Metro recently acquired a 47-acre property along North Fork Deep Creek. The property encompasses 3,400 feet of North Fork Deep Creek and 1,600 feet of an unnamed perennial tributary, both of which flow into the Clackamas River.
Deep Creek and its tributaries provide passage for coho and chinook salmon, steelhead, trout and lamprey between the Cascades and Clackamas River, having a significant impact on water quality.
Thirty-eight acres of the property are covered with a 40- to 100-year old forest of Douglas fir, western red cedar and red alder. This forested parcel will allow Metro to protect the canyons of the creek by providing vital natural areas and green space for water quality, fish and wildlife habitat.
In the upcoming fall edition of Metro’s “Our Big Backyard,” natural resource scientist Kate Holleran describes a forest that is in great shape. “The 50-acre forest buffers more than 2,000 feet of North Fork Deep Creek – a stream where steelhead and coho salmon spawn. It has all the features scientists like me love,” she writes.
Metro scientists and land managers will take a few years to study the site and develop a site conservation plan. No major restoration work is expected because the habitat is in generally good health.
Prior to the acquisition by Metro, the former owners constructed a small dam that pools the water on the terrace above the creek. Both the manmade pond and adjacent forested wetlands can provide suitable habitat for native amphibians including red-legged frogs, northwestern salamanders, long toed and Oregon slender salamanders.
Not only does this property support spawning grounds for fish species and wetlands for amphibians, it also provides a habitat corridor that supports black tail deer, cougars, coyotes, neo-tropical migratory birds, owls and other wildlife.
At this time, no public access is planned for this site. However, this property is directly adjacent to the Cazadero trail. “This is another reason this purchase is important. Folks using the trail will be able to view this land that is protected from any development or major harvesting of the forest,” said Metro’s conservation program director Dan Moeller. “It creates a nice visual buffer.”
The property was acquired using money from the Metro natural areas bond measure that voters approved in 2006. The acquisition cost $849,000.
Through public processes with community members, priorities were chosen for this target area and how to advance Metro’s mission of protecting wildlife habitat, water quality and access to nature close to home.
“This is the largest acquisition we’ve done to date in the in Deep Creek and is a meaningful parcel for wildlife habitat protection,” said Moeller.