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:
This 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. With 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.
Upriver, 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. This 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.
Finally, 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!
Our side channel reconnection and riparian habitat project at YMCA Camp Collins is staged and ready to go. This 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. This 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.
This 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.