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Council News

Restorative Flood Response Guide Released

A new guide to the Sandy River’s flood behavior and ecology will be released at the Flood of Information event, followed by a restoration site field tour, Saturday September 24.

foi-flyer-9-16In partnership with the Clackamas County Disaster Management, the Hoodland Fire District, and local river experts, the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (SRBWC) will join the annual Flood of Information event Saturday September 24th, 9:00AM – 12:00PM at the Resort at the Mountain, Welches, Lolo Pass Room. The Flood of Information aims to help local residents understand and prepare for potential high water events on the Sandy.

SRBWC will also lead a field tour of a restoration project based on the Restorative Flood Response approach following the Flood of Information event. The tour will gather at 1 pm at the Timberline Rim Recreation Lodge, at 65091 E Mountain Meadow Ln Rhododendron and explore the recently restored floodplain upstream owned by the Columbia Land Trust. Restoration actions included removal of a part of the 1964 levee on the site, construction of engineered log jams, and reconnection of the side channel that had been cut off from river flows for 50 years. Fall plantings will help restore the surrounding forest and vegetation.

The Restorative Flood Response Community Handbook, produced by the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council in collaboration with Natural Systems Design, covers the Sandy’s volcanrfr-handbookic history, bank erosion erosion, flooding history and other changes that can affect the river and surrounding homes and infrastructure in large storm events. The booklet outlines how communities can work with the river’s natural processes, using restoration-based practices to address risk from future channel migration.

“The way the Sandy works when a large storm comes through is complicated,” said Steve Wise, Sandy River Basin Watershed Council Executive Director, and co-author of the guide. “This booklet can help people get their heads around channel migration, how storms moving through the river’s volcanic landscape can shift the banks in hours.”

The Council has developed Restorative Flood Response and the handbook through a series of community discussions and research following the January 2011 Sandy flood. “Residents around the Sandy wanted to know what could be done to reduce flood and erosion risks during future events,” Wise said. “It turns out old ways of armoring the banks with riprap don’t work, and harm habitat for federally protected wild salmon and steelhead. The good news is that restoration can help to reconnect natural processes, support habitat, and over the long term help absorb some of the river’s energy.”

Historical attempts at bank stabilization, which led to levees built along stretches of the Sandy River after the record 1964 flood, contributed to both habitat loss and some of the problems residents are dealing with today. Channelizing the river, in an attempt to “fix” it and push flow back to where the Sandy had been before the flood, eliminated salmon habitat. Restorative Flood Response seeks to reconnect the Sandy’s flow to floodplains and side channels at the reach scale, in alignment with the river’s natural processes, to disperse flood energy during a storm event and restore salmon habitat at the same time.

The Sandy’s wild salmon and steelhead were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. Recent population estimates show the Sandy’s fish populations have increased since the removal of the Marmot Dam in 2007 and extensive habitat restoration efforts since then.

The Restorative Flood Response Community Handbook walks the reader through the dynamic forces at play in the Sandy, risk assessment, and restorative solutions. The booklet also examines potential climate change and its influence on future storms, riverbank erosion, and channel migration. Copies will be available for free at the Flood of Information event, or for a for a $5 recommended donation by mail.

The Sandy Floodplain Reconnection project is supported by contributions from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Portland Water Bureau Habitat Fund, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Timberline Rim neighborhood. Patagonia’s International Trout Fund supported development of the Restorative Flood Response Handbook.

To RSVP for the Saturday September 24 restoration field tour, or request a printed copy of the Restorative Flood Response Handbook please contact Sara Ennis, SRBWC Community Stewardship Coordinator, sara@sandyriver.org.

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Welcome to our new Community Stewardship Coordinator

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council is pleased to announce our newest addition to the team. Join us in wishing Sara Ennis well in her new position as the Community Stewardship Coordinator!

Sara comes to the Council with a background in watershed education and restoration in our basin.  She learned her first native plants at Oxbow Park and taught 6th graders for several seasons along the Sandy River through Outdoor School.  After graduating college, she managed the boat rental and concession at Roslyn Lake.  With Wolftree, a non-profit in outdoor science education, she managed the Cascade Streamwatch Program, teaching thousands of students from across the region at the Wildwood Recreation Area on the Salmon River.

sara photoHer curiosity piqued, Sara pursued more in-depth studies in science, completing a master’s degree in Environmental Management with a focus on river restoration at Portland State University. Sara has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service conducting stream surveys throughout the state, and most recently worked for the City of Portland’s Street Tree Program.

Sara is thrilled to realize her decade long wish of working with diverse stakeholders through a watershed council to enhance watershed health and couldn’t be happier to join the Sandy River Basin team.

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Salmon, Water Becoming Focus at College

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

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. Working with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, … Continue reading

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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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Join us for the Timberline to Troutdale Cleanup!

Join the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council, Snowrider Project, Solve, Stout Creek Outfitters, Timberline Lodge, Portland Mountain Rescue, American Medical Response, Voodoo Donuts and other great volunteers like you in our 2016 Timberline to Troutdale Cleanup.

We will focus on clearing trash from the headwaters of the Salmon River at Timberline Lodge on September 17th and a section of the lower Sandy by floating between Dabney and Lewis & Clark State Parks on September 10th.

For more information, email sara@sandyriver.org.

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Join us for the annual SRBWC Picnic & Council Meeting

Join the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council Saturday, July 30th at our annual Summer Picnic at Timberline Rim Recreation Club. We’ll host a tour of a nearby floodplain restoration project at 10:30AM, enjoy lunch at noon (we’ll have main dishes and non-alcoholic drinks; feel free to bring a side or dessert to share), and then begin a brief Council meeting at 1:30. You’re welcome to come to any and all parts of the meeting.

Summer Picnic Invite

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