Meet River Steward Chelsey Betterley!
Chelsey leapt at the chance to help out with redd surveys on the White Salmon tributaries. Want more information on how you can help with this important work? Call J. Michelle at 360-349-0743. Now read more about this amazing River Steward and what motivates her to contribute her time!
1. What do you consider your homewaters?
I would consider that the White Salmon River. It’s where I caught my first steelhead and have spent many years kayaking and exploring. I feel the strongest connection to that river from all the memories made on it.
2. What interests you in being a River Steward?
I am interested in being a River Steward because it’s important for me to give back to places which have provided so many amazing memories. Without these watersheds, I wouldn’t be able to swing flies for steelhead or laugh down the river with friends. I want to do my part to make sure future generations are able to experience the watershed and make their own memories.
3. What does being a River Steward mean to you? Why is it important?
Being a River Steward is advocating for a place or places that need their voice heard. It means getting people excited on conservation efforts where they can help, and also express concerns about watersheds as well. Being a River Steward is important because rivers are always changing and by collecting data we can help keep waterways healthy for native fish and local communities.
4. What are you working on in your homewaters? Are there any successes or challenges that you would like to share?
Currently, I’m working with a group of amazing volunteers and collecting data within tributaries of the White Salmon. Right now, we are conducting steelhead spawning surveys to gauge the native fish population since the Condit Dam removal.
Right now I would say our biggest challenge is gaining access to certain sections of reaches. There is a section of Buck Creek that we would really like to get data on, but private landowners won’t allow access. It can be difficult to get others as excited when it comes to wild fish.
5. Are there threats you are concerned about? Or upcoming actions that people can help with?
Honestly, the best way people can help is to come out and volunteer! There are so many amazing ways folks can help out, and we’d love for more people to help conduct spawning surveys on the White Salmon tributaries. There’s always more work to be done on all anadromous rivers, so please reach out and see where you can lend a hand- Your rivers and wild fish will thank you for it.
6. What do you hope for the future of this watershed? What do you want your community to know?
My biggest hope for this watershed is to see continued research and protection. There are a couple of logging companies wanting to do more projects/clearing along it that would really impact the river and community. The Columbia Gorge is such an amazing place, and I look forward to helping protect it for future generations.