Brought to you by:
College of the Environment, The Foundation for WWU & Alumni
The Chehalis watershed is the second largest watershed in Washington State. From its headwaters in the Willapa Hills, it runs about 130 miles in a circuitous path to the Chehalis River estuary. It is a rain-fed watershed that has been heavily logged since the 1850s. Tree plantations, both privately and publicly owned, dominate the watershed. Only 14,000 acres of older, structurally complex forests remain in the watershed, where there are no National Parks or other protected areas.
In the summer of 2023, the Chehalis River experienced the lowest water levels in 94 years – since record keeping began. Clear-cut logging of old forests has a huge impact on stream and river hydrology, with flows reduced by as much as 50% in summer as water is sucked up by young plantation trees. Clear-cut logging also has a clear connection to the devastating floods that dominate the watershed in the last 30 years.
In this talk, Lee will give a general overview of environmental issues in the Chehalis watershed, as well as highlight the connection between forest practices and water quality. She will highlight the importance of preserving the last of the older, structurally complex and diverse forests that remain in the watershed.
The Environmental Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Talks are held each Thursday at 4:30pm in Academic Instructional Center West, room 204. Join us at WWU or online on Zoom!
Lee First, Speaker
Twin Harbors Waterkeeper
Lee First has a BS in Environmental Studies (Western Washington University) and a Professional Certificate in Wetland Science and Management (University of Washington). She has worked in the Waterkeeper movement for almost 20 years. As the Twin Harbors Waterkeeper, she works to advocate for, protect, and prevent pollution in the Chehalis, Willapa watersheds, as well as watersheds on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Her past job experience includes managing environmental controls at a Superfund Cleanup Site, collecting water quality data for cities and counties, delineating wetlands and developing mitigation plans for Tribal governments, and controlling aquatic invasive species. Her passion for canoeing and kayaking (especially exploring new waterways) has led her to completing 17 sea kayak expeditions on the Inside Passage.
Accommodations and Other Details
Advance notice for disability accommodations and special needs is greatly appreciated. Please indicate your special needs on the registration form.
There will be auto-captions available for the Zoom webinar.
Limited paid parking is available in the C lots at the south end of campus and in lots 6V and 7G at the north end of campus. Western provides comprehensive parking details—including lot locations, applicable fees, and campus map. Please note that parking in the C lot and 12A by Fairhaven College is free after 4:30pm on weekdays and all hours on weekends.