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Columbia River Basin Essay

4962 words - 20 pages

Columbia River Basin

Section 1: Introducing the Columbia River Basin
What do you get when you put together a flowing river, with a beautiful mountain, and a rolling valley? The result is the amazing Columbia River Basin. The Columbia River is the sculptor that carved the Interior Columbia River Basin. The Columbia River Basin is made up of many different environments, and contains many different organisms. Mountains, high plateaus, desert basins, river valleys, rolling uplands, and deep gorges woven together by the Columbia River and its tributaries make up the whole Columbia River Basin.
People have been drawn to the big and beautiful Columbia River Basin for thousands of years. During the last century, natural resource-based industries supported small, growing communities. Today, people still appreciate the basin's rural flavor and quality of life.
There are many beautiful places in this wonderful area of Oregon. In fact the whole basin was deemed a National Scenic Area. Besides the whole area there are two others natural areas that are very prominent. Among its many waterfalls Kalamath Falls is by far the most breathtaking. Not only can you enjoy the waterfall its self but also if you look hard enough you can see life happening all around you. If you travel up a lot higher you will see the natural trademark of the Pacific Northwest, Mt. Hood. With its 11,239 feet of beauty, what’s not to love? This amazing mountain is not only a natural area, but an area for recreation as well. From the river bellow to the mountains above the Columbia River Basin has a lot to offer.

Section 2: Population Centers
Most of the time, where humans gather, the surrounding landscape is altered in some way or another. Human settlement patterns tend to occur in natural area that can be converted in some way. For example fertile valleys are turned into farmland, and lowland forests are used for timber harvest. These areas typically support some of the most biologically diverse habitats. Increased human populations often result in habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation. A larger human population requires more land for housing and roads, more food, and generates more waste. Population density in Oregon ranges greatly and is shaped by distance to the river. In the areas east of the cascades some average fewer than three people per square mile. In contrast, the highest populations occur in the Portland metropolitan area, in Multnomah (1,424 people per square mile), Washington (427 people per square mile) and Clackamas counties.
Washington County and the Portland metropolitan area are nationally recognized as one of the most livable areas in the country. Located on the western edge of the City of Portland, Washington County is the second largest and fastest growing urban county in Oregon, with approximately 445,342 citizens. Focused residential and industrial growth has enabled the County to preserve more than 75% of its...

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