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The pride of Oregon is its natural beauty, and in order to protect the serene natural areas of the state, vigilance is required. These organizations specialize in preserving the state's wildlife habitats and natural resources to make sure they're still around for future generations to enjoy.
Five important environmental organizations In Oregon
Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (Ashland): Promoting conservation and protecting habitats in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southwest Oregon and northwest California
Institute for Applied Ecology (Corvallis): Conducts research to improve restoration methods for native species
Friends of the Columbia Gorge (Portland and Hood River): Defending the Columbia River Gorge against urban development
Columbia Riverkeeper (Portland and Hood River): Works to protect and restore the Columbia River from pollution and monitor water quality
WaterWatch (Portland and Ashland): Seeks structural reform to laws in order to preserve rivers to sustain the native fish, wildlife, and people who depend on them
Oregon is known far and wide for its diverse landscape of forests, mountains, and beaches. Nature lovers flock from all over the country to visit the Beaver State's national parks and forests. But these beloved refuges of nature have faced many man-made threats, including overuse, urban development, and climate change. Thankfully, there are many dedicated and persevering organizations working tirelessly in the face of these challenges. Here, in no particular order, are five vigilant groups defending wildlife and natural resources in Oregon.
#1 on our list is the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, also known as K.S. Wild. Since 1997, this nonprofit has worked to protect and restore nature in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southwest Oregon and northwest California. It promotes conservation through both policy and community action, and it is a respected and influential voice on public policy issues facing the management of public lands.
This environmental group focuses on protecting forests, retaining wildlands, preserving clean water, and safeguarding wildlife. In recent years, it has also emphasized preparing the region for the difficulties of climate change. This organization hosts regular hikes and other events to show people of all ages the magnificent biodiversity of the terrain. Aside from supporting the center financially, you can also volunteer in many different ways, including hosting a letter-writing party, leading a hike, and removing invasive plants from public lands.
Up next, in the #2 spot is the Institute for Applied Ecology, with offices in both Oregon and New Mexico. Since 1999, this nonprofit organization has worked to conserve native species and habitats. This group creates and manages habitats for plants and wildlife, and conducts rigorous research to improve conservation and restoration methods. It offers college students and recent graduates internships, and provides educational opportunities for students, teachers, and community members.
The institute's Native Seed Network increases awareness about native plants and provides resources for incorporating native seeds for botanical projects. This nonprofit partners with incarcerated populations to provide unique and meaningful ecological activities with the goal of restoring natural habitats. To support the Institute for Applied Ecology, you can become a member or volunteer on a number of projects, including monitoring rare plants and chaperoning field trips.
In the #3 spot, we have Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a non-profit dedicated to defending the Columbia River Gorge against the threat of urban development. In 1980, it began working to secure federal protection for the spectacular canyon where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade mountains. In 1986, that protection was signed into law and the territory was designated as a National Scenic Area. Today, the Friends continue their efforts to conserve this beautiful, wild landscape.
This coalition works to encourage public ownership of sensitive areas, as well as to acquire critical lands through the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. Each year, it reviews and comments on potential development projects to ensure that development occurs in a responsible manner. To educate the public, this nonprofit leads guided hikes, hosts special events, and provides outdoor youth education programs. To contribute to this group's work, you can donate or volunteer in a variety of ways.
#4 on our list is Columbia Riverkeeper, a nonprofit that works to protect, restore, and care for the Columbia River. Though officially formed in 2000, this coalition is the result of decades of grassroots organizing, with origins in anti-nuclear protests. Today, it utilizes legal and policy change, community organizing, and coalition building to achieve its mission. This group focuses on stopping pollution, fighting fossil fuels, and saving salmon.
This nonprofit pushes for faster and better nuclear waste cleanup for the Hanford Nuclear Site, which runs alongside the Columbia River. It also empowers local communities to care for the river, and it monitors water quality at popular recreation sites along the waterway, and publishes current conditions on an easy-to-use app. On this nonprofit's website, you can donate, or take action by signing one of their many ongoing petitions.
And finally, at #5, we have WaterWatch, which has worked since 1985 to protect and restore Oregon's rivers. This group reforms outdated water laws and policies which fail to meaningfully consider the needs of rivers, fish, wildlife or the public interest in water. It monitors allocation proposals, agency decisions, and actual water use across the state. It also works to minimize the impacts of growth and climate change on Oregon's rivers.
WaterWatch is a leader in one of the most substantial dam removal and river restoration efforts undertaken in the United States. It has been involved in many historic accomplishments, and continues to be a leader in improving water management and river health across the region. If you would like to support this organization, you can become a member, contact your lawmakers, or write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of relevant issues.