Plants and Wildlife
A variety of trees and shrubs grow along the Willamette River, and native wildflowers sometimes dot lonely gravel bars or grassy benches. The defining tree along the river is the black cottonwood, which frequently lines the shore. Oregon ash also is widespread, as are Pacific willow and red alder. Pacific willow is a common sight on gravel beach areas, and on gravel bars and islands. Lower shrubs such as red osier dogwood can be seen as well. Of course, what often is growing along the riprapped banks of the river is Himalayan blackberry, an invasive species that can choke out native plants.
Along the Willamette you can witness a variety of wildlife. Common birds include Osprey, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Turkey Vulture, Spotted Sandpiper, Wood Duck, Merganser, and more. During the Spring and Summer you can also witness Goldfinches, Spotted Towhees, Kinglets, Egrets, a variety of Warblers in the riparian areas, and Willow Flycatchers. In addition to birds, it is common to see a variety of native fish such as Spring Chinook jumping here and there as they migrate upstream, or in the Summer months trout whisking over gravel bars just under the surface. You can also witness introduced species like Smallmouth Bass.
Common mammals include Black-tailed Deer, Beaver, River Otter, Coyote, and introduced species such as Nutria. Bobcat and Cougar are also sometimes present, though relatively rare along the river corridor.