Success Stories

Salmon Watch

Salmon Watch

The Rogue Basin Salmon Watch program is one of our most successful programs.  In the most recent season (2023-2024), we reached almost 2,000 students and hosted 34 field days.  The program teaches students about watershed health and the importance of riparian areas, water quality conditions, macroinvertebrate populations, and other factors important to allow our native salmon and other aquatic species to thrive. The Rogue Basin Salmon Watch program hosts field trips for students on Bear Creek, the Rogue River, and other local creeks primarily in the Fall when both the Spring and Fall Chinook are instream. Local experts, including professional fish biologists, hydrologists, botanists, and educators, participate in the program and share their knowledge and experience by teaching programs at the field days.  Programs are provided at no cost to schools thanks to many funders, partners, and volunteers.  Program coordination is provided by the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) Natural Resources Department and Rogue Valley Sewer Services (RVSS).

Major funding for the program comes from local communities (Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point, Jacksonville, Grants Pass) and counties (Jackson and Josephine) as part of their Clean Water Act Programs. Other partners that provide in-kind support, funding, or other assistance include watershed councils, non-governmental organizations, land conservancies, council of governments, local utilities (Medford Water Commission and Rogue Valley Sewer Services), educational organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies.

Additional funding provided through the Stream Smart program helps provide supplies, additional field days, transportation, and follow up sessions with schools to implement service learning projects and other activities.  


“The kids who I chaperoned were absolutely inspired by the experience. It was so well organized, hands on and just perfect for making the information really mean something to the students, all of it very accessible for each student to integrate into their own personal knowledge bank, good amount of time at the different stations and excellent opening and closing circle content."


“The staff were knowledgeable, great at redirecting and holding attention of the students and they obviously are all passionate about this important topic. What a gift to the community to educate children in this way and what a gift to our local ecosystem. All of the children in the group I was with left the field trip with the sentiment that they would do everything they could to help the salmon and the salmon habitat through both their actions and sharing the information with others."

Click here to visit our Salmon Watch page!

Salmon Watch Traveling Road Show

Salmon Watch

If you are interested in learning more about the Salmon Watch Program, we are partnering with Jackson County Libraries to bring a one-hour version of the program this summer as part of the libraries summer educational series.  

Libraries and Dates  

Library Date Time
Applegate 8/14/2024 4:30 PM
Prospect 6/26/2024 11:00
Ashland 7/2/2024 2:00 PM
Butte Falls 8/13/2024 1:00 PM
Central Point 7/20/2024 1:00 PM
Eagle Point 8/15/2024 4:00 PM
Gold Hill 7/23/2024 2:00 PM
Medford 8/8/2024 1:00 PM
Ruch 7/20/2024 1:00 PM
Shady Cove 7/25/2024 2:00 PM
White City 8/15/2024 2:00 PM

Creek and River Clean-ups

In the spring and the fall, hundreds of Stream Smart volunteers give back to our local waterways by removing trash, controlling invasive weeds, and planting native trees and shrubs.  Our nearby creeks and rivers provide important habitat for a variety of aquatic plants and animals, and the adjacent riparian areas benefit other kinds of wildlife. Additionally, these waterways are esthetically valuable and allow us to enjoy all sorts of recreational activities. Therefore, it’s vital that we give back to these creeks and rivers, acting as Stream Smart stewards.  The Stream Smart Program assists with or leads the coordination of events, provides tools and resources, and staff to help run the check in stations, lead activities, and provide education at the events.  In addition, the program provides snacks, gloves, bags, plants, mulch, and other materials needed to make the activities successful.  

On April 20th, 2024, Stream Smart, in collaboration with the Bear Creek Stewards, hosted Bear Creek Stewardship Day. This biannual clean-up and restoration event occurs every April (in celebration of Earth Day) and September (in celebration of National Public Lands Day). Over 100 volunteers flocked to the Bear Creek Greenway from Central Point to Ashland to participate in activities that benefited both Bear Creek and the surrounding riparian areas. Within a short time span, several tons of trash were recovered from the Bear Creek Greenway and Bear Creek itself, invasive plants were removed, natives were planted, pollinator gardens were weeded, bird nesting boxes were installed or cleaned out, and other activities were completed. 

