Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington"
Includes ... Water Resources Education Center ... Great Flood of 1894 ... Vanport Flood 1948 ... Flood of 1996 ...
Image, 2006, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken October 9, 2006.


Vancouver Water Resources Education Center ...
Vancouver, Washington's Water Resources Education Center is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 109, upstream of Ryan Point and downstream of Winter Park. The condominium development of Tidewater Cove is just upstream. The Resource Center overlooks the Columbia River and approximately 50 acres of wetlands, and offers a variety of educational programs for schools, groups, walk-in visitors, teacher workshops and events. The Center opened in 1996 under jurisdiction of the City of Vancouver and was developed as part of a wastewater treatment plant upgrade by the City's water and sewer utility. The Water Resources Education Center lies along Vancouver's Waterfront Renaissance Trail and has views of the Columbia River wetlands all year round. Each season presents something new.

Views ...

Image, 2006, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 1, 2006.
Image, 2006, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 1, 2006.
Image, 2006, Balcony, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Balcony, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 1, 2006.


Water Resources Center, etc.

  • Great Flood of 1894 ...
  • Wetlands in March ...
  • Wetlands in October ...


Great Flood of 1894 ...
The Water Resources Education Center has a staff gage on its property showing the high water marks of the "Great Flood of 1894", the 1948 "Vanport Flood", and the "1996 Columbia River Flood".
[More]

Image, 2006, Staff Gage, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Staff Gage, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. Staff gage shows height of 1894 (top, left side of gage), 1948, and 1996 (bottom) Columbia River floods. Image taken January 1, 2006.
Image, 2006, Staff Gage, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Staff Gage showing 1894 high water, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 1, 2006.


Wetlands in March ...

Image, 2006, Columbia River from Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wetlands, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. View from the wetlands overlook. Image taken March 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Columbia River from Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Geese, Wetlands, Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. View from the wetlands overlook. Image taken March 12, 2006.


Wetlands in October ...

Image, 2006, Columbia River from Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River from Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken October 9, 2006.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 4, 1805 ...
A cloudy cool morning wind from the West we Set out at 1/2 past 8 oClock [from their camp on the north side of Government Island, approximately across from Fisher's Landing], one man Shannon Set out early to walk on the Island [Government Island] to kill Something, he joined us at the lower point with a Buck. This island is 6 miles long and near 3 miles wide thinly timbered     (Tide rose last night 18 inches perpndicular at Camp) near the lower point of this diamond Island [Government Island] is The head of a large Island Seperated from a Small one by a narrow chanel [Lewis and Clark show two large islands on their maps, both in today's Government Island area], and both Situated nearest the Lard Side, those Islands [even today the Government Island reach is a complex of many islands] as also the bottoms are thickly Covered with Pine &c. river wide, Country low on both Sides; [since 1983 the Interstate 205 bridge crosses Government Island connecting Oregon to Washington]     on the Main Lard Shore a Short distance below the last Island we landed at a village of 25 Houses: [near Portland International Airport]; ...     This village contains about 200 men of the Skil-loot nation ...

at 7 miles below this village passed the upper point of a large Island [Hayden Island] nearest the Lard Side, a Small Prarie [Jolie Prairie, today the location of Fort Vancouver and Pearson Airpark. Lewis and Clark camp on this prairie on their return] in which there is a pond [one of the many ponds which use to dot this area] opposit on the Stard. here I landed and walked on Shore, about 3 miles a fine open Prarie for about 1 mile, back of which the countrey rises gradually and wood land comencies Such as white oake, pine of different kinds, wild crabs with the taste and flavour of the common crab and Several Species of undergroth of which I am not acquainted, a few Cottonwood trees & the Ash of this countrey grow Scattered on the river bank, ...     joined Capt. Lewis at a place he had landed with the party for Diner. ...

dureing the time we were at dinner those fellows Stold my pipe Tomahawk which They were Smoking with [Tomahawk pipe, thus giving rise to the name Tomahawk Island] ...    we proceeded on

[The men have passed through the area which, 20 years later, Dr. John McLoughlin would choose for a trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company, later to become Fort Vancouver and eventually the city of Vancouver, Washington.]

met a large & a Small Canoe from below, with 12 men the large Canoe was ornimented with Images carved in wood the figures of <man &> a Bear in front & a man in Stern, Painted & fixed verry netely on the <bow & Stern> of the Canoe, rising to near the hight of a man [Lewis and Clark then named Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island"]     two Indians verry finely Dressed & with hats on was in this canoe passed the lower point of the Island [Hayden Island] which is nine miles in length haveing passed 2 Islands on the Stard Side of this large Island [the location of Vancouver Landing and since 1917 the Interstate 5 Bridge connecting Oregon to Washington State], three Small Islands at its lower point [The downstream end of Hayden Island was at one time composed of small islands. One of these, Pearcy Island, would become today's Kelley Point.]. the Indians make Signs that a village is Situated back of those Islands on the Lard. Side and I believe that a Chanel is Still on the Lrd. Side [it wasn't until Lewis and Clark's return trip they would discover the mouth of the Willamette River] as a Canoe passed in between the Small Islands, and made Signs that way, probably to traffick with Some of the nativs liveing on another Chanel, at 3 miles lower [Sauvie Island is located at this stretch, but it is not until the return that Lewis and Clark recognize it as a separate island], and 12 Leagues below quick Sand river [Sandy River] passed a village of four large houses on The Lard. Side [on Sauvie Island], near which we had a full view of Mt. Helien [Mount St. Helens, Washington] which is perhaps the highest pinical in America from their base it bears N. 25 E about 90 miles- This is the mountain I Saw from the Muscle Shell rapid [Umatilla Rapids, Captain Clark actually saw Mount Adams] on the 19th of October last Covered with Snow, it rises Something in the form of a Sugar lofe- about a mile lower passed a Single house on the Lard. Side, and one on the Stard. Side, passed a village on each Side and Camped near a house on the Stard. Side [Post Office Lake vicinity, today within the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge] we proceeded on untill one hour after dark with a view to get clear of the nativs who was constantly about us, and troublesom, finding that we could not get Shut of those people for one night, we landed and Encamped on the Stard. Side ...

This evening we Saw vines much resembling the raspberry which is verry thick in the bottoms. A range of high hills at about 5 miles on the Lard Side [Portland's West Hills'] which runs S. E. & N W. Covered with tall timber the bottoms below in this range of hills and the river is rich and leavel, Saw White geese with a part of their wings black. The river here is 1 miles wide, and current jentle. opposite to our camp on a Small Sandy Island [one of the small sandy islands prevelent in this stretch of the Columbia. Today the Willow Bar Islands on the east side of Sauvie Island lie across from Post Office Lake.] the brant & geese make Such a noise that it will be impossible for me to Sleap. we made 29 miles to day





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    City of Vancouver website, 2006;    Salmon Education Centers website, 2006;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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September 2008