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County Water Stories

Number of counties:



Baker County is located in a region with various complex water issues that affect its environment and community. The county is home to the Burnt River and the Powder River, two large tributaries that play a significant role in the county's sociohydrology.


Home to acres of agricultural farmland, peaks overlooking the glorious Willamette Valley, and one of the top universities in Oregon, Benton County is a place many are proud to call their own.


Clackamas County is known for its agriculture, timber, manufacturing, and commerce. The largest bodies of water in the county are the Willamette River, Clackamas River, and Bull Run Lake. The Native American nations that assert interests on this land are the Clackamas, Siletz, Grand Ronde, Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes.


Clatsop County is a coastal county in the northwest corner of Oregon, with a population of about 41,000 people. It is home to the historic city of Astoria offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean .


Columbia County, specifically Clatskanie and the areas surrounding it, is known to have higher levels of precipitation than other locations in Oregon due to the geography of the land. Landslides and plant failures have caused issues with water safety and accessibility. The state is working on finding solutions to ensure traveler safety and to protect the local economies, but more long-term sustainable solutions are needed.


The Coos watershed basin covers an area of 610 square miles, which includes all the land and water that flows into the Coos estuary and, ultimately, into the Pacific Ocean. In addition, there are two other watersheds in the Coos County area, namely the Tenmile Lakes watershed and the Coquille watershed, which also drain into the Pacific Ocean.


Crook County in central Oregon is home to the Ochoco National Forest, the Crooked River, and several projects for managing water resources for humans and the environment. The City of Prineville has recently been named one of the best in the US for nature-based solutions to wastewater treatment. But in the north, people have been noticing elevated manganese in their drinking water. In the east, mega-giants Meta and Apple operate data centers in the area, despite being one of the driest counties in the state that experiences multi-year severe droughts.


There is a local phenomenon called “the Chetco effect” which occurs when warm inland air blows down the Chetco River to the City of Brookings, warming up the temperature. Water resources in the area include: Pacific Ocean, Chetco River, numerous creeks and drainways, and the Ferry Creek Reservoir. Some issues related to water include water safety, fishing regulations, invasive species, drought, unusual high tides, and flooding.


The largest body of water in Deschutes County is the Deschutes River which runs over 252 miles and serves as the main tributary of the Columbia River, it sources from Little Lava Lake and flows through major cities of Bend, Redmond, and Sunriver supplying drinking and recreational water.


Douglas County is located in SW Oregon and occupies an area of 5,035.7 square miles making it the 5th largest county in Oregon by land area. It was formally established in 1852 and promptly named after U.S Senator Steven A. Douglas of Illinois (Democrat) who was a strong supporter of Oregon statehood. The entirety of the Umpqua River Watershed lies within its borders.


Gilliam County is the third least populated county in Oregon, with an estimated 2,031 residents in 2023. The water issues surrounding Gilliam County pertain to radioactive waste and mercury dumping in the Columbia River, drought-induced katydid invasion, and wildfire risks.


Grant County has had a relatively small population of about 7,170 residents since 2023, making it the fourth least populous county in Oregon. Grant county’s water issues include drought, wildfires, winter storms, floods, road degradation, invasive species in Malheur National Forest, and the Rainbow gathering.

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