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Clean Rivers Education – Resources about Watersheds

Photo shows a stream with a beaver dam in the foreground
A watershed is an area of land where all the rain and snowmelt drains to a common body of water such as a river, stream, lake, or slough. People, fish, and wildlife need healthy watersheds to survive. Check out these education resources and learn what we can all do to protect Portland watersheds.

Local Resources


Portland Water Bureau: A Watershed Model Activity(13 min.)
Learn about watersheds and the Bull Run Watershed, Portland's drinking water source with a hands-on activity using crumpled paper.

Virtual Clean Water Festival--Watersheds Lesson (4th grade)
The Virtual Clean Water Festival is a series of water-related lessons is designed to support 4th-grade students in their exploration and understanding of local water resources and systems. In this lesson, students learn what a watershed is and predict how water will flow and collect in a model of a watershed.

Articles and Maps

If You Plant it, They Will Come: Working with Beavers to Restore Habitat
From the 2018 issue of Metro's Our Big Back Yard. Learn how beavers play a big role in watershed restoration.

Portland Watersheds

Portland Harbor Superfund Story Map. Learn about Willamette River history, the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, Tribal narratives, human health, wildlife and plants, clean up areas, environmental justice, and local stories, and how to get involved. This Story Map is hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Watershed Restoration Projects

Remote Media URL

Explore the City's watershed restoration projects and monitoring with this interactive map. 

Riparian Bird Communities in Portland
Birds can be a biological indicator of watershed health. Explore the avian data collected by the Portland Area Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program (PAWMAP).

More Resources


How Nature Makes Clean Water (4 min)
From Nature Conservancy's Nature Lab, this video explores how watersheds benefit people and nature. It also explains how a student-built water garden can demonstrate the filtering power of a watershed. Also check out the accompanying teacher's guide.

Third Grader Explains Nature's Role in Filtering Water (2 min)
From the Nature Conservancy, a third grader gives a tour of a homemade science project that demonstrates the connection between healthy natural lands and a reliable supply of clean water for people.

Mystery Science is a subscription-based online science curriculum. Lessons are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and combine video and hands-on activities, many that can be done at home. Check to see if your district has a subscription!

Background Information and Research

Stroud™ Water Research Center Students can analyze real data on water quality using the Monitor my Watershed application and practice modeling watershed properties with the Model my Watershed tool. Teacher and student curriculum are available for download.