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Clear Creek

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Protecting natural areas    Acquiring natural areas    Clear Creek

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Clear Creek target area. View maps illustrating the Metro Council's priorities in this area and learn more about the importance of the area to our region.

The Metro Council's goals and objectives for the Clear Creek target area are:

photo of Clear Creek target area


  • Protect the water quality and fish and wildlife habitat of Clear Creek and Clear Creek Canyon.
  • Protect the public investment made to date in establishing a significant, publicly accessible regional natural area.


Tier I Objective

  • Acquire property essential to the establishment and management of a publicly accessible regionally significant natural area.

Tier II Objectives

  • Protect wet prairie and forested areas to preserve rare and unique habitat types adjacent to already protected natural areas.
  • Protect steeply sloped ravines and forests along the west side of Clear Creek for water quality and fish habitat benefits.

Partnership Objectives

  • Work with partners both for long-term operations and management and restoration. Potential partners include Clackamas County, PGE, Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Springwater Environmental School and Clackamas County Forestry Program.
  • Work with private landowners to explore opportunities for conservation easements.

About the area

Clear Creek Canyon begins south of Carver on Clear Creek, a free-flowing tributary to the Clackamas River. Clear Creek is a premier large creek supporting the most abundant salmon populations in the lower Clackamas River and is home to the last significant run of late-run coho in the lower Columbia River Basin. The stream supports 11 different varieties of fish, including rainbow trout and endangered fall Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead and threatened coastal cutthroat trout. Clear Creek Canyon's mature riparian forests, wooded canyon walls, ravines, terraced uplands, open meadows, ponds, springs and wetlands provide diverse wildlife habitat. More than 100 species of wildlife are found at Clear Creek, including coyotes, cougar, blacktail deer, elk, and 76 species of birds. Clear Creek also contributes to water quality for municipal drinking water intakes that serve approximately 200,000 people.

2006 Natural Areas Program bond description

Supporting the most abundant salmon populations in the lower Clackamas River, Clear Creek remains a premier large creek in the metropolitan region. Completing key acquisitions in and surrounding Clear Creek public lands will protect the public investment made to date in establishing a significant regional natural area.

1995 Natural Areas Program goals and accomplishments

  • Establish a 500-acre natural preserve area within Clear Creek's lower basin to protect the lower basin's unique natural features, water temperature and quality, fish habitat, and upland and riparian wildlife habitat.

To date 519.8 acres of the creekside corridor and upland habitat have been protected.

New focus for Metro's 2006 Natural Areas Program

Protect high value wet prairies, including the rare plant species associated with them.

Field research and scientific data findings

  • The stream supports many varieties of fish, including rainbow trout and endangered fall Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead and threatened coastal cutthroat trout.
  • Clear Creek Canyon's diverse habitat (steep forested ravines to wet prairies) supports varied wildlife, including some rare plant species.
  • If protected, this area will form the highest acreage of intact wet prairie on the east side of the Portland metropolitan area. (An estimated 99.9 percent of wet prairies in the Willamette Valley have been lost to development according to the Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center.)

Public input helps Metro Council set priorities

In September 2007 the Metro Council approved acquisition plans for each of the 27 regional target areas. The Metro Council established these priorities with the input of natural resource and land use experts, scientists, citizens and local land managers. More than 500 people attended eight community open houses to share their ideas with Metro Councilors. Nearly 1,000 people filled out questionnaires ranking their priorities and offering ideas for partnerships and other ways to stretch the public's investment. The acquisition plans include a map, goals and objectives for each target area.

Need assistance?

Natural Areas Program

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