The Sandy River Watershed Council (SRWC) is preparing to break ground on another major habitat restoration project, located just upstream of the confluence of the Sandy and Salmon Rivers.
This restoration project will unlock access to salmon habitat that has been hidden behind the levees for 55 years. How? We will remove sections of levees built in the wake of historic 1964 floods. This will allow the Sandy River to flow into the reconnected side channels. We will also add to the landscape large log jams. Both the reconstructed side channel and the log jams enhance habitat for fish and reduce flood risk to downstream property and infrastructure.
The Sandy River supports populations of Chinook, coho, and steelhead that are listed threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Sandy River represents a wild salmon stronghold, and is a key to state and federal recovery strategies for wild fish in the Lower Columbia River.
Project construction will begin in June. Major work along the floodplain, including levee removal will occur between July and September, a period when impacts are least likely on migrating wild salmon and steelhead. Project partners will replant impacted areas with native plants in late fall and winter, once log jams and re-connected channels are in place. Monitoring over the following five years will measure vegetative recovery and water flow into the floodplain.
The Sandy-Salmon Floodplain Reconnection Project has drawn support from local and state sources. Funders include the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, PGE Habitat Fund, Clackamas County, and the Portland Water Bureau Habitat Fund.