Oregon Environmental Council
PORTLAND, OR—October 14, 2010—Oregon Environmental Council launches a new online campaign today at LoveYourRiver.org, to help Oregonians understand how making a few simple changes can keep pollution out of the waters we all love. The campaign offers monthly challenges that are easy to do—and will protect our rivers' health, as well as our own. Anyone who participates in the challenges will be entered in a drawing to win outdoor gear and other prizes from REI and other local businesses.

“Every major river in Oregon fails Clean Water Act standards—and most people don't realize that much of that pollution comes from things we do in our daily lives, like the products that go down our drains and the stuff that gets washed off our streets and lawns,” says Teresa Huntsinger, Director of OEC's Clean & Healthy Rivers program. “The good news is that there are easy, low-cost things we can each do to prevent pollution and be good stewards, and that's what Love Your River is all about.”

The first challenge, Reduce Your Personal Oil Spill, asks river lovers to check their car for oil leaks, since North Americans add more oil to our rivers and oceans each year than what the Exxon Valdez spilled, and to take their car to a car wash instead of washing it on the street so that the greasy grime and soapy chemicals won't end up in the river. Next month's challenge will be to dispose of old medication in the garbage or at a Drug Take Back event instead of flushing it down the toilet so that it doesn't end up in our waterways and harm fish. (Pharmaceuticals are commonly detected in Oregon rivers, and a protein normally found only in female fish has been found in male salmon in the Willamette, indicating exposure to estrogen-like chemicals that medications, like birth-control pills, contain.) There will be 12 challenges in all, and anyone who takes at least six of them will be entered to win the grand prize.

In addition to the monthly challenges, LoveYourRiver.org will connect people to their watershed, and give detailed information about the cleanliness and health of Oregon's rivers, as well as their unique attributes, including the amazing recreational opportunities they offer.