Water Resources

Willamette Falls

There are many water resources within the city. These areas provide important benefits, from wildlife habitat to recreation. As the city grows it is ever more important to protect these areas so that future generations will continue to enjoy and benefit from them.

These water resources include:

  • The Willamette and Clackamas rivers
  • The tributaries of Abernethy, Newell, Livesay and Beaver Creeks and associated minor streams
  • Bogs and wetlands
  • Groundwater under the city

Because land-use practices, development design, and city infrastructure can affect the quality and quantity of water resources, the City will protect and restore these resources through a variety of means. One way is through the Natural Resource Overlay District (NROD), which is a zoning overlay zone with development standards to protect surface waters and riparian corridors and habitats. The overlay district implements the requirements of Title 3 of Metro's Urban Growth Management Functional Plan (1998). This overlay zone also implements Metro's Title 13, Regionally Significant Habitat. The applicable code for the Natural Resource Overlay District requirements may be downloaded from the City Code link and selecting Chapter 17.49.

Another way streams and wetlands are enhanced is through civic projects to restore water features through partnership with non-profit agencies and volunteers.  Riparian enhancement projects such as these do not require a land use permit approval by the Planning Division, but please check with us before beginning work! Restoration and protection of these resources is covered primarily in Section 5 (Open Spaces, Scenic and Historic Areas, and Natural Resources) of the Comprehensive Plan.