Our Purpose

The Upper Nehalem Watershed Council was founded in 1996 to help maintain the health of the waterways and wildlife in the Upper Nehalem Valley. Nestled in the northwest corner of Oregon, the UNWC works with other organizations, community members, and stakeholders to complete projects and share information.

Having a healthy watershed is important. It impacts animals and vegetation which, in turn, have consequences for people and communities. A poorly managed watershed can see loss of habitat and species, contribute to larger flood events, and impact the economy.

With so many key interests, collaboration and cooperation are vital. The UNWC provides a framework for all stakeholder voices to be heard and to coordinate efforts towards shared goals.

Mission Statement: To foster stewardship and understanding of the natural resources of the Upper Nehalem Watershed among the stakeholders of the watershed communities in order to protect, conserve, restore and sustain the health and functions of the watershed.

Vision Statement: A balanced ecosystem that supports a healthy watershed which provides for an economic base and viable watershed communities.

Our Team

Maggie Peyton

Executive Director and founding member of UNWC (EST 1996), I volunteered for the first 1.5 years establishing a foundation of trust and building investments in conservation with stakeholders, partners, advisors and funders, and all other watershed inhabitants.

I have lived in the forest by the Nehalem river for 30 years and have connected with it since childhood. I spent much time with my beloved Grandma at her oceanfront cottage just south of the Nehalem bay and crawfishing with family elders along the Nehalem river.

At age 16 I lived on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge as a member of the Youth Conservation Corp where I obtained a strong work ethic and a deep appreciation for conservation of natural ecology in working landscapes. As a young adult I studied landscape technology and ecology. I volunteered at the Audubon Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, was a den mother for cubs scouts, and conducted salmon spawning surveys, and worked with the Nehalem Valley Izaak Walton League. I am member of the Vernonia Grange and have served for over 20 years supporting Patrons of Husbandry and the local community with Faith, Hope, Charity and Fidelity.

A devoted Mother and Grandmother who plans for the seventh generation, I love world travel, drumming, creating, photography, architecture, astronomy, fitness and exploring humanity.

Wade Bullier

Wade Bullier is a fourth generation native Oregonian engaged in the management of a family-owned wood lot located on Rock Creek in southwest Columbia County, Oregon. His interest in the stewardship of natural resources, including timber, clean air, water, and permaculture agricultural practices, is passed on from his grandparents, Raymond W. Cummins and Thelma Pettijohn Cummins.

Wade serves on the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council as Chairperson and is a lifelong salmon fisherman, whose photograph (above) indicates how that all began. Photo credit: R.W. Cummins (1958) / Joel Davis (2019).

Jeff Walton

Jeff Walton is the owner of Vernonia Springs and Vice-Chairperson for UNWC.

Sye Laird

Sye Laird has been an Upper Nehalem Watershed Council board member since 2016. He lives on Rock Creek, stewarding a beautiful piece of diverse timberland, pruning fruit trees, and working for Fall Creek Woodworking. Sye particularly enjoys the process of turning a sustainably harvested log into lumber and eventually creating a building, staircase, or piece of furniture. Having spent time on Rock Creek his whole life, Sye is motivated to help protect the watershed that supports our community.

Susan Schmidlin

Susan and her family own acreage with timber and farm ground for a herd of Black Angus cattle. The priority of the farm they live and work on is the health of the land through conservation and stewardship. She joined the UNWC board in 2018.

Rick Osborne

Rick is a member of the Fishhawk Lake community in Birkenfeld and acts as a representative of Fishhawk Lake Reserve & Community. He is a member of the Solutions Committee at the lake and is responsible for lake monitoring of biological activity to ensure a healthy environment for the lake and fish.

Owner of an interior landscape company for 30 years in Salem Oregon helped to develop a true since of our natural world. He retired and moved to Fishhawk.

Rick joined the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council in 2018 and became a board member because the work that the Watershed Council does is vitally important to the Nehalem valley. He is also an avid fly fisherman.

Brenda Lisle

A native Oregonian, Brenda grew up riding bikes along the Tualatin River, camping in the Columbia River Gorge, and attending summer camp on the Sandy River. She believes we all have our part in protecting our watersheds that support local communities for current and future generations to come. She joined the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council in 2019.

Our Office

Contact Us

Upper Nehalem Watershed Council
1201 Texas Ave. Suite A
Vernonia, OR 97064

(503) 429.0869