CORVALLIS - From nature walks to beach cleanups, activities all over Oregon are planned to call attention to the state's water resources during Oregon Watershed Weeks, Sept. 4 through Oct. 10.

More than 75 water-related events are already planned and more are in the works as part of a five-week celebration of water, watersheds and water conservation. Oregon borrowed the idea from its neighbor to the north, where Washington Waterweeks is an annual, statewide event involving many public and private groups.

Oregon's celebration - its first - ties together the state's annual fall beach cleanup, Oct. 2, with dozens of new activities planned by local watershed councils, conservation groups, schools, exhibit centers and other organizations.

"With the current focus on watershed health and salmon listings under the Endangered Species Act, the timing was right to create our own celebration on this side of the Columbia River," said Oregon State University's Paul Heimowitz, Oregon Watershed Weeks coordinator and Extension Sea Grant's aquatic ecosystem health educator.

"Oregon Watershed Weeks will not only give people more opportunities to enjoy our state's waters, but will also help raise awareness and interest about how to take care of our watersheds and the fish that live in them."

Activities include:

  • Displays and lectures at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the High Desert Museum in Bend;
  • Nature walks, stream cleanups and educational activities in dozens of watersheds around the state;
  • Urban water conservation workshops in Portland
  • Cruises along the Oregon coast
  • Family-oriented water fairs at several locations.

Watershed Weeks event guides, listing activities by geographic region, are available through local offices of the OSU Extension Service, public libraries and at other community locations. The guide, which also features an introduction by Gov. John Kitzhaber and tips for protecting water resources, is also available online.

Copies may be ordered, toll-free, by calling 1-888-854-8377.

Oregon Sea Grant, the OSU-based marine research, outreach and education program, organized this year's Watershed Weeks with support from the PGE-Enron Foundation, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Metro, Portland Water Bureau, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, For the Sake of the Salmon, Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, John Inskeep Environmental Learning Center, OMSI, and Portland State University Center for Science Education.

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Paul Heimowitz, 503-722-6718