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Council News

Salmon, Water Becoming Focus at College

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council is joining Mt. Hood Community College and other partners to elevate wild salmon habitat and water quality as key goals in future campus management.

The Beaver Creek Watershed

The Beaver Creek Watershed

Working with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, City of Gresham, Intel Labs, Metro and others, SRBWC and MHCC are analyzing ways that the 200+ acre college’s facilities and operations can be revamped to conserve water and improve water quality, habitat, and environmental quality in Beaver and Kelly Creeks, the two streams whose confluence flows through campus. Beaver Creek supports populations of wild salmon and steelhead, despite its urban and agricultural development. MHCC plans to gain certification as the first Salmon Safe community college, and the first institution to gain the designation in Gresham.

An opportunity assessment to be conducted this spring will look at MHCC’s 30+ buildings, 20 paved parking lots, landscaping, tree canopy and existing drainage infrastructure to define where green infrastructure practices can improve water quality and habitat. The results will help point to where campus facilities can be retrofitted to make the landscape function more naturally, and create a demonstration of sustainable stormwater management and conservation at campus scale.

An overhead view of the MHCC campus, with extensive impervious surfaces, including buildings and parking lots

An overhead view of the MHCC campus with extensive impervious surfaces, including buildings and parking lots

Developed beginning in 1965, MHCC transformed a former agricultural area into the current campus. The buildings, parking areas and other hardscape mean that rain hitting the campus collects pollutants and warms up to unhealthy levels before draining quickly into Beaver and Kelly Creeks, degrading water quality and fish habitat. The campus development also built a dam across Kelly Creek, creating a pond that significantly warms the creek’s flow beyond water quality standards, although serving as a recreational fishing resource for youth and disabled anglers. SRBWC opened our office, the Sandy Watershed Learning Center, on the MHCC campus in 2014.

The green infrastructure opportunity assessment will lay out activities to be implemented in a five-year period. Potential actions to may include expanded native vegetation in campus landscaping, rain gardens and permeable pavement to interrupt runoff from parking lots and roofs, green roofs on current or future buildings, and water harvesting to make use of roof runoff now routed to stormwater drains.

The failed culvert under Kane Drive that allows Kelly Creek to flow into the pond at MHCC on December 7, 2015

The failed culvert under Kane Drive that allows Kelly Creek to flow into the pond at MHCC on December 7, 2015

Project partners will work together to seek funding and put as many sustainable water management practices on the ground as possible, tracking water quality and other indicators as clean water retrofits occur. MHCC students will have opportunities to participate in green infrastructure retrofit activities and help monitor results.

Project partners are committed to making the next 50 years of campus life with the campus’s two creeks, and the wild fish that rely on them, a focus of MHCC’s sustainability commitment. Restoring habitat and water quality at MHCC will convert a current stormwater hotspot into another healthy link in the chain of restored habitats in Beaver Creek and the Sandy basin generally. For more information about this program, see MHCC’s website or read about it in the Gresham Outlook.

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Learn about our 2015 accomplishments

Read our year end newsletter, which highlights the partnerships that allow us to protect and restore the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Sandy River Basin. Don’t forget that we rely on partnerships and generous funders to accomplish this work! … Continue reading

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Beaver Creek Culvert Replacement Project

The culvert at Stark Street has a broken fish ladder that blocks nearly 100% of fish passage on Beaver Creek

Multnomah County is working collaboratively with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Metro, City of Troutdale, and the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council to replace a culvert on Beaver Creek where it crosses Stark Street in Gresham. This replacement is scheduled to happen … Continue reading

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SRBWC Joins 4th Annual Flood of Information

SRBWC and geomorphology experts discuss restorative flood response plans with local residents

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council joins Clackamas County Emergency Management, the Villages of Mt. Hood, Hoodland Fire District, and local river geomorphology experts to provide resources to upper watershed residents regarding flood risks on the Sandy River. Through the Flood … Continue reading

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Welcome to our AmeriCorps Community Involvement Specialist

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council is pleased to welcome Jesse Holt to our team as an AmeriCorps Community Involvement Specialist. A Troutdale native, Jesse attended Reynolds High School and Mt. Hood Community College before receiving his Bachelor’s degree in … Continue reading

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Summer Smackdown Success

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As summer turns to fall, the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council team wraps up our third year of the “weed smackdown”, our annual fight against invasive species. We worked this summer in partnership with the Clackamas Soil & Water Conservation District … Continue reading

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Policeman’s Helmet Targeted for Treatment

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

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. … Continue reading

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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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