Columbia Riverkeeper, Portland, Oregon Site: Columbia River, Hanford Nuclear Res., Pollution Permits, Volunteer Program Contaminants: heavy metals: mercury, chromium, lead / dioxin, PCB, DDT, TCE, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants
Columbia Riverkeeper's (CRK) mission is to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. To achieve our ambitious goals for the Columbia River watershed and estuary we use an integrated strategy of community-based grassroots organizing, public education, legal enforcement, and hands-on citizen involvement in tangible river protection projects. This multi-faceted model of advocacy is key to addressing the myriad of immediate threats facing the Columbia River.
CRK's Approach to Protecting the Columbia:
Identify the Problem:
Water Quality Monitoring: Over 150 trained CRK volunteers are working to monitor water quality in key salmon habitats on the Columbia River. CRK uses this information to help focus our efforts to solve longstanding pollution problems.
CRK works to train and support a group of Adopt-a-River volunteers who adopt specific sections of the Columbia and tributaries and conduct seasonal habitat assessment, watch out for invasive species, and pick up trash. CRK trains volunteers to identify and respond to pollution or habitat threats, and provides support for site-specific projects.
Restore and Protect Water Quality and Habitat:
Enforcing Water Quality and Wildlife Laws:
CRK uses state and federal laws to protect and improve the water quality and habitat on the Columbia. CRK's uses the law to stop polluters from violating the law, improve water quality and protect at-risk species.
Riverscaping for Clean Rivers:
To help decrease stormwater pollution CRK's Riverscaping Project creates demonstration stormwater control projects, such as infiltration wetlands, and other measures to educate the public, business owners and institutions about practical ways to reduce stormwater pollution.
Protecting Key Habitats:
Through public education, organizing and advocacy CRK works to protect priority habitats in the Columbia River, such as the Columbia Estuary where four industrial LNG mega-ports are being planned which would destroy key wetlands, put communities at risk and threaten salmon.
CRK continues to work to cleanup up radioactive waste leaching into the Columbia River from Hanford and to protect the Columbia from plans to ship 70,000 truckloads of new radioactive waste to Hanford.
Strengthening Water Laws:
Current laws and regulations are not adequate to restore water quality in the Columbia and its tributaries and major loopholes, such as the Toxic Mixing Zone Loophole, continue to allow the dumping of over 100 billion (yes billion) gallons of toxic wastewater into the Columbia each year. CRK is working to educate the public and decision makers about the need to reform these laws and regulations while protecting water quality standards that are protective from attempts to weaken them.