The Siuslaw Stream Team Project provides an ecologically and watershed focused in-class and on-the-ground learning opportunity to the students of the Siuslaw Watershed. Through partnerships with a broad range of community, watershed, and agency natural resource professionals, students learn and participate first hand in on-the-ground restoration efforts within important watershed habitat systems in the coastal Siuslaw region.
Stream Team members actively learn about their watershed through participation in on-the-ground research and restoration projects. They do water quality monitoring, measure stream flows, conduct biological assessments, and participate in restoration projects such as riparian plantings and rearing and releasing coho salmon. In addition, they educate their community about watershed and salmon issues by giving talks on their projects to community and school groups.
The success of this program is important for many reasons. The Siuslaw basin has always been an important watershed for anadromous fish populations. In the past 100 years, we have seen a decline in native salmon, including a 99% reduction in native coho populations. In the past 10 years, the basin and its people have undergone dramatic political, social and economic changes. This area will likely never see the return of the resource extraction dominated economy that provided jobs for students, parents and grandparents. The Stream Team project provides these children with the opportunity to learn about employment options available to them in the natural resource economy. Most importantly, students learn about the watershed in which they live. The understanding and appreciation they gain gives them a sense of stewardship for this watershed, which will lead them to be involved in long-term protection and restoration efforts.