Council News

Restoration Season is Open

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:
P1020308This spring we hosted two volunteer events to plant around 1200 trees and shrubs at the Sandy River Delta in partnership with Friends of Trees, Friends of the Sandy River Delta, the Confluence Project. We then followed up with a day of mulching to ensure our trees will stay nourished through the dry summer season.  Diverse volunteer groups came from the Portland area, Tennessee, and even Japan to complete this restoration work.

Nearby, our work with the City of Troutdale and Eastwinds to develop a restoration plan for the banks of the lower Sandy River has been presented to the Troutdale city council.  UntitledWith overwhelming support, we will move forward in securing grants to conduct this work, which includes removing invasive blackberry, replanting with native vegetation, and allowing for trail access to the banks of the Sandy River.

P1010910Upriver, we’ve been giving some attention to the former Marmot Dam site by removing invasive species and leading field trips for local school groups. Volunteers from the Northwest Steelheaders, Sandy High School and Mt Hood Community College’s SEED program participated in our efforts to remove Vinca, a low-growing invasive species.  The Project YESS youth crew and local Bureau of Land Management staff helped us to mulch and seed the bare ground to re-establish native plant growth.  Also this spring, two student groups came on field trips to learn about the impacts of dam removal on river health, fish populations, and forest succession.

Our partnership with Mazamas continued and we welcomed a new volunteer group from Oregon Environmental Council to plant trees on Still Creek. IMG_1598This effort is critical in maintaining conifer cover in an area where the US Forest Service and other project partners have focused in-stream restoration efforts including logjam placement. To compliment our plantings, Project YESS and the Boy Scouts have come out to remove invasive species along decommissioned roads and small tributaries to prevent further spread of new weed species.

IMG_1556Finally, this spring we are excited to launch a partnership with Portland Brewing Company. This July, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their locally-produced ZigZag River Lager will be donated to the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council.  This funding will support our work to protect and restore our watershed and celebrate the legacy of free-flowing rivers in our basin.  Buy a few brews to accompany your summer adventures, and cheers to our rivers!


Summer Preview:
Our side channel reconnection and riparian habitat project at YMCA Camp Collins is staged and ready to go. Collins LogsThis project will include the placement of large logs into the newly restored side channel to increase seasonal flow and natural flood storage capacity.  Off-channel habitat is critical for juvenile salmon to rest and feed, especially during high water events. Watch out for construction equipment and large wood at Metro’s Oxbow Regional Park near the Camp Collins property as the summer begins, and make sure to steer clear of the project site as things move into motion beginning in July.

In partnership with the Columbia Land Trust and Timberline Rim neighborhood, we’re kicking off the second phase of our Restorative Flood Response project.  P1010919This summer we will be working with a team of geomorphologists from Natural Systems Design who will be studying impacts of various actions that would reconnect the 30-acre floodplain upstream of Timberline Rim with the main stem Sandy River. After studying the impacts, a proposed design will be selected for implementation in 2015.  This project seeks to increase off-channel habitat for wild salmon and potentially reduce erosion risk to downstream banks along the Sandy River.

IMG_2136This summer continues our efforts to remove an emerging invasive species in the Sandy River Basin- Policeman’s Helmet.  We are partnering with the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, Project YESS, and The Nature Conservancy to survey and treat infested areas along the Salmon River.  We’re focusing removal in this river system to protect our salmon stronghold habitat and hopefully minimize the spread of invasives downstream.  Part of our work will include outreach to local landowners in order to gain property access permission, so look for Corinne and our new Summer Outreach Assistant, Danielle Miles, if you live near the Salmon River.  Learn more about invasive species priorities and how to report weeds in the upper basin to the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Finally, the Watershed Council will be moving our offices to a new home on the Mt Hood Community College campus in July!  Once we’re settled in, look for more information about educational opportunities held at the new Watershed Learning Center.   We look forward to many other upcoming events this summer, including our Annual Summer Picnic on July 28th, the Hootenanny at the Delta on July 19th, and invasive species removal volunteer days.

Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter for more frequent updates.

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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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Judge: Sandy Hatchery Violates Endangered Species Act

Salmon R weir 9-12

A Federal judge has ruled that the Sandy Hatchery violates the Endangered Species Act because of its impacts on wild salmon.  The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Native Fish Society (NFS) and McKenzie Fly Fishers contending that the … Continue reading

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2013 Salmon Olympics


With the end of coho salmon returns and the arrival of winter weather, we’re happy to report the 2013 Fall Salmon Toss was a success.  With funding from the Portland Water Bureau and assistance from Oregon Department of Fish and … Continue reading

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Over 100 volunteers help plant the Sandy Delta

Photo courtesy of Brighton West

Around 130 volunteers planted 800 trees and shrubs at the Sandy Delta in an effort to restore native forest vegetation.  The Sandy River Delta is undergoing multiple methods of restoration, including invasive species removal, native plantings, wetland protection fencing, and the … Continue reading

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Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Potentially Listed


The western populations of yellow-billed cuckoo are proposed to be listed as “threatened” to the federal list under the Endangered Species Act.  The yellow-billed cuckoo primarily resides in riparian forests, which have been threatened by diminishing available habitat. Populations have been declining … Continue reading

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Free Sandy-versary Celebrated with Restoration Events

Mazama planting

On Saturday, October 19th, the Council celebrated the 6-year anniversary of the Sandy River flowing free after the removal of the Marmot Dam in 2007.  Two events celebrated different stages and methods of restoration in the Sandy River Basin, including large-scale in stream … Continue reading

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Sewer pump failure on the Sandy


On October 7th, a sewer pump station operated by Clackamas County Water Environment Services (WES)  failed, releasing approximately 168,000 gallons of sewage into the Sandy River.  This sewage release occurred near the Brightwood neighborhood, and was fixed within the same … Continue reading

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Fall rain brings salmon returning to the Sandy River Basin


A wet late September is bringing fall salmon back to their rearing grounds in the Sandy River and its tributaries.  Reports of wild and hatchery salmon from Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and other groups show signs of a … Continue reading

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Delta Dam Removal: Sandy East Channel Flows Free


The Sandy River regained its multi-channel delta with the removal of a small 1930s dam, returning the Sandy’s east channel to free flowing condition for the first time in 80 years. The Corps and Portland Water Bureau collaborated to remove the … Continue reading

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