Featured Image: Three Graces, photo courtesy of TEP
While sports fishermen, paddlers and clammers spend countless hours playing in and along the edges of local bays, to the people behind the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership the health and future of local waterways, as well as the fun they can provide to human beings, are serious business.
The nonprofit group, headquartered along the docks at Garibaldi in a former seafood restaurant building, strives to conserve and restore Tillamook County’s five watersheds and their estuaries through its staff, a cadre of dedicated volunteers and community partners, including dairy farmers, local business owners and government entities. Together, they tackle issues such as fish and wildlife habitat loss, water quality and flooding through a combination of monitoring, restoration and education and outreach, such as the annual Down by the Riverside event, targeted at local school children.
Not that TEP doesn’t appreciate fun that can be had on local waterways. Another facet of its operation is its Tillamook County National Water Trail guidebooks, available free online, which introduce kayakers and other paddlers to the county’s myriad navigable rivers, sloughs, creeks and bays.
Each spring, TEP raises money for its programs through the Bounty on the Bay fishing tournament, which includes fishing workshops, a keynote speaker, silent auction and several dinners.
The group combines learning and fun throughout the summer via its Education Through Recreation events, which have ranged from fish hatchery tours to SUPing local bays. You can view these events as they are scheduled, usually just before summer vacation begins, on TEP’s website.