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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Rare fish sighting in Saltzman Creek

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Cutthroat trout found in Forest Park stream.

Biologists from Environmental Services, conducting routine monitoring in Forest Park, recently found a surprise in Saltzman Creek …a cutthroat trout! 

small trout being measuredSalmon and trout species are rare in Forest Park’s streams because long culverts under Highway 30 and the industrial corridor limit or prevent fish passage to and from the Willamette River. 

This lone cutthroat may be part of a resident population that existed in Saltzman Creek before downstream culverts blocked passage.

Coastal cutthroat trout are a state-listed species of concern in Oregon.  They generally spend more time in fresh water than other migratory Pacific salmon and trout.  

This fish swam happily away after being identified and measured. 

Environmental Services staff sample for fish, water quality and other environmental conditions at sites around the city as part of the Portland Area Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program (PAWMAP).  

PAWMAP helps us track long-term progress towards the city’s environmental goals and regulations, such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.  PAWMAP started in 2010 to replace older monitoring methods with a more coordinated, cost-effective approach based on that of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Learn more about why we do environmental monitoring.


Tabor to the River Turns Six!

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This program's success continues because of community partners.

neighbors planting street treesThis year marks the sixth anniversary of the Tabor to the River program.  Tabor to the River combines sewer improvements and green infrastructure projects.  This helps save Portland sewer and stormwater ratepayers more than $60 million in costs to address aging pipes and basement sewer back ups in SE Portland.

Check out the new summer newsletter here. The newsletter highlights the milestones this program has accomplished and has resources and opportunities for the coming year. 

Since 2008, Tabor to the River projects have:

  • Repaired 3 miles of sewer pipes
  • Built 215 green streets
  • Removed 18.8 million gallons of stormwater from the sewer system annually
  • Planted 770 new street trees
  • Worked with property owners to construct 72 rain gardens and other stormwater management projects on private residential and commercial properties that are treating stormwater runo­ff from three acres of hard surface!  Check out our earlier post on some recent rain garden projects

rain garden at Western Seminary parking lotCommunity partners and organizations have been an integral part of all these achievements.

The work continues!  Find information about construction projects, more background, and ways to get involved at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/TaborToRiver 

Things are blooming at Mason Flats

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Improving water quality and providing nature in the city.

lupine blooming at wetlandIt's officially summer! In celebration, we thought you’d enjoy this recent shot from the Mason Flats wetland and water quality facility.

What was once a neglected field filled with invasive plants in the middle of an industrial area has become one of the prettiest water quality facilities in the country (in our opinion)!

The area manages stormwater runoff from a large area of residential and commercial streets in NE Portland.  Runoff is naturally slowed and filtered in the wetlands and ponds. 

To see the progress, here are some shots from one year ago when we completed construction, and the beautiful colors last fall as the native plants and trees started to fill in the site. 

Read more about the Mason Flats project here.

Mason Flats is a restoration area in progress and is not open to the public.  However, it is part of the larger Big Four Corners Natural Area, which has viewing sites and some access points.  Find those, and other accessible natural areas on this map from the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.   Or, join one of these public events on the Slough this summer

 

 

Church Rain Garden a Success!

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Community partners solve a stormwater problem.

We just announced the new projects for this year’s Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grants! 

rain garden at St. Mary Ethiopian ChurchIn related news, one of last year’s CWSP projects finished up in May with a community celebration. 

St. Mary Ethiopian Church in SE Portland has a new rain garden that soaks up stormwater runoff, filters pollutants and help keep the church from flooding.  They started off with a pavement smashing party last fall, held fundraisers, and brought together a lot of new friends and partners in the Lents neighborhood to build and plant the facility.  It’s true, Portland’s rain really does bring people together!

Check out this great story from the East PDX News: Rain garden saves church, helps Johnson Creek.

 

Community leaders and volunteers plantingThanks to all who came out for the celebration in May, and to the partners who made this project a success.

Learn more about this project and others from the Community Watershed Stewardship Program here.

Urban Weeds Workshop coming up on Monday, June 16th

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The event is sponsored by the East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District

Weeds – every yard has them. Come learn how to identify the most common garden and landscape weeds along with some of the more notorious invasive plant intruders of the region. Perfect for all levels of do-it-yourself gardeners, this introductory workshop will explain how these aggressive plants take over in your yard, and provide simple, effective tips that will help you get the upper hand without using synthetic herbicides.

Urban Weeds Workshop

When: Monday, 6/16 from 6:00-8:00pm

Where: EMSWCD Office - 5211 N Williams Ave (MAP)

How: Pre-register online at http://emswcd.org/workshops-and-events/upcoming-workshops/all-events/urban-weeds/

Cost: Free!

Using herbicides to treat weeds creates pollution for streams, rivers, and watersheds. Stormwater runoff can carry herbicides into our water system and pollute habitat for fish and wildlife. Herbicides can also pose health risks for family members and pets. By understanding ways to control weeds without herbicides, you can keep your yard weed-free and watershed-friendly!

Interested in learning about some of the worst offenders of weeds in Portland? Check out our Alien Invader series of posts:

 

 

Pokeweed