Why Do I Engage?

Hear the stories why your fellow members contribute their time, resources, and creativity to the Columbia River.

Why Do I Engage?

Your voice for clean water is amplified as a Columbia Riverkeeper member. Today we are more than 14,000 members and 300 volunteers strong. Here are the reasons why your fellow members contribute their time, resources, and creativity to the Columbia River.


Jose Maya, White Salmon, WA:

Jose Maya
Jose Maya

Clean water is a guarantee of healthy communities, it is an individual's right.

My favorite experience was being at a meeting surrounded by very knowledgeable individuals willing to share their expertise for the good of our community.

Riverkeeper is a great agency with a great cause; it deserves all the support we can provide.

Why I love the Columbia River: The Gorge is my home, the Columbia area is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, we need to preserve and cherish it.




Kate Goodnight, Hood River, OR:

Kate Goodnight
Kate Goodnight

No matter what type of background we come from, clean water is key to everything we hold dear, whether it’s the health of our human and natural communities or our regional economic vitality related to fishing, recreation, and tourism.

It’s marvelous to go out early in the day to collect water samples and see the changing conditions and bird life. One early summer morning there were more than 60 Canada geese (including goslings), three mergansers, and a couple of killdeer at the Nichols Natural Area. Later in the season, there were more goldfinches and songbirds flitting about as the restored vegetation filled out.

I love the impressive work Riverkeeper is doing to protect our communities from threats like the oil and coal trains and the impending Hanford nuclear-waste crisis, while also positively engaging a diverse spectrum of students and adults in learning about water quality, habitat restoration, and ways they can get involved. It’s nice to know Riverkeeper is acting as a watchdog on our behalf, and it’s been rewarding to play a role in the E. coli monitoring program, since it helps to keep people who use the river safe, and provides an early warning indicator if things get out of balance.

Being a third-generation Hood River resident, the Columbia River embodies 'home' to me, a sense of connectedness not just with family but with the evolving history, geology, climate, plants, and wildlife of the area. Like an old friend, you can lean into it and be constantly surprised by the untold stories and new discoveries!

Rudy Salakory, Portland, OR:

Rudy Salakory
Rudy Salakory

Clean water is a collective action problem worth working hard for, because having clean available water is essential for human and ecosystem health. Protecting this shared resource benefits everyone at little or no cost relative to treating water for contaminants or remediating brownfields. Water is the source and nourisher of all life, and it’s far too easy to take it for granted that someone else is going to take care of it. We’ll all need to lend a hand to make sure there’s enough for everyone now and into the future.

Every time I get together with my fellow board members I am amazed and inspired at the passion, dedication, and creativity that is put into this cause. It’s really hard to think of a specific occasion that stands above the others, but most recently, I was very moved by joining board members and staff at Horsethief Lake in the Columbia River Gorge, where we were able to celebrate the restoration of sockeye runs to Lake Cle Elum. We were treated to a tour and a chance to talk to tribal staff and elders about the importance of the return of these fish to those waters.   

My work is restoring and conserving habitat and habitat-forming functions and processes throughout the lower Columbia Basin. My work as a board member allows me to participate in outreach and advocacy, and allows Columbia Riverkeeper to continue to hold impactors responsible for their effects on the health of the waters of our home. There just isn’t anyone else who can advocate for the basic right of having clean water like Columbia Riverkeeper.

I’ve lived most of my life within 10 miles of the Columbia. My children and their children depend on this river. Every stream I work on, every creek I cross, drains into the Columbia. Its course runs down the center of my world, and I’ll never stop trying to protect it.

Jan Zuckerman, Portland, OR:

Jan Zuckerman
Jan Zuckerman

My favorite memory from the Portland Fossil Fuel Ordinance was when my Sunnyside Environmental School 8th grade Climate Change Cohort testified and delivered awards to the city commissioners for doing the right thing. The looks on their faces were priceless. Afterwards, the celebration was unforgettable too! I fight for clean water because we are made mostly of water and water is everything.  Without clean water we will die. I have been so fortunate to be able to drink clean water and play in the Columbia River without being poisoned. This is not the case for so many people. I fight for clean water so that organisms of all kinds can live and grow and thrive, like I have been able to do.

I support and volunteer with Riverkeeper because experience has shown me that they get work done. I can’t imagine a better way to invest my time and money than to give it to knowledgeable and skilled folks who spend 24/7 protecting our river through education and action.


Adam Smith, Hood River, OR:

Adam Smith
Adam Smith

As a science teacher, paddler, and community member, I know how important it is to advocate for clean water. Clean water is essential to preserving not only the beauty of this special place we call home, but its health as well. This health extends beyond people of course, it's the health of every creature, every plant, every fungus, and every little microbe that calls this watershed home

I have so many great memories of collaborating with Riverkeeper, from wading out into the Columbia as part of a volunteer science project to helping out with various river cleanups. My fondest memory, however, is bringing my science students down to the Nichols Natural Area to learn about the importance of clean water through a variety of hands-on activities, experiments, and games.

This is why I support Riverkeeper: They engage so many different stakeholders in pursuit of keeping this place we call home healthy and beautiful.

I love the Columbia River for its people, its recreation, its grandeur, but also those little spaces that you find along the banks and tributaries of this magical place. I'm excited to share this exploration with my students, and I'm so grateful for the work Riverkeeper does to make this possible today, and for my students tomorrow.

Kathleen Sullivan, Astoria, OR:

Kathleen Sullivan
Kathleen Sullivan

I moved to Astoria in 2007 and became involved with Columbia Riverkeeper soon after because my sister and her family were involved with the anti-LNG fight. Joe and Iris were just beginning the Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe at the time. I have so many wonderful memories from being part of the fight against LNG. It was transformative for me. It linked me to other folks with hearts dedicated to community service. I learned so much. The experience inspired me to run for office. I now serve as a Clatsop County Commissioner. Riverkeeper’s dedicated, talented, resourceful staff have proven themselves effective advocates for the river.


Take a stand for clean water and healthy communities. Your membership protects and restores the mighty Columbia River now and for future generations.


Columbia Riverkeeper's River Currents newsletter showcases the effective and diverse work that you make possible.


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