Metro has acquired 246 acres in the Wapato Lake area northeast of Gaston that will help protect clean water in the Tualatin River and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
The new acquisition is actually two large properties, a northern one and a southern one, separated by another large parcel in between. The property is largely bordered by the Tualatin River on the west and Southwest Spring Hill Road on the east. It stretches to Southwest Fern Hill Road on the north and Southwest Vandehey Road on the south.
The new acquisition will protect more than a mile of the Tualatin River and 1,250 feet of Harris Creek.
“The site is upstream from the Joint Water Commission’s intake, which means that the site plays a role in providing clean drinking water to more than a quarter million residents in Washington County,” said Kathleen Brennan-Hunter, interim director of Metro’s Sustainability Center. “Restoring healthy, connected land around rivers and streams has numerous benefits for both urban and rural residents.”
The property also includes significant swathes of wetlands, floodplains and riparian forests that are home to a variety of birds and wildlife.
Metro will take several years to study the site and has no plans to change the site’s existing farm use in the near future.
“We recognize that sites like this are valuable for agricultural uses, and we don’t intend to make any significant changes,” Brennan-Hunter said.
Later this year, crews will begin mowing and treating invasive weeds on the non-farm portions of the property.
The new acquisition cost $1.875 million and was paid for with money from the natural areas bond measure that voters in the region approved in 2006.