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Deep Creek and Tributaries

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

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Deep Creek and Tributaries 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 Deep Creek and Tributaries target area are:

photo of Deep Creek and Tributaries target area


  • Preserve and protect the canyons and streams of Deep Creek that provide vital natural areas and green space for water quality, fish, and wildlife habitat.
  • Protect the North Fork of Deep Creek to connect the Clackamas River to the Zion-Tower- Sunshine-Butler Ridge system of linked wildlife habitat.


Tier I Objectives

  • Acquire land to protect forested areas in the canyons of the North Fork of Deep Creek to Boring.
  • Acquire land along unnamed tributary connecting the North Fork of Deep Creek to Zion Butte.

Tier II Objectives

  • Protect lands along Lower Deep Creek from the North Fork to the confluence with the
  • Protect undeveloped natural areas within the canyons of upper Deep Creek above the confluence with the north fork to Amisigger Rd. to support water quality.

Partnership Objective

  • Pursue opportunities for leveraging regional funds and/or managing properties with
    Oregon State Parks, Three Rivers Land Conservancy, Damascus, Boring, Clackamas
    County and the Clackamas River Basin Council.

About the area

Deep Creek's alignment serves as the principal wildlife corridor connecting the Clackamas River (and the Cascades to the east) to the East Buttes area of Gresham and the urbanizing Johnson Creek watershed. The proposed Cazadero Trail route follows the North Fork of Deep Creek Canyon from Boring and Damascus to Barton. Deep Creek and its tributaries are significant habitat for coho, spring Chinook, wild winter steelhead, migratory and resident cutthroat trout, and lamprey eel. Key natural resources of concern are the threatened wild winter steelhead and coho salmon. Besides offering significant habitat for wildlife and fish, the creeks are also important to water quality as they enter the Clackamas River above municipal water intakes. As the name Deep Creek indicates, areas along the creek are mostly steep and forested with moderate to large Douglas fir, cedar and hardwoods.

2006 Natural Areas Program bond description

The intact, steeply wooded slopes of Deep Creek Canyon in eastern Damascus hold some of the largest contiguous wildlife habitat remaining in the region. The creek's sweeping alignment serves as the principal corridor connecting the Clackamas River to habitat areas within the more urbanized portions of the county. The corridor includes the Cazadero Trail that will link Gresham, Barton and public forest land to the east. It will also complete the Springwater Corridor from downtown Portland to Barton.

Focus for Metro's 2006 Natural Areas Program

  • Protect and preserve wildlife habitat and corridors.
  • Initial estimates are that a minimum of 200 acres of land would be protected within this target area.

Field research and scientific data findings

Lower Deep Creek

  • Provides connectivity for fish at the confluence with the Clackamas River to the North Fork of Deep Creek.
  • Provides quality spawning habitat and a healthy riparian zone.

Noyer Creek

  • A natural falls near the confluence with Deep Creek obstructs fish passage.
  • Development and agricultural uses impact water quality in this area.
  • The creekside habitat corridor has been affected by invasive plant species, especially Japanese knotweed and English ivy.
  • A key wildlife corridor exists between Deep and Noyer creeks and the Zion Butte and Tower Butte areas, which provide important links to the Springwater Corridor.

Upper Deep Creek and North Fork of Deep Creek

  • Provide a high functioning wildlife corridor and fish run including salmon and steelhead.
  • Protect/preserve intact forested areas to improve water quality.
  • An unnamed tributary above the North Fork of Deep Creek provides wildlife connectivity between Zion Butte and Deep Creek.

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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