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Portland has an amazing array of wildlife for an urban area, and our native species are important to our culture and economy.
Native salmon and trout, some of which are endangered, use Portland waterways on their journey to and from the ocean. They also use many streams to reproduce and grow. Great blue heron, osprey, and bald eagles are commonly seen along the Willamette River in downtown. Some species, such as aquatic insects, are harder to see but are critically important to the food chain.
One of the reasons Environmental Services is working to improve water quality is to protect fish and wildlife, especially the sensitive species that depend on healthy rivers and streams. State and federal regulations for stormwater management are in place to protect humans, fish and wildlife.
Environmental Services monitors birds, fish and macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects and other critters) along streams. These creatures are indicators of overall environmental health, including how well we are managing stormwater. They are “canaries in the coal mine” that can help identify trends in water quality or other issues that may become bigger, more expensive problems if not addressed.
Monitoring data that goes into the Watershed Report Cards includes information about the presence or absence of species, the abundance of populations (how many of a single species are found), and the diversity (how many different species are found). The presence of non-native and invasive species is another important thing we track.
Fish and wildlife cannot survive and thrive without good conditions for the other three watershed health factors: water quality, habitat, and hydrology. Today’s poor scores for fish and wildlife reflect more than 150 years of human impacts on the environment. It may take many years for fish and wildlife scores to improve after we make improvements to the other factors.
See some of the actions we’re taking to improve conditions for fish and wildlife in the city
More information about the city’s stream monitoring program and data
Learn more about the fish and wildlife indicators used in watershed report cards
Learn more about beaver, coyotes, turtles and other wildlife in Portland