The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to dredge and deepen the river here, disturbing rich wetlands where migrating salmon make the transition between saltwater and fresh, and where eagles gather to feed on them. This plan should be shelved and damaged wetlands reclaimed through restoration.
The mouth of the Columbia River was the western-most terminus of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The party arrived on what is the now the Washington state side of the river in early November, 1805. With much excitement, Clark wrote in his journal, "Ocian in view! O! the joy."
The good news is that water is still flowing to the ocean through this dynamic, biologically rich area. The bad news is that the Port of Portland is aggressively pursuing a deepening program that would change the depth from 40 to 43 feet. The threat is that the Corps of Engineers wants to allow bigger ships to carry loads up the river.
What you can do: Get involved with the Sierra Club and Save Our Salmon as they mount an effort to stop the deepening project. Contact Paul Shively at email@example.com or (503) 243-6656.
Photo courtesy Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership.