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Lower Tualatin Headwaters

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Protecting natural areas    Acquiring natural areas    Lower Tualatin Headwaters

Metro's natural area program purchases land along streams that flow into the Tualatin River protecting water quality.

Goals and objectives

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Lower Tualatin Headwaters 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...More

Floodplain and habitat on Baker Creek protected by Metro acquisition

With the purchase of two adjacent properties, Metro secured more than half a mile of creek frontage along both sides of Baker Creek and its large, flat floodplain near Sherwood in June 2009. The two properties total 28 acres.

The two new acquisitions include forested uplands of Douglas fir, big-leaf maple, red alder and Western red cedar along with relatively large areas of undeveloped, forested habitat adjacent to the creek that are used extensively by native wildlife. Baker Creek meanders into several small channels on the properties before reconnecting again at a culvert under Mountain Creek Road. This sinuous creek system filters and cleans water naturally and provides flood storage during storms when water levels are high.

Important Tualatin River tributaries, the headwaters of Baker, Chicken and Cedar creeks can be found in the Southwest Chehalem Mountains. Protecting lands along these high-quality creeks was identified by the Metro Council as a top priority for the Lower Tualatin Headwaters. 

Chicken Creek purchase protects 38 acres

Rolling hills and houses dot the landscape where the slow-moving waters of Chicken Creek flow through small farms and rural properties on their way to the Tualatin River. Chicken Creek winds through the 38-acre property Metro purchased in October 2008, located about a mile outside of Sherwood's city limits. Large, single parcels of land are hard to find in this area and the property is particularly valuable because of its relatively large size, quality and creek frontage.

At its confluence with the main stem of the Tualatin River, Chicken Creek flows into the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The stretch of Chicken Creek that crosses the Metro acquisition runs through a mature forested drainage that provides shade to the creek, protects water quality and gives wildlife food and shelter.

Protecting wet prairie in the Tualatin Valley

When the pioneers arrived in the Tualatin Valley they found a landscape much different than what is seen today. Spreading Oregon white oaks floated above wet prairies creating places for birds to sing and dancing shadows on the wildflowers below. Waterfowl shared the river's floodplain with red-legged frogs. Remnants of these native wet prairies and oak woodlands still exist, supporting rare plants and animals, and offering future residents a glimpse of the past.

Metro purchased 44-acres of native wet prairie and floodplain habitat in 2007, located along Southwest Hillsboro Highway in Scholls. The property is directly adjacent to Gotter Prairie, a natural area already protected through Metro's land acquisition program.

Native oak habitat and wet prairie has declined dramatically in the Willamette and Tualatin River valleys. By simply harvesting his hay each summer, the previous land owner helped preserve the mostly native prairie plant species historically found there.

Metro has been working with local partners to bring back these same wet prairie plants on the 120-acres already in public ownership at Gotter Prairie. Combining management of both properties will ensure the long-term protection of this important and relatively unique habitat type. You can learn more about Metro's partnership at Gotter Prairie with the Tualatin Riverkeepers at www.tualatinriverkeepers.org/restoration.

Need assistance?

Natural Areas Program
503-797-1545
naturalareas@oregonmetro.gov

Related Links

Lower Tualatin Headwaters goals and objectives

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Lower Tualatin Headwaters 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.

Featured native plant

Camas
Camas is a wildflower typically found in Oregon's native prairies.

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