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Ecoregions

Upper Willamette Watershed

In the Upper Willamette Subbasin (4th field watershed) there are four 5th field watersheds: Calapooia River watershed, Long Tom River watershed, Luckiamute River watershed, and the Marys River watershed.

Calapooia

Calapooia

Calapooia River Watershed

The Calapooia runs approximately 70 miles from Tidbits Mountain (elevation 5,185 ft.), down the Calapooia valley, through Crawfordsville and Brownsville, and enters the Willamette at Albany. It was named for the Kalapuya, native culture. Several alternate spellings for Calapooia: Calapooiah, Calapoiah, Calamooga, Calapooya and Calapooigah can be found in early and current records.

Long Tom River Watershed

The headwaters of the Long Tom River originate in the forested Coast Range Mountains and foothills, flow through small farms, ranches, rural and urban areas to Fern Ridge Reservoir, and then through larger farms until it joins the Willamette River.

The Long Tom Watershed includes approximately 410 square miles or 262,000 acres. Land use is: forestry, 45%; agriculture, 30%; rural residential, 9%; urban, 8%; and public 8%. There are approximately 140,000 people living within the watershed boundaries.

Fern Ridge Reservoir, one of the largest in the basin, is a popular sailing site and provides extensive wetland habitat.

Luckiamute River Watershed

The Luckiamute River enters the Willamette River at river mile 108 and drains a 368 square mile watershed. The Luckiamute Basin is bounded by the Willamette River to the east, the crest of the Coast Range to the west, Green Mountain and Marys River to the south, and the Rickreall Creek Watershed to the north. Land surface elevations range from 46 m (150 ft) at the confluence with the Willamette River to 1016 m (3333 ft) at Fanno Peak. The Luckiamute has an average gradient of 3 m/km, a total stream length of 90.7 km, and an average basin elevation of 277 m.

Fanno Ridge separates the watershed into two tributary subbasins, with the Little Luckiamute to the north and the main stem of the Luckiamute proper to the south (Kings Valley). Lower-order tributaries include Boughey Creek, Waymire Creek, Vincent Creek, Plunkett Creek, Woods Creek, Maxfield Creek, and Soap Creek.

Ownership in the basin is mostly private (88.6%); however, the Bureau of Land Management and the State own 4.3% and 6.8%, respectively. The two primary land uses are agriculture and forestry.

Marys River Watershed

The Marys River Watershed encompasses 310 square miles along the east side of the Coast Range in western Oregon. The watershed reaches to the highest point in the Coast Range, Marys Peak, at 4,200 feet elevation. Several headwater streams from the Coast Range merge into the Marys River, which flows into the Willamette River at the town of Corvallis at 250 feet elevation.

The watershed is one of five major river systems that drains the west side of the Willamette River basin. These "west slope" rivers are quite different from the "east slope" rivers of the Willamette Basin with respect to a number of characteristics. The west slope drainages are underlain by older geological formations of a sedimentary origin, whereas east slope drainages are commonly of a volcanic origin.

Forestry is the main land use in the upland zone, mixed agricultural and rural residential are the main land use type in the valley zone. The urban growth boundaries of Philomath and Corvallis represent the urban zone.

About five miles upstream of the mouth, or halfway between Corvallis and Philomath, is the confluence of Muddy Creek and the Marys River. Muddy Creek drains 42% of the entire Marys River Watershed.

Sources

Calapooia Watershed Council

Long Tom Watershed Council

Long Tom Watershed Assessment

Luckiamute Watershed Council

Marys River Watershed Council

City of Corvallis

BLM Marys River Watershed Assessment

Finley Wildlife Refuge

Compiled by John Ame, Science Writer (2007)