The Native Fish Society, with the support of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Molalla Riverwatch, is planning to implement one of the high priority design elements of the Molalla River side channel restoration project this summer. The project location will be 2000 feet upstream of FeyerPark.

The project encompasses a large suite of restoration partners working together. This important project wouldn’t be possible without the support of property owners John Dillworth and family, along with Forests Forever. Bob Oblack and Port Blakely are donating all of the logs for the project and financial support has come from the Molalla Riverwatch, Native Fish Society, Molalla River Alliance, and the Zepher Foundation. These partners form the basis of a high functioning partnership that is local and has set their sights on long term success.

Surveys conducted in the summer of 2013 documented 60% of all juvenile Coho rearing in the entire Molalla sub-basin were contained in 17 side channels. In addition, 20% of all juvenile Chinook were rearing in the same side channels. Because the side channels are not connected to the mainstem Molalla during low summer flows they are uninfluenced by elevated mainstem temperatures that exceed 75 degrees annually. Instead, they are fed by groundwater flowing through the deep gravel. These 17 side channels have been identified as the highest priority critical habitats for the young salmon in the Molalla basin for protection and restoration.

We are addressing the side channels in order of importance. The goal of this summer’s project is to extend the longevity of this high priority side channel by using donated logs to build point bar jams at the inlet of the side channel to keep the river from reclaiming it during high flow winter events.
If you are interested in learning more about this project please contact Tom Derry at 503-919-8940 or tom@nativefishsociety.org


Molalla River Petrified Wood

Petrified wood (from the Greek root petro meaning “rock” or “stone”; literally “wood turned into stone”) is a type of fossil that consists of fossil wood in which all the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (most often a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the wood. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen. Mineral-rich water flowing through the sediment deposits minerals in the plant’s cells and as the plant’s lignin and cellulose decay away, a stone mould forms in its place.

Petrified wood can be found in the Wild and Scenic Molalla River Corridor. Look along the banks of the river after winter’s high water lowers and newly exposed riverbanks yield their treasures.

Elements such as manganese, iron and copper in the water/mud during the petrification process give petrified wood a variety of color ranges. Petrified wood can preserve the original structure of the wood in all its detail, down to the microscopic level. Structures such as tree rings and the various tissues are often observed features.

Following is a list of contaminating elements and related color hues:
carbon – black
cobalt – green/blue
chromium – green/blue
copper – green/blue
iron oxides – red, brown, and yellow
manganese – pink/orange
manganese oxides – black/yellow


Enjoying the Molalla River Corridor

Now that the days are longer and warmer many of us are seeking outdoor fun and scenery near home. Our uniquely beautiful Molalla Recreation Corridor provides many opportunities and something for every age and interest.

Two Bureau of Land Management campgrounds recently opened, Three Bears and Cedar Grove. There is no camping fee and a 14-day limit. Water and garbage service are not available, so plan to pack your water in and your garbage out.

Restroom facilities are available and are cleaned daily. Be sure to take your hand sanitizer and practice recommended COVID precautions. There are many day-use sites along the river.

Two BLM corridor hosts, a Clackamas County sheriff and a BLM law enforcement officer, regularly patrol. Traffic has been higher than usual this spring, leading to some serious accidents. The BLM is asking everyone to drive safely and observe the speed limit.

Our non-motorized multi-use corridor trail system is open although some trails may still be muddy from our heavy June rains. Trail maps are available at https://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/files/brochures/Molalla_trails_web.pdf

More current trail maps are available on the MTB Project and Trailforks free apps. {Editor’s note: MTB is an abbreviation for mountain bike}.

Recent rains and warm weather should bring an abundance of wildflowers to the Table Rock Wilderness area. July is the peak season and the meadow at the top of the Rooster Rock trail will have the most spectacular display. Wilderness area maps are available at Maps

So, whether your interests are hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, or sitting by the river skipping stones and contemplating life, please enjoy and treat our local treasure with respect.


The Molalla area has a lot to offer and the gem in its crown is the Molalla River. The River’s headwaters are in the Table Rock Wilderness Area, which features trails ending at Table Rock and Rooster Rock, both with an abundance of summer wildflowers and great views of the Cascade Peaks from the Three Sisters to Mt. Rainier.

Molalla River Watch was formed in 1988 and adopted 12 miles of the upper River. Working with SOLVE, we began twice-yearly river cleanups. Other projects followed such as removal of invasive plants and restoration planting of natives. In 1992 MRW became a non-profit organization, and in 2009 Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Clackamas County recognized Molalla River Watch as the Molalla River Watershed Council.

In 1992 the Salem District Bureau of Land Management completed a land swap with a private timber company and land along both sides of the river, from just above Glen Avon Bridge to Table Rock Wilderness Area, became public land. Shortly after taking over management of the river corridor the BLM began working with Molalla River Watch, local equestrians, and mountain biking enthusiasts to design and build a multi-use non-motorized trail system. Molalla River Watch continues to organize volunteer work parties to maintain, improve and expand the trail system.

In 2016 the Upper Molalla River was designated an Oregon State Scenic Waterway. On March 12, 2019, the Molalla was designated a Federal Wild and Scenic River with the help of local citizens, river organizations, Senators Wyden and Merkley, and Congressman Schrader.

Molalla River Watch is committed to continue working with the cities of Molalla, Canby, Colton, and Mulino, local citizens, as well as our partners, the Molalla River Alliance, Native Fish Society, and Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, to promote respect and understanding of the watershed through education and conservation for present and future generations.

For more information or to find out how you can become involved, please visit our website at molallariverwatch.org