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Lower Tualatin Headwaters goals and objectives

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Protecting natural areas    Acquiring natural areas    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.

The Metro Council's goal and objectives for the Lower Tualatin Headwaters target area are:

photo of Lower Tualatin Headwaters target area

Goal

  • Protect lands within the Baker, Chicken, and Cedar creek watersheds in the southwest Chehalem Mountains that retain significant wildlife habitat and contribute to water quality in the Tualatin River Basin.

Objectives

Tier I Objectives

  • Protect lands along Baker Creek, particularly forested uplands and other intact habitat areas important to wildlife or used by sensitive species such as red-legged frogs and pond turtles.
  • Protect habitat areas along the headwaters and main stem of Chicken Creek.

Tier II Objectives

  • Protect wetlands, stream and creek corridors and floodplains for wildlife and water quality in the Cedar Creek watershed.
  • Work with various government agencies to secure linkages to public areas including:
    • City of Sherwood to coordinate linkages along Cedar Creek, potentially connecting to Rock Creek and the Tonquin site, and a potential linkage between Sherwood and the Tualatin Refuge.
    • The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge to coordinate linkages to their holdings.

About the area

The headwaters of the lower Tualatin River are located in Washington County and include important tributaries that retain significant value for wildlife and contribute to water quality in the Tualatin River basin.

Cedar Creek traverses densely urbanized areas in its lower reaches within the city of Sherwood. Notwithstanding the surrounding urban development, Cedar Creek has valuable intact natural corridors along the creek and high quality headwater reaches, with significant opportunities to protect and enhance fish habitat.

Chicken Creek at its confluence with the main stem of the Tualatin River is part of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The confluence area provides wetland, riparian and upland habitats for a variety of migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, fish and other resident wildlife. When flooded in fall and winter, it provides resting and wintering habitat for ducks, Canada geese, tundra swan and a variety of other waterfowl.

Baker Creek has forested uplands of Douglas fir, big-leaf maple, red alder and Western red cedar along with relatively large areas of undeveloped habitat adjacent to the creek that are used extensively by wildlife, including sensitive species like the Northern red-legged frog. The confluence of Baker Creek with the Tualatin River main stem is being restored by Metro in partnership with the Tualatin Riverkeepers and is now known as Gotter Prairie, a 164-acre natural area with an uncommon wet prairie habitat that is home to rare Pacific Northwest species of flora and fauna.

2006 Natural Areas Program bond description

Watersheds in the southwest Chehalem Mountains retain significant wildlife habitat and include Chicken, Cedar and Baker creeks. Protection of riparian lands within these headwaters will safeguard water quality in the lower Tualatin River basin.

Focus for the 2006 Natural Areas Program Protect lands along the creeks and waterways in the southwest Chehalem Mountains to retain significant wildlife habitat and to improve water quality in the lower Tualatin River basin.

Field research and scientific data findings

  • Streams that ranked highest for water quality in Clean Water Services evaluations were the upper reaches of tributaries to Chicken Creek. Some small segments within the upper reaches of Cedar Creek also scored high.
  • Cedar, Chicken and Baker creek corridors have relatively high habitat value.
  • Relatively large areas of undeveloped habitat adjacent to Baker Creek have extensive wildlife use, including sensitive species such as the red-legged frog. These species and others would benefit from the protection of adjacent forested areas. Protection of lands along Baker Creek provides an opportunity to build on Metro's success with the restoration of Gotter Prairie.
  • Chicken Creek has steelhead spawning and rearing habitat.
  • Areas adjacent to Cedar Creek provide a mix of valuable habitats including forested upland, wetland and riverbank vegetation at its confluence with other streams.

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
503-797-1545
naturalareas@oregonmetro.gov

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