Farmers along the Clackamas River have joined forces with the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District and other water quality groups to work on reducing the flow of pesticides into the waterway. Water quality in the Clackamas is a concern because tests have often found significant, even hazardous levels of pesticide contamination in this drinking-water source.

As point-source discharges, from such as factories and mills, have come under stricter regulation, attention has turned to pollutants from agricultural and urban runoff. Those having a long familiarity with our own Willamette River have seen the effects of the problem. For instance, thirty years ago aquatic vegetation on sloughs and backwaters, such as Salem’s Willamette Slough, tended to be confined to the margins. Now, with runoff from development on South Salem’s hills feeding phosphates and other chemicals into the slough, by mid-summer the waterway is choked with weedy growth. This has impacted species from birds to bryozoa.

Point-source containment was relatively easy, the targets being few and easily identifiable. Non-point source sources are harder to contain. From misguided homeowners association rules, to careless farming practices, the sources are disparate and dispersed.

The Oregonian has more on the simple approach, using windsocks, that may reap significant benefits for the Clackamas: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2014/12/water_quality_groups_team_up_w.html#incart_river

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