On May 18th, Stream Smart partners hosted the 32nd Annual Rogue River Cleanup and Let’s Pull Together Weed Pull from Hog Creek Park to Indian Mary Park.  Over 150 participants spent several hours picking up trash, pulling weeds, and/or inventorying aquatic invasive weeds on foot or by boat.  

Join us next year to help us continue to protect Bear Creek and the Rogue!  


Creative Collaboration: Adopt-A-Greenway Implementation Plan

In 2019 during the COVID pandemic, Stream Smart adopted a section of the Bear Creek Greenway and Riparian Corridor from Pine Street to Upton Road (by the Jackson County Expo Center) to help with providing educational and volunteer programs under social distancing restrictions.  Activities that are part of the "Adopt" program began with the Bear Creek Clean-up station being established at the site and restoration activities following the 2018 Peninger fire.  Stream Smart has worked with partners including Crater Renaissance Academy (part of Crater High School), the City of Central Point, the Rogue Drinking Water Partners and others on this section to install educational signs, hosts educational events, planting native species for restoring the riparian corridor, re-establish pollinator species and pollinator gardens, and pick up trash.


In 2023, Stream Smart joined SOLVE's Adopt-A-River program by adopting a section of the Rogue River near Hog Creek Park.  In addition to hosting the annual Rogue River Clean-up and Let's Pull Together Weed Pull, we are hosting additional activities throughout the year.

Bear Creek Restoration Initiative

Riparian restoration along Bear Creek and its tributaries is not new and has been ongoing for several decades. In early 2019, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments convened a forum of interested organizations focused on restoring the Bear Creek riparian corridor as a unit by identifying a list of riparian restoration projects along Bear Creek and its tributaries. Through those discussions, the need for a meaningful dialogue to describe appropriate restoration actions along an urbanized stream became obvious across multiple sectors. We had to find common ground that provided a balance between a truly “wild” riparian area with abundant native vegetation and a “managed” riparian area that provided the wild components but accommodates public safety concerns, such as fire and fuel reduction, along with social concerns, including the unsheltered population living along the creek. The Bear Creek Restoration Initiative (BCRI) is a renewed effort that takes traditional restoration perspectives and adds a social and public safety component to the mix to address the issues facing Bear Creek, and many of the Stream Smart Partners participate as part of the Initiative.

For more information on the Initiative.

Regional Water Quality Monitoring

In 1992, local communities in Bear Creek began a comprehensive monitoring program as part of their implementation actions under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The long term goal of the CWA is to make all waters fishable and swimmable. The monitoring program is conducted by RVCOG, and streams and storm drains throughout the watershed are monitored. The data collected is used to evaluate stream health, long term trends, any impacts of implementation (improvement) efforts, and for education and outreach. The program is a unique collaborative effort and provides a robust set of data that shows changes over time in the Bear Creek Watershed.

For more information on the program click here.

Creek Safety Watch Advisories

During the summer months and as part of the Regional Monitoring Program, Stream Smart partners publish information regarding the health of streams based on monthly sampling results. While ONLY ADVISORY, the notices provide information to the public regarding where streams are monitored and when sampling results exceed water quality standards. The Stream Smart program is also working to increase awareness of the where monitoring is being conducted, what the data is showing, and where to get more information.

Volunteer Programs

Willow Staking and Trash Clean-Up

Stream Smart partners collaborate to offer a number of different programs for community members to volunteer and help us protect and restore local creeks and rivers.


Volunteers shown helping restore a local creek after the Almeda fire by planting willows.

Jones Creek Planting

Partnership is a key component for implementing successful projects and we are lucky to be in an area that has a long history of collaboration and trust. A recent example is in the successful completion of a project along West Fork Jones Creek, a tributary to the Rogue River in Josephine County.

A small area along the creek was recently cleared of Himalayan blackberries and needed to be replanted. All local resources were exhausted when the project was presented to the Stream Smart team. Through various partners, we were able to piece together the project to get coordination time, materials, and labor donated to complete the project.

Project Coordination -  Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Rogue Valley Council of Governments

Materials - Applegate Partnership and Watershed Council, The Freshwater Trust, and the Rogue River Watershed Council

Labor - Middle Rogue Steelheaders

Technical Assistance - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife