded the Salmon Safe Campus Certification becoming the first university campus with this distinction. This made me wonder which other areas of Portland had been identified or modified to be safe for salmon.  On the Salmon Safe website (www.salmonsafe.org) I found that in 2008, Portland’s 35- acre South Waterfront became the first urban neighborhood to receive this certification.  Since this area of the Willamette River is known for its past as an area of heavy pollution due to commercial shipping, this distinction is kind of a big deal.  According to this website, the water coming from the South Waterfront is as clean as if no construction or development had occurred in that area.  This area has incorporated green practices into their landscaping and developed bioswales to help clean the water before it reaches the river. 
            The Oregon Convention Center was certified by Salmon Safe in August of 2010 and was the first convention facility to be certified.  The interesting thing about the OCC is that it is continuing to work with Salmon Safe to ensure that its future practices are in keeping with the regulations of this organization. OCC has recently installed new water fixtures that use less water and have developed a system for their rainwater runoff that will take it through a rain garden system to be filtered. They have also reduced their use of pesticides and fertilizers.
             It’s easy to see how Portland State University has made efforts to join these areas and others in being safe for Salmon.  Portland State has a number of eco roofs and rainwater harvesting systems.  Even the new Rec Center is able to maintain the status of  “Green Building” though it contains a swimming pool!  Keeping the salmon in Oregon rivers safe is a big step towards eliminating longstanding polluted areas in these rivers.

For more information, check out Portland State’s Stormwater Management Plan: http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/water

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