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North Santiam Watershed

Pouring off the slopes of Mt. Jefferson (elevation 10,497 feet), the North Santian subbasin drains approximately 766 square miles in area and runs 92 river miles to the Willamette. Historically, this watershed provided a majority of the winter steelhead production and about 1/3 of the spring Chinook salmon production in the Willamette Basin. Although the river is very healthy overall, it is listed on the Clean Water Act 303 (d) list for summer temperatures exceeding standards.

The watershed is characterized by steep forested uplands and flat alluvial lowlands. It is home to Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both federally threatened species. The river supports the communities of Jefferson, Stayton, Lyons, Mehama, Mill City, Gates, Detroit, and Idanha.

Detroit Dam and Big Cliff Dam provide flood control and hydropower. Detroit Dam (463 feet tall) impounds Detroit Lake, a major recreational area.


North Santiam Watershed Council

A Natural History of Breitenbush (a watershed of the North Santiam)

City of Stayton

Compiled by John Ame, Science Writer (2007)