Tillamook Estuaries Partnership

A National Estuary Project

Stewardship & Conservation

We each have a stake in the continued health of the bays and watersheds in Tillamook County.  Whether we live 5 miles or 25 miles from the bay, we each play a role in keeping it healthy and beautiful. Show your stewardship by following some of our best practices. Below are some of the things you can do to protect and conserve our bays and watersheds.

On the water:

If you’re out on the water, you can help us help the bays.

  • Keep your boat off the bottom! Everytime you hit bottom, you risk damaging important habitats for fin fish and shell fish and for underwater grasses that shelter and provide nursery areas for these species. Stay clear of areas where there are underwater grasses.

  • Observe speed limits.  Slow down in areas where your wake could erode shorelines.

  • Respect the islands.  We know…the islands look like they were made for a beach party, but look closer.  The islands in the bays are nesting areas for many birds, most of them ground nesters.They use these islands for nesting because they are safer from predators such as fox, cats and racoons and dogs.  The nests are nearly invisible on the sand.  If you do set foot on an island, watch where you put it.  And keep your dog on the boat or at least on a leash.

  • Carry out your trash. Properly dispose of scrap fishing line, garbage, cigarette butts, and items for recycling ashore.  Birds are often entangled in abandoned fishing line and sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish.

  • Prevent spills during fueling by not over filing the tank, using pads or vent attachments to capture spills, installing a fuel-air separator, listening to the fill pipe and not relying on the guage.

  • Keep your engine leak-free and well-tuned to minimize discharge of fuel and oil into the water.

  • Use an oil absorbant pad or pillow in the bilge to absorb oil as needed.

  • Use biodegradable, environmentally safe detergents to clean your boat.

  • Use pumpout stations to dispose of waste.

  • Clean, drain and dry your boat so not to spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody.

Things you can do at Home:

Remember that whatever you put on the ground can end up in the Bays; that includes oil, pesticides and fertilizer. Use these things carefully and dispose of them properly.

  • Pick up after your pet. When it rains, pet waste can get washed into storm drains that flow into our Bays.

  • Fertilize sparingly. Test your soil, apply the right amount, and don’t apply before a heavy rainfall.  These chemicals can ultimately end up in the water, so the less you use, the better!

  • Control erosion on your property with plantings to keep soil out of streets and storm drains that empty into our streams and bays. These sediments can destroy bay bottom habitat and put excess nutrients into the bays.

  • If you live on the water, a stream, pond or bay; plant or maintain a buffer of trees and shrubs at the edge of the water…at least 25 feet…more if there is any slope, to slow down and filter the stormwater runoff before it reaches the water.

  • Learn about the native plants and animals that live in our watershed and help to protect them. Eradicate invasive plant species on your property and replace them with native plants. TEP offers a cost-free Backyard Planting Program for landowners.

  • Use a car wash which recycles water. Or wash your car on a lawn or stones, not in the street.

Things your Community can do:

If you have a Homeowners Association (HOA) or neighbors who want to work together to protect and restore our bays, you can make a big difference.

  • Manage your "common ground" open space in a bay-friendly way. Limit use of fertilizers and pesticides, leave grass clippings on the ground as a slow release fertilizer.  Plant native shrubs and trees. Plant or maintain adequate buffers of trees, shrubs and grasses between lawn and streams, bay or wetlands.

  • If stormwater is draining off driveways and streets and flowing into storm drains or directly into the Bays, encourage residents to create rain gardens to capture their rain before it runs into the street. Consider creating rain garden swales to capture and process some of the stormwater from paved surfaces in the neighborhood.

  • Invite us to your next community meeting!  Let us show you how we can work together. Contact us and let us know of your interest.  We can bring you up to speed on the "State of the Bays"…we can fill you in on citizen science projects and volunteers opportunities. Send us an email info@tbnep.org or call 503-322-2222 to schedule a speaker for your meeting.


Please take the time to recycle your household waste as much as possible.  If we can all keep our recyclable garbage out of the landfill, we can keep any byproducts from entering the groundwater and from polluting the Tillamook Bays.

  • Post your community's recycling schedule on your refrigerator or have the calendar handy for reference so you don't miss a pick-up.

  • Keep a brown bag for mixed paper in those places that generate a lot of paper garbage. Put one by your desk, in the kitchen, in the kids' rooms (have them decorate the bag as an activity that will encourage them to remember to recycle).

  • Get a nice-looking bin for mixed cans and bottles to keep in your kitchen. Make it a habit to rinse all recyclables to avoid odors.

  • Get the whole family involved in recycling.


Send us an email info@tbnep.org or give us a call 503-322-2222

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