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Join us for the Timberline to Troutdale Cleanup

Cleanup2015Join the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council, Snowrider Project, Solve, Stout Creek Outfitters, Oregon State Parks, US Forest Service, Timberline Lodge, Portland Mountain Rescue, American Medical Response, and volunteers like you in our 2015 Timberline to Troutdale Cleanup.

We will focus on cleaning the headwaters of the Salmon River at Timberline Lodge on September 12th and a section of the lower Sandy by floating between Dabney and Lewis & Clark State Parks on September 19th.

For more information, email corinne@sandyriver.org.

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Policeman’s Helmet Targeted for Treatment

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council is partnering with the Clackamas County Soil & Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) Weedwise Program to reduce the spread of Policeman’s Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera) by expanding landowner outreach and surveying for other early detection priority invasive plants. These efforts will focus on high priority habitat restoration sites along the Salmon River where the Sandy River Basin Partners have invested considerable resources to control invasives, replant with native riparian plants and install large woody debris to increase in-stream habitat complexity for endangered salmon.
A private property blanketed in flowering Policeman's Helmet

A private property blanketed in flowering Policeman’s Helmet

Policeman’s Helmet is a prolific seed-producer that can grow over 8 feet tall each year as an annual flowering plant. It’s flowers start off white early in the season, and begin to turn a pink to purple color later in the year. The flowers resemble orchids and are highly fragrant. Its distinctive reddish hollow tube stems and shallow roots make it easily removable, especially in riparian areas where it thrives. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds, which are held in exploding seed pods close to their flowering tops. Later in the summer once plants are mature, these seed pods burst and can propel the seeds up to 20 feet away from the plant. These traits make Policeman’s Helmet an aggressive invasive species since it can rapidly spread, especially near waterways and in boggy areas.
This summer, Watershed Council staff Corinne Handelman and Amber Ayers are reaching out to private property owners to secure access to new focus areas, identify and remove infestations of Policemen’s Helmet. During the fall and winter, we will add native understory vegetation in treated areas with the largest amount of invasive species impact to re-establish native riparian conditions. This replanting effort builds upon years of work by The Nature Conservancy, SRBWC, and CCSWCD to restore long-term riparian processes such as native vegetation succession. Replanting treated areas aims to reduce invasive species cover over time by reducing gaps in vegetation and allowing for naturally regenerating native riparian cover.
The immediate impact of hand-pulling Policeman's Helmet is clear

The immediate impact of hand-pulling Policeman’s Helmet is clear

In the upper Sandy basin this very prolific seed producer is found primarily in riparian areas where its seeds are dispersed by high water events. During recent years it has begun to colonize restoration sites where Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants had been largely controlled through previous efforts. A concerted effort to control Policeman’s Helmet is needed to prevent impairment of native plant communities in private and public land riparian areas. Currently, the problem is worst on the Salmon River, an upper tributary that is among the top three priorities for salmon habitat restoration in the Sandy Basin. Because of these reasons, our efforts this year will be focusing on retreating areas from last year to ensure the species is eradicated and focusing on new properties to treat in the Salmon River corridor.

Extensive populations grow in shady or nearly full-sun conditions, impacting individual plant's flowering season

Plants can grow in shady or nearly full-sun conditions

This will be the Watershed Council’s third year working on this project in partnership with CCSWCD, and each year our progress is yielding impressive results. Hand pulling has occurred each summer from 2012-2014 and has helped reduce the spread in infested areas, with measurable reduction in the plant’s extent after multiple years of treatment. Most of the invasive plants on our sites are adjacent to water where juvenile salmon are present, representing an opportunity to restore high-value riparian habitat. Since 2014, the removal efforts have been conducted primarily by the Project YESS youth crew from Mt. Hood Community College. Other partners on this project include The Nature Conservancy, the US Forest Service, US Bureau of Land Management, and local residents and volunteers. Funding to the Watershed Council comes from CCSWCD and PGE’s Habitat Fund focusing on salmonid habitat restoration.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help reduce populations of Policeman’s Helmet, you can join us at the Wildwood Recreation Site on August 15th at 9:30am. See our “upcoming events” page for more information. Area residents who find this species on their property should report it to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline.

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Power Plant Still Looms on Sandy’s Horizon

Proposed site of the Troutdale Energy Center (Courtesy Friends of Columbia Gorge)

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality is taking public comment on a water quality permit for the proposed Troutdale Energy Center, a 653-megawatt gas fired power plant that would be built near the west bank of the Sandy River. DEQ will … Continue reading

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Lack of Snow Impacts Sandy Flow

Snow measurement sites show a statewide lack of snowpack, with the highest levels still only 36% of average

Low snowpack this winter has made headlines across the state of Oregon, and the Sandy Basin is no exception. As of mid-March, the Mt. Hood snow gauges show that we are at 6% of average annual snowpack based on data … Continue reading

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Welcome to Our Fiscal Administrator

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council is pleased to welcome our newest staff addition, Katherine Cory as our Fiscal Administrator. Katherine is excited to join the Council and bridge the gap between our finances and restoration work. Katherine is a Sandy River … Continue reading

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Year in Review 2014

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If the Sandy River shows us anything, it is the power of migrations. Whether it’s the basin’s wild fish struggling upstream through a cycle that’s renewed itself for millenia, the forceful meanderings of the river’s channel in flood stage, the … Continue reading

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Reflecting on the Sandy River’s Record 1964 Flood

Joie Smith supervises the rescue of local residents stranded by roads and bridges that washed out access to upper Sandy River neighborhoods

The “Christmas Flood” of 1964 stands in the history books as the flood of record for the Sandy River. Many rivers throughout Oregon reached similar record-breaking levels, though the Sandy River corridor was one of the hardest-hit regions throughout the state. … Continue reading

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What We Did on our Summer Restoration

The new Sandy Watershed Learning Center office

This summer brought new homes for the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council and the wild salmon populations we strive to protect! Sandy Watershed Learning Center SRBWC established the Sandy Watershed Learning Center at Mt. Hood Community College’s campus in Gresham … Continue reading

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Restoration Season is Open

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We’ve been hard at work wrapping up spring restoration projects and preparing for the summer season kick-off.  Here are some highlights from our spring projects and where to find us working this summer: Spring Review: This spring we hosted two … Continue reading

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Portland Residents Vote to Maintain Watershed Protection

The Bull Run River, before meeting the Sandy River

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council joined a broad coalition of groups interested in the environment, social justice, and sustainable economies to urge Portland residents to vote “no” on the May 20th primary ballot for measure 26-156. The ballot measure was defeated … Continue reading

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