Clean Water News & Stories

Native Plants: Get to the Root of their Beauty and Benefits

At Clean Water Services, our favorite plants are native plants. Local birds, bees, and butterflies agree. Native plants are vitally important to protecting and supporting a healthy watershed. They are adapted to our climate, soils, and ecosystems.

  • They grow deep and complex root systems that hold soil in place and prevent erosion.
  • They support beneficial pollinators and wildlife, which have co-evolved together to thrive throughout the region.
  • They require less water and maintenance, reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizer that can pollute local rivers and streams.
  • They are beautiful and diverse!

Native plants don’t just bring beauty to our region, they help keep it healthy. A watershed is like a bowl, where all the water will eventually trickle down to the lowest point. In our case, that point is the Tualatin River. As water from rain, hoses, sprinklers, and more makes its way through the watershed, it can pick up pollutants. In a region with more native plants, this water works through complex root systems and diverse plant groups, which help filter out pollutants. Without native plants, water would move more quickly over the land, picking up pollutants along the way and leading to possible flooding and erosion. By planting native species, we can help slow down and clean as much water as possible before it reaches the Tualatin River.

Local animals and insects rely on native plants, too, especially in urban and suburban areas. Neighborhoods, roads, business parks, and other development often break up wildlife habitats. We can all help counteract some of that disconnect by planting more native plants in our yards, patios, and community spaces –providing critical habitat and helping our beneficial local wildlife thrive.

What can you do to help?

Create a natural landscape in your yard by removing non-native invasive plants and planting native plants instead. Check out the Stream Care Guide (PDF) to learn how you can further enhance your property and protect local streams. Want to add a planter box or raingarden that helps capture and filter water before it drains to the nearest wetland or creek? Explore these resources to get your project started.

Download this Gardening with Native Plants poster with 50 Northwest natives with their growing conditions, a list of native plant nurseries, educational workshops, annual native plant sales, and a reference guide. For a free full-size print, email us at, or call 503.681. 3600.

Native Plant Event

To help get more of these beneficial plants into people’s yards, we hold an annual Native Plant Event. This year, our event is October 7. Hosted by Tree For All, this event offers a bundle of free native plants to anyone that lives in the CWS service area. Plant species are subject to availability and will be pre-selected in bundles based on your planting location; shady or sunny. Advanced registration is required. Contact with questions. Learn more on our event page.