A Sauvie Island lake at risk of disappearing will get a fresh chance at survival.
Invasive ivy covering 155 acres of Forest Park will be eliminated.
Habitat along Johnson Creek and the Tualatin, Clackamas and Sandy rivers will be restored.
Those are just some of the ways that nature around the metro region will be improved thanks to the latest round of restoration and community stewardship grants from Metro's Nature in Neighborhoods program. This year, 14 projects were awarded $800,000 to restore significant fish and wildlife habitat and to connect residents with nature. Metro councilors unanimously approved the grants at their Sept. 18 meeting.
“It’s a wonderful collection of grants,” Metro Councilor Bob Stacey said. “It touches every quadrant of the region, many neighborhoods and many biological resources.”
The West Multnomah Water and Soil Conservation District received one of the largest grants this year -- $100,000 – to open up a channel to restore flow to Sturgeon Lake. Historic levee and dam construction caused silt to build up in a channel, cutting off water flow that could cause the 3,000-acre Sauvie Island lake to disappear.
That’s bad news for fish and wildlife that use the lake, the largest freshwater floodplain lake in Oregon, said Scott Gall, a rural conservationist for the district.
“It’s an important stopping place for juvenile salmon and Chinook,” he said. “It’s one of the most important off-channel habitats on the Columbia River.”
Metro’s grant is part of a larger $6.7 million effort to ensure the lake’s survival, including a $5 million federal grant that would be lost if the district didn’t find partners to fill the remaining funding gap. Now, the group is just $200,000 away from its goal, Gall said.
About 30 miles eastward, where the Sandy River flows into the Columbia River, an $85,800 grant will pay for two years of habitat restoration and public engagement efforts on 100 acres of the Sandy River Delta.
The removal of a dam last year re-opened a historic channel that makes the delta more attractive to salmon, steelhead, yellow-billed cuckoos and other fish and wildlife, said Steve Wise, executive director of the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council.
The grant will pay for the removal of invasive plants and the installation of more than 132,000 native plants in their place. The project will also offer a number of educational and stewardship opportunities.
“This is the next step to restoring the Sandy River Delta to its natural, native state,” Wise said. “It’s an unknown gem – a 1,400-acre wild area. It’s really a vibrant area for people, wildlife and fish.”
Metro this year received 43 pre-applications totaling $2.1 million in requested funding. Leaders for 26 projects were invited to submit full applications, and a review committee selected the 14 recipients. The chosen projects supported broader state and local conservation initiatives and engaged community understanding about nature.
Money for the grants comes from a levy that voters approved in 2013 to help care for regional parks and natural areas.
“This is a great program,” Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette said. “It’s wonderful to be giving this grant money.”
Full list of 2014 Nature in Neighborhoods restoration and community stewardship grant recipients:
Backyard Habitat Certification Program: Portland Metropolitan Expansion
Audubon Society of Portland and Columbia Land Trust (Co-Applicants): $25,000
Backyard Habitat Certification Program is an initiative within the Portland metropolitan area that engenders community stewardship and improves habitat in developed areas. Participants act as partners in conservation by integrating native plants, removing invasive plants, reducing pesticides, stewarding wildlife and managing storm water in backyards.
Partners: City of Gresham, Friends of Nadaka Nature Park, Friends of Tryon Creek, East / West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, City of Lake Oswego, Friends of Baltimore Woods, local green businesses and nurseries
Clackamas River Confluence Restoration Project
Clackamas River Basin Council: $95,626
Clackamas River Basin Council and partners seek to improve 9.5 acres of riparian/off-channel habitat in the highly visible Dahl Beach Park area, at the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers. The project includes engineering designs, off-channel alcove habitat construction, floodplain revegetation, and community stewardship.
Partners: SOLVE, City of Gladstone, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Blue Heron Wetland Restoration Project
East Columbia Neighborhood Association: $8,900
Purpose of funding is to ensure eradication of the noxious weed aquatic primrose (Ludwigia peploides ssp. montevidensis) from the Blue Heron Wetlands of northeast Portland and further engage the residents of the East Columbia Neighborhood with the natural environment adjacent to their residences.
Partners: Bureau of Environmental Services, Multnomah County Drainage District, North Portland Community Works, Portland State University
Restore Forest Park
Forest Park Conservancy: $100,000
Restore Forest Park is a long-term invasive plant species control plan to address and control invasive plants throughout Forest Park. The Balch Creek Launch Project is focused on restoring 155 acres in the Balch subwatershed; prioritized for its ecological value and high visibility.
Partners: Portland Parks & Recreation, Balch Creek Partnership (multiple members), Linnton Neighborhood Association, Forest Park Neighborhood Association
South Riverboat Forest Restoration Project
Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge: $25,000
The project will restore 60 acres of high quality riparian habitat and adjacent forest along the Tualatin River. Community engagement and environmental education will be incorporated into restoration activities. Completed restoration will permanently link the project site to adjacent properties currently undergoing similar habitat restoration.
