High on a bluff overlooking the Clackamas River, just under 32 acres have been added to Metro’s Barton Natural Area, bringing the natural area to 127 acres in size. The $1.68 million purchase was possible thanks to voters investing in nature by passing the 2019 parks and nature bond. The bond allows Metro to spend up to $155 million to purchase land across greater Portland that will protect clean water and strengthen plant and wildlife habitat.
Barton Natural Area
Where: Clackamas River, near Barton
Current size: 127 acres
New addition: 32 acres
Neat feature: Confluence of Deep Creek and the Clackamas River
Habitats: Streamside forests, ponds
Animals: Black-tailed deer, cougar, coyote, amphibians, turtles, many birds
The 31.8-acre is at the confluence of the Clackamas River and Deep Creek. The confluence area, fully within the Clackamas River Scenic Waterway, is located across the Clackamas River from Metro’s 195-acre North Logan Natural Area. Clackamas County’s Barton Park is just up the river, along with Metro’s River Island Natural area.
The parcel, ringed in Douglas fir and western red cedar, includes more than a quarter mile of stream banks on Deep Creek as it spills into the Clackamas River and nearly a half mile along the Clackamas River on high bluffs.
This area is a rich and complex habitat for a host of aquatic species, including native fish like Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout that use Deep Creek as a tributary between the Cascades and the Clackamas River.
The site also contains a pond that is likely a habitat for western pond turtles, also known as the Pacific pond turtle, an omnivorous species that can often be found basking in groups in areas with large logs and boulders. Nearby, a known turtle habitat and nesting area is already present.
And while the area already supports spawning and rearing for fish, amphibians and turtles, the extension will also provide a habitat corridor linking public lands for use by black tail deer, cougars, coyotes, migratory birds and more.
With this new extension, Metro be able to protect and restore the streamside, floodplain and aquatic habitats and water quality along the river, as well as replant native plant communities that have been cleared due to the site's former use as a quarry. The extension will also allow for the reconnection of floodplains and side channels to adjacent publicly-owned land.
As part of the restoration work, Metro will remove invasive weeds, get to know the property during several seasons and tailor a plan to strengthen its habitats.