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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Benefits of Healthy Watersheds

Healthy watersheds offer many benefits.Link to Portland's watershed map

Portland’s goal is to improve the health of our urban rivers, streams and watersheds. Even in a big city, it's possible to have a healthy environment for people, fish and wildlife. 

Parks, natural areas and green spaces in all neighborhoodsPhoto of tree canopy

Benefit:Trees, shrubs and plants help soak up the rain. They add value to our neighborhoods and cool and filter the air, which helps us save on energy costs and healthcare. Portland’s tree canopy provides over $38 million each year in environmental benefits.

Healthy streams, rivers and sloughs

Photo of Johnson Creek confluenceBenefit:Streams that flow naturally and have good water quality are better for people, fish and wildlife.

Thriving salmon populations

Photo of salmon in streamBenefit:Portland is a key location where salmon migrate, rest, spawn and mature in many of our waterways before continuing to the ocean or returning to other streams in the Willamette basin. Healthy habitat and improved water quality will make sure salmon are here for future generations.

Photo of Oregon Oak tree against gray skySafe and resilient neighborhoods

Benefit:As the climate changes, healthy urban forests, floodplains and wetlands help protect our homes and businesses from damaging floods and fires, and increased air temperatures.

Places for fish, birds and other wildlifePhoto of bee on ecorof

Benefit:Even in the city, it’s important to have networks of habitat with food and refuge for fish and wildlife. Our parks, natural spaces, trees and even gardens help support a wide variety of wildlife, from herons and beaver to hummingbirds and pollinating insects.  

Photo of green street constructionProtected infrastructure investments

Benefit:Managing rainwater with natural approaches, and protecting our streams and hillsides from erosion and landslides, can cost less and protect the investments we make in sewer pipes, roads and bridges.

Photo of people paddling on the Columbia SloughPlaces for people to access nature

Benefit:Healthy rivers and natural areas provide places for people to play outside, exercise and enjoy nature. Studies show that access to nature in the city improves physical and mental health.

Photo of Veterans CreekGroundwater recharge

Benefit:When rainwater soaks into the soil, it replenishes groundwater. Groundwater is the underground water supply that keeps our streams flowing in the summer when it’s hot and dry.