First Sampling Efforts Completed

Over the past 4 months, Clackamas SWCD and Molalla River Watch conducted turbidity and bacteria sampling during storm events to get preliminary data to inform further monitoring and outreach to landowners.

We sampled 4 times for turbidity at 18 locations and 3 times at 3 locations for E. coli, choosing sites that would give us a better indication of where sediment and bacteria might be coming from within the watershed. Our goal is to identify where we’ll get the biggest returns for an investment of time and resources when we begin work.

We’ll be processing the data we collected over the next few week and will hold another Technical Advisory Team meeting to have them review findings and determine where additional monitoring could further identify potential sources of sediment, bacteria, and other pollutants of concern.

This is an exciting first step toward working voluntarily with landowners and other water users in the Molalla watershed to ensure there continues to be high quality drinking water for years to come.

Water Sampling to Decide Where to Invest Resources for Drinking Water

One of the challenges we had when developing the Molalla River Drinking Water Plan was a lack of data about where drinking water quality impacts are coming from. We used existing data to identify what the biggest challenges are in the watershed, but most of that data was from the main stem of the Molalla River, which is to say it could be coming from anywhere along the Molalla River and its tributaries.

We have started to sample this fall to more clearly understand where sediment and bacteria might be entering surface water in areas throughout the watershed. We are grabbing samples at 18 sites throughout the watershed at times following larger rain events to see if there is a corresponding flush of sediment to then determine what areas might be contributing more than others. We are also taking samples to detect bacteria at 3 sites to determine where and when there might be issues.

We are looking at sediment and bacteria because we know they are prevalent in the system and causing challenges for treating municipal drinking water. Those challenges are being handled by the municipalities to ensure there is safe and high quality drinking water in the taps. However, there is a cost associated with treatment that users pay in their water bill, and reducing or eliminating pollution sources before they reach the municipal intakes reduces the cost for everyone.

Once we have results from our sampling later this winter, we’ll be able to better understand where we should invest our time and any financial resources we can bring into the community to reduce the presence of these pollutants. We’ll also better understand where additional monitoring might be useful.

Our ultimate goal is to help landowners, homeowners, and land managers in the community understand their role in keeping clean drinking water at the tap through community outreach, providing technical information, and in some cases financial resources as well. By narrowing our outreach to the areas where there is more pollution, we can ensure the the dollars and time we invest are gaining the most benefit for the community.

So if you notice folks on the river bottling water at various sites in the watershed, know we are working to help protect and improve the quality of drinking water at the tap for the 20,000+ consumers who rely on the Molalla River to live, work, and play.

Listen to an Interview About the Molalla River Drinking Water Plan on the “Now Hear This: Canby” Podcast

On July 7, our Molalla Source Water Protection plan author, John Runyon and I were interviewed by Tyler Franke of the the “Now Hear This: Canby” podcast where we discussed the wrap-up of the assessment and plan development phases of the Molalla River Prinking Water Project, and how we’ll transition to implementation.

You can visit the “Now Hear This: Canby” podcast page where at the 15 minute mark of Episode 283 you’ll hear us discuss the assessment, our challenges in completing it , and the outline of our plan to ensure drinking water quality remains high for Molalla, Canby, and Colton residents now and in the future.

After listening, if you find yourself wanting to learn more, please reach out to us on our feedback page. You can also view the Assessment and Source Water Protection Plan of the Assessment page.

Final Draft Assessment and Drinking Water Source Area Protection Plan Presented to Public for Review and Feedback

After two years of work with local residents, land managers, municipalities, community groups, and state and federal agencies, Clackamas SWCD and Cascade Environmental Group are excited to present the final draft assessment and drinking water source area protection plan for the Molalla River. Here’s the video:

This presentation provides an overview of the findings of the assessment and describes describes recommended community actions to ensure continued delivery of high quality drinking water now and into the future.

Once the current assessment efforts are completed on June 30, 2021, Clackamas SWCD will convene members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the broader community to undertake the implementation of recommended actions, which are offered in four two-year phases beginning in 2022 and running through 2029. As better information is gathered through monitoring and analysis, the plan will be modified to better address the challenges in the watershed.

Clackamas SWCD has committed to continued coordination of the TAC, which will meet quarterly to discuss progress and ways to collaborate to address the challenges impacting Molalla River drinking water source area quality. Community engagement and direct involvement will be necessary if the recommended actions in the plan are to be implemented.

The Protection Plan focuses on protecting water before it enters the three municipal water intakes serving the Cities of Canby and Molalla, and the community of Colton. The goal of the project is to keep clean water clean and of high quality for drinking, both now and into the future, by asking funders to invest in the Molalla basin to accomplish planned goals.

