Stopping Pollution

Columbia Riverkeeper fights for clean water.

People that rely on locally caught fish need you to take a stand.

We take polluters to court when the government turns its back on illegal pollution. We advocate for stronger laws to reduce toxic pollution in fish and drinking water. And we push government agencies to take action for clean water.


The Problem

The Columbia River, and the communities that depend on it, face serious threats from toxic pollution. Every day, thousands of pipes discharge toxic pollution from industry, cities, and dirty stormwater runoff. Pesticides and heavy metals enter the river from diffuse sources, such as agricultural runoff and air deposition. 
Here's a snapshot of why this matters. Visit a popular fishing spot like the Columbia River Slough in North Portland. On a sunny day, you'll likely to find dozens of people reeling in fish destined for the dinner table. In addition to being free, carp, catfish, and other resident fish have cultural value to many people with eastern European and Asian heritage. Unfortunately, industrial pollution dumped into the Columbia has a tragic impact on this food source: off-the-charts levels of toxic pollution including mercury and cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). 

Take action

Help us protect and restore the Columbia River.

Facilities in Oregon Covered by a 1200-Z Industrial Stormwater Permit
Enforce the Law

Riverkeeper cracks down on illegal pollution by enforcing the Clean Water Act. In recent years, Riverkeeper brought legal actions against more than 50 facilities that discharged illegal pollution. Our lawsuits deliver results; we stop 50,000 pounds of toxic pollution per year. 

Advocate for Toxic Cleanup

We use the law and grassroots organizing to ensure corporations and the federal government clean up toxic waste sites on the Columbia River. Learn more about Riverkeeper’s campaign to hold the federal government accountable for toxic pollution near a popular fishing area: the Bradford Island cleanup.

Hold Government Accountable

State and federal decisionmakers often buckle under pressure from corporations. That’s where we step in. Riverkeeper challenges government decisions that ignore the law and the public’s right to clean water.

FISHERMAN B carl jameson.JPG
Push for Stronger Laws

Riverkeeper works for accurate, protective toxic pollution limits—called water quality standards—to reduce cancer-causing pollution in the Columbia. Water quality standards set limits on how much pollution is allowed in a river—that’s important. While it’s not glamorous to push state agencies to adopt better pollution limits, that’s what we do!

metforim study map
Promote Science

Riverkeeper supports studies to understand how pollution impacts the Columbia’s fish and wildlife. By sharing our water quality data with government agencies, partnering with academic institutions, and hosting science education events, help everyone better understand the Columbia.

miles johnson, clean water attorney, patrolling the columbia
Watchdog Permits to Pollute

Thousands of facilities in Oregon and Washington hold permits to discharge pollution into the Columbia River. Our legal team evaluates permits and advocates for tougher pollution limits.


Your membership protects and restores the mighty Columbia River now and for future generations.

Our Work

Legal advocacy and community organizing stop pollution, fight fossil fuels, save salmon, engage communities, and clean up Hanford.