Success Stories

Columbia Riverkeeper works with people in dozens of communities—from rural to urban—who share the same goals: Protect the health of their families and the places they love. 

water close up
Grand Coulee, Chief Joseph Dams to Reduce Pollution

After a decade of litigation by Columbia Riverkeeper, all ten federally-owned dams on the Columbia and Lower Snake river finally have Clean Water Act permits.

Focus is on three birds flying around and landing on a tree, in the foreground are muted brown mountains. Sky color is muted dusky blue.
Nuclear Reactor Proposal

X-energy just pulled the plug on a proposal to build small modular nuclear reactors near the Columbia River at Hanford.

The Dalles Dam, photo credit EPA
EPA Issues Permits

Decision will curb oil and heat pollution from Columbia River Dams Permits central to long-running litigation between Columbia Riverkeeper and Army Corps.

Wanapum Dam
Holding Polluters Accountable

Columbia Riverkeeper, Grant County Public Utility District settle lawsuit to end unlawful oil pollution at two hydroelectric dams on Columbia River.

Staff team photo
Celebrate a Year of Victories

You crushed it! As a Columbia Riverkeeper member, you supported another year of epic victories for clean water, salmon, and our climate.

Fall of Perennial Fracked Gas

Thousands of people signed comment letters and repeatedly told the State of Oregon that Perennial—and fracked gas— should not be part of our energy future.

Port Westward, photo by Modoc Stories, Courtesy of Columbia Riverkeeper
Defeating the Port Westward Fracked Gas-to-Methanol Refinery

Conservation Director Dan Serres shares the story behind stopping Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) proposed three massive fracked gas-to-methanol refineries in the Pacific Northwest.

comunidades meeting, sept. 26, 2018
Comunidades is Founded
Columbia Riverkeeper Fiscally Sponsored

Comunidades was created by Latino parents, activists, educators, and other residents of the Gorge to address a need for a Latino-led environmental group.

EPA Reverses Trump-era State Water Quality Rollbacks

A victory for Washington’s water quality standards and a return to upholding science-based standards to protect public health, but more is needed.

Victory banner
Demise of Fracked Gas Power Plant

In the face of sustained public pressure and multiple legal challenges led by Columbia Riverkeeper, Perennial-WindChaser LLC has abandoned its plan to build a new fracked gas power plant in Umatilla County, OR.

Kalama Victory
Washington Denies Kalama Fracked Gas-to-Methanol Refinery

Thousands of people across the Northwest demanded that Governor Inslee and Ecology protect our climate, the Columbia, and our communities from the destructive, polluting Kalama methanol refinery. 

Facilities in Oregon Covered by a 1200-Z Industrial Stormwater Permit
Clean Water Win

Less toxic pollution and cleaner water for salmon. That’s the result of a new water-pollution permit that regulates over 800 industrial sites across Oregon.

fossil fuel map, before
Case Study
Fossil Fuel Terminal

Columbia Riverkeeper has worked with tribal nations, local businesses, strong coalitions, and our amazing members to defeat nearly every fossil fuel project on the Columbia River.

Petrochemical plant
Ammonia Plant in Longview

In a big victory for community members in Longview, WA, a proposed petrochemical refinery pulled the plug on a project that would have threatened people’s health, safety, and our climate. Another fossil fuel project defeated on the Columbia!

Case Study
Vancouver Oil-by-Rail

On January 29, 2018, Governor Jay Inslee rejected the largest proposed oil train terminal in the United States. This was a major victory for our climate and river communities.

People fishing for shad near Bonneville Dam.
Case Study
Nation’s Best Toxic Pollution Limits

Columbia Riverkeeper worked closely with allies to push Oregon to adopt the nation’s most protective limits on toxic water pollution in 2011. 

PCEF kickoff party May 2018
Case Study
Portland Clean Energy Initiative

Columbia Riverkeeper was honored to be one of the many groups to endorse and work on the Portland Clean Energy Initiative (PCEI) in 2018.

Nichols Natural Area
Case Study
Restoring a Natural Area in Hood River

Columbia Riverkeeper and partners are restoring a natural area along Hood River’s rapidly developing waterfront.

lng rally walkers
Case Study
Protecting the Estuary from LNG

Twelve years of smart, creative, and persistent effort by local residents and partners defeated LNG and protected the mighty Columbia.

wqm vols linda and cliff trout lake sept 2011
Case Study
10 Years of E.coli Sampling

Columbia Riverkeeper has been testing the Columbia for E. coli bacteria for over a decade. Our goal is to encourage families to enjoy our rivers safely.

Grand Coulee Dam, photo by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Case Study
Oil Spills from Dams

Columbia Riverkeeper sued and forced eight large dams to reduce toxic oil pollution—a victory that the New York Times called “historic” and the Wall Street Journal called “groundbreaking.”

coal victory artwork, art by nina montenegro
Case Study
Millennium Coal Export

Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper's Executive Director, shares memories of the coal campaign.

salmon jumping
Case Study
Clean Water Act Enforcement

Sandvik, an international company with $82 billion in sales, discharged high levels of toxic metals, fluoride, and ammonia into the Columbia River for years from a metal fabrication plant in Kennewick, Washington.

Hanford Soil Test
Case Study
Hanford Nuclear Waste

Since 2000, Columbia Riverkeeper and allies have successfully blocked proposals to make Hanford a dump site for Greater Than Class C (GTCC) radioactive waste and toxic mercury.

transmessis 1
Case Study
Waterside Oil Refinery

Waterside Energy proposed the first west coast oil refinery in 25 years and the first ever on the Columbia River.

Kalama methanol aerial
Case Study
Kalama Fracked-Gas-to-Methanol Refinery

Columbia Riverkeeper and allies challenged and overturned an important permit for the Kalama methanol refinery in October 2017. 

, Base of the dam in 1938, Construction of the Grand Coulee Dam.
Case Study
Grand Coulee Dam Oil Spills

Columbia Riverkeeper reached a settlement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation designed to end uncontrolled toxic oil pollution from Grand Coulee Dam, finally bringing one of the nation’s biggest dams into compliance with the Clean Water Act.


Patrick Haluska collecting water quality samples.
Case Study
Science on Unregulated Pollution

Columbia 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.

Chief Joseph Dam
Chief Joseph Dam Settlement

Columbia Riverkeeper and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reached a settlement in a lawsuit challenging illegal oil pollution from the Army Corps’ Chief Joseph Dam, located on the Columbia River.

aerial, photo by Port of Vancouver
Case Study
Setting Precedent for Transparency

This case established Supreme Court precedent that Ports cannot abuse exceptions to the Open Public Meetings Act to hold executive sessions.

Salmon leaping over Lyle Falls, photo by Peter Marbach
Plan to Reduce Columbia and Snake River Temperatures

Ninth Circuit ruled that Trump’s EPA violated the Clean Water Act and must make a plan to protect salmon from hot water.


Take a stand for clean water and healthy communities.