Alsea River

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Alsea River
Upper alsea bay.jpg
Upper Alsea Bay
Name origin: Alsea tribe of Native Americans[1]
Country United States
State Oregon
County Benton County, Lincoln County
Source
 - elevation 278 ft (85 m) [2]
 - coordinates 44°22′34″N 123°36′09″W / 44.37611°N 123.60250°W / 44.37611; -123.60250 [3]
Mouth Alsea Bay, Pacific Ocean
 - location Waldport, Lincoln County, Oregon
 - elevation 0 ft (0 m) [3]
 - coordinates 44°25′21″N 124°04′51″W / 44.42250°N 124.08083°W / 44.42250; -124.08083Coordinates: 44°25′21″N 124°04′51″W / 44.42250°N 124.08083°W / 44.42250; -124.08083 [3]
Length 48.5 mi (78 km) [4]
Basin 466 sq mi (1,207 km2) [5]
Discharge for near Tidewater, Oregon, 21 miles (34 km) from mouth
 - average 1,459 cu ft/s (41 m3/s) [6][7]
 - max 41,800 cu ft/s (1,184 m3/s)
 - min 45 cu ft/s (1 m3/s)
Location of the mouth of the Alsea River in Oregon
Wikimedia Commons: Alsea River

The Alsea River flows 48.5 miles (78.1 km) from Alsea, an unincorporated community in the coastal mountains of the U.S. state of Oregon, to the Pacific Ocean near the city of Waldport. It begins at the confluence of the North Fork Alsea River and the South Fork Alsea River and ends in Alsea Bay, a wide estuary at Waldport.[4] The river flows generally west-northwest in a winding course through the mountains of southern Benton and Lincoln counties, passing near the unincorporated community of Tidewater and through the Siuslaw National Forest. Its drainage basin extends into Lane County, along the headwaters of the South Fork Alsea River.

The Alsea River supports runs of chinook and coho salmon, as well as steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. The Alsea River Fish Hatchery is along one of its tributaries, the North Fork Alsea River.

Course[edit]

The Alsea River begins in the Central Oregon Coast Range near the unincorporated community of Alsea, and flows generally west about 48.5 miles (78.1 km) to the Pacific Ocean at Waldport, on the west coast of the United States. Formed by the confluence of the South Fork Alsea River and the North Fork Alsea River, the stream meanders through the Siuslaw National Forest for all but the last 6 miles (9.7 km) of its course. Oregon Route 34 follows the river closely, crossing it once about 8 miles (13 km) from the mouth.[4]

During its first 1 mile (1.6 km) or so, the river receives Cathcart Creek, Roberts Creek, and Mill Creek, all from the right, and passes Mill Creek Boat Landing on the right. Oregon Route 34 parallels the river on the north; that is, on the right facing downstream. Here the river begins a long, roughly U-shaped loop around the south end of Digger Mountain, which rises to 1,220 feet (370 m) above sea level at coordinates 44°21′26″N 123°42′17″W / 44.3573430°N 123.7048297°W / 44.3573430; -123.7048297 (Digger Mountain).[8] Along this stretch, which is about 9 miles (14 km) long, the river passes under Hayden Covered Bridge; receives Schoolhouse Creek from the right, Birch Creek from the left, and Narrows Creek and Maltby Creek from the right, passes Campbell Boat Landing on the right and Salmonberry Boat Landing on the left, goes under Salmonberry Road, receives Salmonberry Creek from the left, passes Missouri Bend Recreation Site and Boat Ramp on the left, and receives Benner Creek from the left and Digger Creek from the right.[4] Slightly west of the mountain, about 33.5 miles (53.9 km) from the mouth, the river leaves Benton County, and enters Lincoln County.[4]

Passing Little Digger Mountain on the right, the river receives Fall Creek from the right, Cow Creek and Minotti Creek from the left, and Wolf Creek, Phillips Creek, Cedar Creek, and Butter Creek from the right as it passes Trenholm Saddle, a mountain gap at coordinates 44°23′15″N 123°45′08″W / 44.3876206°N 123.7523311°W / 44.3876206; -123.7523311 (Trenholm Saddle)[9] on the right about 31 miles (50 km) from the mouth. About 2 miles (3.2 km) later, the river begins another U-shaped loop of about 9 miles (14 km) around the south end of Stoney Mountain, which rises to 1,020 feet (310 m) above sea level.[4][10]

Flowing around Stoney Mountain, the Alsea River receives Five Rivers and Lake Creek from the left, passes Blackberry Campground on the left, receives Grass Creek and Brush Creek from the left and Schoolhouse Creek from the right, passes Mike Bauer Picnic Grounds on the right and, shortly thereafter, a USGS gauging station on the right 21 miles (34 km) from the mouth. About 1 mile (1.6 km) further downstream, the river passes Slide Campground on the right before entering Hellion Rapids at coordinates 44°23′32″N 123°50′00″W / 44.3923427°N 123.8334448°W / 44.3923427; -123.8334448 (Hellion Rapids).[11] Downstream of the rapids, the river receives Scott Creek, Slide Creek, and Hatchery Creek, all from the right, and Line Creek from the left before reaching the unincorporated community of Tidewater, about 12 miles (19 km) from the mouth.[4]

Between Tidewater and Alsea Bay, the river receives Mill Creek and Squaw Creek from the right, Canal Creek from the left, Risley Creek from the right, passes under Oregon Route 34, which then parallels the river on the south or left, and receives Arnold Creek from the left at about 8 miles (13 km) from the mouth. About 2 miles (3.2 km) later, it leaves the Siuslaw National Forest. Shortly thereafter, it receives Southworth Creek and Constantine Creek from the left and Drift Creek from the right. It receives Eckman Creek from the left, passes W. B. Nelson State Recreation Site on the left about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the mouth and enters Alsea Bay. As part of the bay, it receives Lint Creek from the left, passes Waldport on the left, flows under U.S. Route 101, and enters the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the bay.[4]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 34. ISBN 0-8061-3576-X. 
  2. ^ Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using GNIS source coordinates.
  3. ^ a b c "Alsea River". Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). United States Geological Survey (USGS). November 28, 1980. Retrieved July 31, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "United States Geological Survey Topographic Map, Alsea, Oregon quadrant". TopoQuest. Retrieved August 9, 2010.  The map quadrants include river mile (RM) markers for the river's entire length.
  5. ^ "Alsea River". MidCoast Watersheds Council. 2006. Archived from the original on May 7, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Water-Data Report 2013: 14306500 Alsea River near Tidewater, OR" (PDF). United States Geological Survey (USGS). 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  7. ^ The average is from annual discharge rates from water year 1940 to water year 2013.
  8. ^ "Digger Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved August 30, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Trenholm Saddle". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved August 30, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Stoney Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved August 30, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Hellion Rapids". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved August 30, 2008. 

External links[edit]