Partners: US Fish and Wildlife Service-Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Clean Water Services, Friends of Trees, Tualatin Riverkeepers, Cascade Education Corps, The Reser Family Foundation (funding committed)
Building Community Partnerships in the Johnson Creek Watershed
Friends of Trees (Johnson Creek): $43,000
Increase and expand native revegetation efforts within the Johnson Creek Watershed focusing on areas adjacent to previous or current revegetation projects and newly prioritized sites at eight natural area sites including site preparation and maintenance and engaging over 1,000 volunteers at 26 events.
Partners: Portland Parks & Recreation City Nature East, City of Gresham Natural Resources Program, Johnson Creek Watershed Council
Tryon Creek Forest Restoration Partnership
Friends of Tryon Creek: $34,000
Friends of Tryon Creek and partners will expand community restoration of the emerging Southwest Portland forest corridor, activate hundreds of adult and youth volunteers, while increasing capacity to authentically engage diverse communities.
Partners: Friends of Tryon Creek, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Lewis and Clark College, Neighborhood House, Center for Diversity and the Environment, Tryon Creek Watershed Council, Columbia Land Trust, Ash Creek Forest Management, Scholls Valley Native Nursery and Boskey Dell Native Nursery
Johnson Creek Fish Passage Restoration
Johnson Creek Watershed Council (Fish Passage): $58,000
Based on the results of a comprehensive assessment and prioritization of fish passage, the JCWC proposes to work towards removing two high-priority fish passage barriers. Opening fish passage benefits all upstream natural areas and enhances the greater ecosystem for threatened salmon and trout.
Partners: Centennial School District, Pleasant Valley Elementary School, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, Private Landowners, City of Portland, City of Gresham, Clackamas and Multnomah Counties, East Multnomah SWCD, PGE Salmon Fund, Portland State University Watershed Capstone Class, Portland Community College GIS Certificate Program, Saturday Academy Apprenticeships in Science & Engineering, Kingfisher Ecological Services, Aquatic Contracting, Johnson Creek Inter-Jurisdictional Committee
Riparian Reforestation in Johnson Creek Watershed
Johnson Creek Watershed Council (Riparian Reforestation): $25,000
JCWC seeks Metro funding to support implementation of its Riparian Reforestation Strategy, primarily intended to provide shade to Johnson Creek and its tributaries and hence lower stream temperatures to levels that fully support native salmonids.
Partners: Wisdom of the Elders, City of Gresham, Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, Private Landowners
Lower Errol Heights Wetland and Stream Restoration Project
Portland Bureau of Environmental Services: $85,000
Restore 1.5 acres of wetlands and 300’ of stream through culvert, weir, and pump removal; earth excavation for amphibian habitat; removal of rock armoring; stabilization of stream banks; and native plant establishment, achieved by up to eight project partners.
Partners: Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Friends of Trees, Friends of Errol Heights, Portland Parks and Recreation
Sandy River Delta Restoration
Sandy River Basin Watershed Council: $85,800
The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council will coordinate two years of habitat restoration and public engagement on the next 100 untreated acres of Sandy River Delta habitat. The project will remove invasive vegetation while installing more than 132,000 native plants, and offering an array of educational and stewardship opportunities.
Partners: US Forest Service, Friends of the Sandy River Delta, Friends of Trees, Confluence Project, MHCC-Project YESS, East Multnomah County Soil & Water Conservation District, FedEx Corporation, Ash Creek Forest Management, Jubitz Foundation, PGE Habitat Fund
Expanding SOLVE Volunteer Opportunities in Washington County
SOLVE (Washington County): $15,000
SOLVE is expanding volunteer restoration opportunities in Cornelius, OR to facilitate a new partnership with Centro Cultural through their summer camp, afterschool program, and weekend bilingual community restoration events for families.
Partners: City View Charter School, Landowner (Hilja Davis), Clean Water Services, Centro Cultural
Community Partners Restoring Strategy Habitats in Tualatin River Basin
Tualatin Riverkeepers: $99,450
This project will engage local agencies, non-profits and businesses in restoration of 60.7 acres of wetland, oak savanna and riparian forest at Cook Park/Thomas Dairy, located in a reach of the Tualatin River deemed regionally significant for public and natural resource values.
Partners: City of Tigard, CleanWater Services, Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Good Neighbor Center, Friends of Trees, Portland Community College, Tigard Public Schools, Intel, REI, Patagonia, Columbia Sportswear, Waggener Edstrom and Anthro Corporation, Intertribal Gathering Garden, Portland State University-Indigenous Studies Program, Cascade Environmental Corps
Sturgeon Lake Restoration Project
West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District: $100,000 (FY 2015-16)
The 3,000 acres of Sturgeon Lake, located just 12 miles from downtown Portland, is home to 180,000 wintering waterfowl and a refuge for juvenile salmonids. Historic levee and dam construction have cut off flows and, without action, the lake is in danger of disappearing.
Partners: Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, US Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, Multnomah County, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, ODEQ, Ducks Unlimited, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Sauvie Island Academy, Sauvie Island Community Association