Our first chance to bring in resources will likely be for agricultural producers as the grant dollars for the assessment are set up to be followed up with implementation funding if we determine a need and enough interest in water quality projects. Our initial plan is to request funds for agricultural implementation in 2022 after additional data is gathered identify which tributaries are most impactful to drinking water source quality.

If you are considering projects like stream side plantings, irrigation efficiency improvements, or livestock pasture or turnout improvements, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District can discuss how we might be able to help with technical and potentially financial resources. Contact us and we will connect you with one of our conservation planners about your needs.

If you have not already, we encourage you to view the presentation and provide input. We want to be sure we have as broad a range of views about drinking water source quality as possible so that we have the most accurate representation of issues as possible.

The Molalla River Drinking Water Project

The Molalla River Watershed provides water to residents in Colton, Molalla, and Canby.

Clackamas SWCD provides technical advice to landowners in Clackamas County to solve natural resource-related issues and is sponsoring the Molalla River Drinking Water Project.

The Molalla River Drinking Water Project is an effort to better understand issues affecting drinking water quality for approximately 26,000 people whose drinking water is drawn directly from the Molalla River. Project sponsors are seeking input from members of the public about their perceptions of drinking water source quality and issues of concern.

While the project focuses on water entering municipal intakes in City of Canby, City of Molalla, and the community of Colton, it assesses factors across the entire Molalla River watershed above the City of Canby’s water intake that have potential to impact drinking water source quality.

Using National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) grant dollars from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Clackamas SWCD is pairing current and historical information with input from the public, land managers, agencies, and community organizations to tell the story of drinking water quality in the Molalla Watershed. The final report will describe where investment of resources will bring the biggest return for drinking water source quality protection and improvement.

Public Input Sought on Assessment and Action Plan

Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District will host a live online presentation and listening session regarding the final draft of the Molalla River drinking water source quality Assessment and Action Plan on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. over web conference.

Details for the live presentation:

Molalla Drinking Water Assessment and Action PlanLive Online Web Meeting

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85759184409

Meeting ID: 857 5918 4409

Audio by Phone

+1 253 215 8782

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting.

Why Should I Attend This Meeting?

Under the title of the “Molalla River Drinking Water Project”, the Clackamas SWCD has worked over a two-year period to engage with municipalities, agencies, landowners, conservation groups, and community members in the Molalla River watershed. In the process we’ve identified current and potential future issues affecting drinking water source quality and developed related actions to preserve drinking water quality now and in the future.

Both the Covid-19 pandemic and catastrophic wildfires have impacted the outcomes of the effort to assess the watershed. The pandemic made public engagement a challenge, while last summer’s wildfires in the watershed required a rethinking of the timelines and watershed priorities. The final draft includes an assessment of the impact of the fire. This public presentation will allow us to engage the public one last time before the plan is finalized at the end of June. Findings on drinking water source quality and the recommended actions and outcomes will be presented. Feedback from the public will be welcomed.

Additional information about the Molalla River Drinking Water Project:


About the Molalla River Drinking Water Project

Wildfire Resources for Assistance in Wildfire Recovery Efforts

Clackamas SWCD’s outreach staff has put together a list of resources for folks looking for help related to wildfire. Through this list we hope that folks will find the resources they need as the long road to recovery begins for those impacted. The list is being updated as new resources come to light.

Clackamas SWCD’s 2020 Wildfire Resources Article

Planning for Resiliency In Molalla’s Drinking Water System

It’s been difficult to witness all of the devastation happening across Oregon, especially in the forest and rural lands that encompass the Upper Molalla Watershed, and it’s been inspiring to see the community react and work to change outcomes when the threat was most imminent. Our thoughts go out to families in the community impacted by fire and hope that our Drinking Water Source Assessment and Protection Plan can help guide further actions to minimize impacts from this and future events that may put the drinking water systems at risk.

Since we had our last outreach meeting in May, we’ve been working hard to incorporate the input we’ve received from both the public and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) into the Resource Analysis portion of our assessment of the Molalla Drinking Water Source Area. Throughout those discussions we’ve talked about wildfire and its potential for impact to drinking water, but we’ve generally looked at it in terms of future impact as predictions show summer temperatures getting warmer and drought conditions worsening.

The sudden change in the watershed has caused us to dramatically reconsider how we plan to prioritize and recommend actions to address threats to drinking water source quality in our draft Source Water Protection Plan as wildfire and the potential for it to deliver sediment to the drinking water system has become a reality.

We’ve entered the final two phases of the assessment process where we’ll engage the Technical Advisory Committee around a proposed framework to address the threats to drinking water. This analysis will be the foundation of the Source Water Protection Action Plan.

Once completed we’ll be reaching out to the public again for input and to start to identify areas where we might bring funding to address important issues in the watershed. Look for updates in the coming month as we start to complete the plan and work to make changes on the ground.

