Restorative Flood Response

engineered log jam
sandy river side channel
sandy river

Community meetings and site visits following the record 2011 flood lead to the creation of a Restorative Flood Response Handbook and restoration projects along the upper Sandy.





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Project Description

In the first phase of our Restorative Flood Response efforts, the Council organized community meetings and site visits following the major storm event in January 2011. The initial community meeting involved presentations from guest speakers and was followed by visits to neighborhoods impacted by recent storms.

With assistance from technical experts in geomorphology, engineering, and restoration design, Restorative Flood Response participants explored potential actions that would restore floodplain processes and enhance habitat conditions for wild fish, while simultaneously reducing future erosion and channel migration risk. Restorative Flood Response Phase I emphasized that floodplain connection, habitat diversity, large wood log jams and other features of restoration can also reduce risk for homeowners and infrastructure. Additionally, these community meetings emphasized a need for collaborative efforts between adjacent landowners, recognizing that habitat restoration on a larger scale can benefit individuals.

Collaborative efforts to manage flood risk through restorative measures build upon the Restorative Flood Response project initiated after the historic flood and major bank erosion in January 2011.

In 2016 a side channel reconnection project near the Timberline Rim neighborhood was completed, assisting affected landowners in flood-impacted mainstem neighborhoods. This project implemented restoration actions as a demonstration site. The middle Sandy River encompasses priority salmonid habitat, residential development and significant road and utility infrastructure. Partners in this effort included neighborhood residents, restoration consultants from Natural Systems Design, Clackamas County Emergency Management personnel, and Columbia Land Trust.


Featured Story

Restorative Flood Response Guide

The Restorative Flood Response Community Handbook, produced by the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council in collaboration with Natural Systems Design, covers the Sandy’s volcanic 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.

View the handbook

Updates from the Field

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Restorative Flood Response Project Success!

Restorative Flood Response project results in action! This side channel was reconnected to the Sandy a few years ago. This project mitigates flood risk and restored salmon habitat along the Sandy River. Video credit Dona Rogers.


More Information

Upper Sandy River Flood Resources

Sandy River Revival - Columbia Land Trust on a 2016 Sandy River Mainstem Floodplain Reconnection project