The Nehalem Bay Watershed Council is dedicated to the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the Nehalem Watershed through leadership, partnership, and education.

We work with landowners, private companies, local, state, and federal agencies, and the community to restore and enhance habitat for fish and wildlife. 

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watershedS and
Watershed councils

Watershed councils are locally organized, voluntary, non-regulatory groups established to improve the condition of watersheds in their local area.  

Watershed councils are required to represent the interests in the basin and be balanced in their makeup.

Watershed councils offer local residents the opportunity to independently evaluate watershed conditions and identify opportunities to restore or enhance the conditions.

Through these councils, partnerships between local, state and federal agency staff, residents, and other groups can be developed.

We invite anyone interested in being more involved with the NBWC to attend a meeting and to apply to join the board. To do so please contact us!

Watersheds, also known as drainage basins, are land areas that channel rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and rivers, and eventually to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays, and estuaries.

• Bays are broad coastal indentations in the shoreline that open into the ocean or a lake. They are often calmer than the surrounding sea, providing a safe harbor for marine life.Estuaries are dynamic environments where a river meets the sea, mixing fresh water with saltwater.

• Estuaries are known for being highly productive ecosystems, serving as nurseries for many marine species.

Management of watersheds is essential for the protection and sustainability of bays and estuaries. This includes monitoring water quality, managing land use, and restoring natural habitats to maintain the balance of these interconnected ecosystems.

The relationship between watersheds and these coastal features is critical for several reasons:

• Water Flow: The watershed determines the amount and timing of fresh water that flows into bays and estuaries. This flow can influence the salinity, temperature, and clarity of the water, which are all important factors for the ecosystems that thrive there.

• Nutrient Delivery: Watersheds are a source of nutrients that can be beneficial or detrimental to bay and estuary health. While nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are essential for the growth of aquatic plants and phytoplankton, too much nutrient input due to runoff from agriculture or urban areas (eutrophication) can lead to algal blooms and dead zones.

• Sediment Transport: Sediment carried by rivers can be deposited in bays and estuaries, influencing their depth, water quality, and the types of habitats available. Sediments can carry pollutants, but they also contribute to the formation of important features like mudflats and salt marshes.

• Pollutant Filtration: Natural processes in watersheds, such as percolation through soil and uptake by plants, can filter out pollutants before they reach sensitive bay and estuary environments. However, when these systems are overwhelmed or bypassed, pollutants can degrade water quality and harm aquatic life.

• Biodiversity Support: The health of a watershed directly affects the biodiversity within bays and estuaries. A healthy watershed supports a diversity of habitats upstream, which can benefit the entire food web.

• Flood Mitigation:
Watersheds play a role in flood control by capturing and slowly releasing water. Changes in land use within a watershed, like urbanization, can lead to increased runoff and a higher risk of flooding in downstream bays and estuaries.

Partners & Community



Agriculture is an important piece of the economy in the Nehalem Watershed. Access to water is critical for crops, livestock, and for fish.

Additionally, both agricultural properties and essential fish habitat often overlap.

The Nehalem Bay Watershed Council works with willing agricultural producers to improve fish habitat on their properties and meet the needs of their businesses.

Industrial Timber

The majority of the Nehalem Bay Watershed Council’s coverage area is managed for timber products. This provides ample opportunities to collaborate on replacing culverts that act as barriers to fish migration and to add logs back into streams to improve habitat complexity.

The NBWC is very grateful to have good working relationships with many of the timber producers in the Nehalem Watershed.


The Nehalem Bay Watershed Council partners with other non-profit organizations throughout the watershed.

These collaborations include technical assistance for habitat restoration, collaboration on action plans, educational events, and more.

Likewise, many of these organizations provide technical support to the NBWC.


Rural residential properties are spread out throughout the Nehalem watershed. Homeowners often don’t have access to the resources for managing erosion, replacing culverts, controlling invasive plants, and more.

The NBWC works with interested landowners to both improve habitat on their lands and to help meet landowner’s goals for their property. 

Upcoming Events

Join up, learn, AND help

Archive of Speakers
Watch and listen

Volunteer EVents & Speaker Series

Living and Working with beavers for Salmon

Oct 12, 2023 2:00 PM

Process Based Riverscape Restoration

Apr 13, 2023 2:00 PM

Hide and Seek: Environmental DNA for Pacific Lamprey Conservation

Nov 10, 2022 3:00 PM

Trees to Tap: A Review of Forest Practices and Drinking Water in Oregon

Apr 14, 2022 3:00 PM

Marine Heatwaves and their Effects on Coastal Fishes

May 12, 2022 3:00 PM

Chinook Rearing in Nearshore Sandy Habitats

Feb 10, 2022 3:00 PM

Restoring Sea Otters to the Oregon Coast

Oct 14, 2021 3:00 PM

Connecting Oregon Lamprey with Oregonians

Nov 12, 2020 5:00 PM
Benjamin Clemens (ODFW)

Donations to the Nehalem Bay Watershed Council support our work building partnerships and developing then implementing habitat enhancement projects throughout our coverage area.

To support the NBWC click the donate button below or contact us about ways to be involved.