South Fork John Day Watershed Council

Advice from a River - Go with the Flow. Immerse yourself in nature. Slow Down and Meander. Go around the obstacles. Be thoughtful of those downstream. Stay Current. The beauty is in the journey. - Ilan Shamir


Welcome! Help us prioritize our actions by completing this quick survey. 

A cooperative landowner based organization has existed in the Upper South Fork (Izee Country) to improve the watershed since the 1980's. It started as private landowners and different Government Agencies working to improve the area, and developed into the Upper South Fork John Day Watershed Council.

In order for the Council to maintain status as a Watershed Council in Oregon, they had to meet regulations put in to place by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB). One such requirement was that the Council territory encompass a population of 500 individuals. Although the Upper South Fork John Day Watershed Council represented nearly 200,000 acres, there were barely 100 people covered within their territory. In March of 2014 the Council voted to increase the size of their territory to 540,000 acres, including 541 individuals.

This area includes the entire South Fork John Day River Watershed, as well as a portion of the Upper Mainstem John Day River. The Council met all requirements in order to be officially recognized as a Watershed Council by OWEB in August of 2015.

In order to effectively serve and represent the newly added territory, we are working to re-initiate the existing Coordinated Resource Management Planning group that existed within the South Fork John Day Watershed from the late 1980s until 1992. Since 1992 the formal partnership and planning documents are still in place, but have not been updated. Individual partners that participated in the CRMP group interact and work together, but the formal CRMP group has not been holding regular meetings, or prioritizing restoration actions.  The Council views this existing group as an advisory group.

After we analyze the results of the survey, we will meet with stakeholders (private and public) to update the plan goals and objectives, as well as a 5-year scope of work.

South Fork of the John Day River Watershed

Located in central Oregon, the South Fork of the John Day River (SFJDR) flows northward from its headwaters in the Ochoco and Aldrich Mountains and enters the mainstem of the John Day River at Dayville, OR.  In its entirety, the South Fork subbasin drains approximately 607 square miles. The length of the mainstem of the South Fork, from its headwaters to it's mouth, is approximately 55 miles.

Upstream fish migration is prevented at river mile 28 by the Izee Falls, a 45 foot tall cascading waterfall. The watershed above Izee Falls is referred to as the Upper South Fork of the John Day River Watershed and below is the Lower South Fork John Day Watershed.

Council's Mission

Maintain and enhance the health of the South Fork John Day River watershed and the long term economic stability of the region, foster a better understanding of the multiple resources, represent broad and diverse geographies and interests, work collaboratively to carry out voluntary watershed restoration activities.

Council Goals

1. Education & Outreach
Promote a sense of awareness and understanding among all watershed users and landowners as to how their land management practices and personal actions can positively or adversely impact the South Fork John Day River watershed.

2. Partnership Development
Foster an atmosphere of cooperation and coordination with all landowners, citizens, organizations, and agencies with responsibilities and interests in the watershed.

3. Water Quality and Water Quantity
Maintain, enhance, or restore water quality suitable for all beneficial uses in watershed streams.

4. Fish and Wildlife Habitat
Maintain, enhance, and restore fish and wildlife habitat throughout the watershed.


150 East Main Street, Suite 102, John Day, Oregon 97845, 541-792-0435