Recorded Presentation About the Molalla River Drinking Water Project Available for Viewing and Further Comment

Our online presentation and listening session about the Molalla River Drinking Water Project was well attended with over 30 attendees and great discussion about the long term protection of drinking water source quality. Here’s the video:

View the recorded presentation and comment on our feedback page

People shared their concerns and questions about the draft assessment and we’ll take those concerns into our next meeting with our Technical Advisory Team in early June to incorporate into the source water assessment and protection plan.

Our project focuses on water before it enters the three municipal water intakes serving the Cities of Canby and Molalla, and the community of Colton. The goal of the project is to keep clean water clean and of high quality for drinking, both now and into the future. We’ll use the assessment and resulting plan to ask funders to invest in the Molalla basin to accomplish our goal.

Our first chance to bring in resources will likely be for Agricultural producers as the grant dollars for the assessment are set up to be followed up with implementation funding if we determine a need and enough interest in water quality projects.

If you are considering projects like stream side plantings, irrigation efficiency improvements, or livestock pasture or turnout improvements, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District can discuss how we might be able to help with technical and potentially financial resources. Contact us and we will connect you with one of our conservation planners about your needs.

If you have not already, we encourage you to view the presentation and provide input. We want to be sure we have as broad a range of views about drinking water source quality as possible so that we have the most accurate representation of issues as possible.

The Molalla River Drinking Water Project

The Molalla River Watershed provides water to residents in Colton, Molalla, and Canby.

Clackamas SWCD provides technical advice to landowners in Clackamas County to solve natural resource-related issues and is sponsoring the Molalla River Drinking Water Project.

The Molalla River Drinking Water Project is an effort to better understand issues affecting drinking water quality for approximately 26,000 people whose drinking water is drawn directly from the Molalla River. Project sponsors are seeking input from members of the public about their perceptions of drinking water source quality and issues of concern.

While the project focuses on water entering municipal intakes in City of Canby, City of Molalla, and the community of Colton, it assesses factors across the entire Molalla River watershed above the City of Canby’s water intake that have potential to impact drinking water source quality.

Using National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) grant dollars from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Clackamas SWCD is pairing current and historical information with input from the public, land managers, agencies, and community organizations to tell the story of drinking water quality in the Molalla Watershed. The final report will describe where investment of resources will bring the biggest return for drinking water source quality protection and improvement.

Clackamas SWCD Hosts Webinar and Seeks Public Input Regarding Molalla River Drinking Water Source Quality

Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District will host a live online presentation and listening session regarding Molalla River drinking water source quality on Wednesday, May 13th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. over web conference.

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the presentation, after which individuals will be able to provide input. Time will be managed to allow those who want to provide input to do so. The presentation will be recorded for those who are unable to attend and input can be provided here.

Details for the live presentation:

Molalla Drinking Water Study — Public Web Video Meeting, May 13th from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/94736578167

Meeting ID: 947 3657 8167

Audio by Phone (Slides Available for Download)

+1 253 215 8782

The Molalla River Drinking Water Project

The Molalla River Watershed provides water to residents in Colton, Molalla, and Canby.

Clackamas SWCD provides technical advice to landowners in Clackamas County to solve natural resource-related issues and is sponsoring the Molalla River Drinking Water Project.

The Molalla River Drinking Water Project is an effort to better understand issues affecting drinking water quality for approximately 26,000 people whose drinking water is drawn directly from the Molalla River. Project sponsors are seeking input from members of the public about their perceptions of drinking water source quality and issues of concern.

While the project focuses on water entering municipal intakes in City of Canby, City of Molalla, and the community of Colton, it assesses factors across the entire Molalla River watershed above the City of Canby’s water intake that have potential to impact drinking water source quality.

Using National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) grant dollars from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Clackamas SWCD is pairing current and historical information with input from the public, land managers, agencies, and community organizations to tell the story of drinking water quality in the Molalla Watershed. The final report will describe where investment of resources will bring the biggest return for drinking water source quality protection and improvement.

Public Meetings Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Due to concerns regarding novel Coronavirus/COVID-19, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District has decided to cancel both public meetings regarding Drinking Water Source Quality in the Molalla River Watershed.

March 17th 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Cutsforth Thriftway in Canby -cancelled

March 31st 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Molalla Adult Community Center, Molalla- cancelled.

Public meetings may be rescheduled in the future if needed, but Clackamas SWCD is working on alternative methods of both sharing the materials that we planned to present and collecting public input.  This will likely include an online video overview of the project and online forms for submitting comments.

Updates are available on the Molalla River Drinking Water Project website:

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Jason Faucera at jfaucera@conservationdistrict.org or by phone at 503-210-6013.