Travis Williams, the executive director of Willamette Riverkeeper, thinks the Willamette River has become too straight and too simple. He says that it’s time to reconnect the Willamette River with its traditional floodplain. According to Williams, changes would benefit sensitive species by increasing habitat. He says that people can benefit from the changes, too. That’s because increasing the ground area available to a river can mitigate the effects of extreme flooding.
But some farmers with frontage on the Willamette don’t like the idea of retangling the river. Randy Henderson, the owner of Thistledown Farm, says that this will result in lost farmland. And with increasing pressure on farms to give way to development, it’s a sensitive subject.
If the river returned to a more natural state with backwaters and channels, how would it affect you? Would you be willing to sacrifice farmland for floodplains?
- Travis Williams: Executive Director, Willamette Riverkeeper
- Randy Henderson: Owner, Thistledown Farm