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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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Help survey dragonflies!


Community science helps support watershed health

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council is piloting a Dragonfly Survey project as a part of their growing Community Science program, and they’re looking for participants. No prior experience is required.


Help document the distribution of dragonfly and damselfly species throughout the Johnson Creek watershed. Entomologist extraordinaire Celeste Searles Mazzacano will train volunteers in survey protocols and identification skills.  Volunteers must register and attend both of these sessions:

  • ORIENTATION: Thursday, June 16th, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location: Johnson Creek Watershed Council Office (1900 SE Milport Rd, Suite B, Milwaukie). Please arrive by 5:45pm to be signed in at Orientation.

  • FIELD TRAINING:  Saturday, June 18th, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Location: Brookside Wetland (an Environmental Services restoration project site). Parking is available along SE Brookside Drive (just west of SE 110/112th).

How the surveys work: Volunteers will work on a team to conduct weekly surveys of selected sites in the Johnson Creek watershed. A commitment of approximately three surveys (one survey per month) from July through September is required. Surveys take approximately two hours, not including travel time.

Important note:  Surveys require some walking on uneven terrain in warm weather.  Volunteers must be sure-footed and willing to handle live insects, including the use of nets to catch and identify species. 

Johnson Creek Watershed Council LogoFor more information: email or call 503-652-7477 ext.101

Look who's nesting on Portland ecoroofs


Green roofs add habitat to the city while they soak up stormwater

Killdeer on nest on roofFor the second year in a row, killdeer are nesting on the ecoroof atop the Walmart store at Delta Park.

Killdeer are a relatively common native bird species and have been observed using several ecoroofs in Portland. They are a ground-nesting shorebird that prefer wide-open spaces. The young birds can run before they can fly, so they need nearby water sources to survive – something that isn’t typically available on rooftops in the summer. 

Walmart’s ecoroof, completed in 2013, is the largest ecoroof in Portland. The roof measures 37,000 square feet and manages stormwater before it hits the ground and turns into runoff to the Columbia Slough.    

Besides reducing stormwater runoff, the roof was created with ground-nesting birds like killdeer in mind. It includes habitat elements like permanent water features that collect condensate from air conditioners, and patches of woody debris and rock piles that increase the diversity of insects and simulate more natural ground-level habitats.

View of ecoroof on Walmart

Environmental Services monitors stormwater runoff from this roof to learn how ecoroofs on warehouse-type buildings perform compared to the smaller ecoroofs that we’ve traditionally monitored. Portland State University also monitors this unique roof for research about ecoroof design and pollution retention, air quality and other issues.

Photo credit T. Liptan

Les invitamos a celebrar el festival Explorando el Columbia Slough

Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council at the Explorando festival on June 11

Columbia Slough Watershed Council les invita a celebrar nuestra decimocuarta edición del festival Explorando el Columbia Slough.

¿De que se trata?: Explorando es un festival libre de costo pro ambiental. Tendremos mesas de exhibidores que tendrán información en español e ingles con actividades para toda la familia. El año pasado más de 500 personas vinieron a disfrutar los viajes guiados en canoa, ballet folklórico, música en vivo, organizaciones comunales pro ambientales, pared para escalar y pintado de caras. İLos primeros 200 niños recibirán camisetas del evento totalmente gratis!

families canoeing on the Columbia Slough¿Cuándo?: Sábado, 11 de junio del 2016. De 1:00pm a 5:00pm.

¿Dónde? Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, 7040 NE 47th Ave, Portland OR 97218.

Como participar:

İVen con nosotros! Comparte la invitación con tus amigos y vecinos para que vengan a este emocionante evento. ¿Estas interesado en ser uno de los voluntarios? Visita la página en el internet; Explorando Volunteer 2016 y júntate con nosotros.

También puedes contactarte con nosotros escribiéndonos a o llámanos al 503-281-1132. Para más información visita:   


Celebrate the 14th Annual Explorando El Columbia Slough festival with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council on Saturday, June 11th.

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council, the City of Portland and many other sponsors invite you to the 14th annual Explorando el Columbia Slough, a bilingual nature festival for the whole family. Last year over 500 people attended this free festival to enjoy the guided canoe trips, dancing, music, exhibits, a rock climbing wall and face painting. The first 200 kids receive free Explorando t-shirts.

When: Saturday, June 11th, 2016, 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Where: Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, 7040 NE 47th Ave., Portland OR 97218

Contact, call (503) 281-1132 or visit for more information.


Stream Restoration Update: South Ash Creek


Last year, we posted about a project underway in the Ash Creek Natural Area portion of Dickinson Park in southwest Portland. 

Construction to protect the exposed sewer pipe in the stream wrapped up in the fall. The project also stabilized the stream channel and improved in-stream habitat at key locations, which helps improve water quality and habitat in South Ash Creek. Check out the photos here from before and during the construction.

Here’s the site this spring, with native plants starting to grow in:

South Ash Creek in spring

We monitored the project over the winter to see how the stream enhancement design performed during storms. Stormwater from the I-5 freeway is directed to South Ash Creek just upstream of the project site. Even before the vegetation grew in, the stream handled a large amount of water during a heavy rain storm – as shown in the photo below. 

South Ash Creek during winter storm

Ash Creek is a tributary to Fanno Creek, which flows into the Tualatin River. To learn more about the current condition of the watershed, check out the Fanno Creek Watershed Report Card

Salamanders in Forest Park


Improving water quality and habitat for Portland's wildlife and people

Sometimes, cute critter pictures are in order. These were taken recently in Forest Park, when Environmental Services and Parks Urban Forestry staff were collecting information at the sites where some culverts are scheduled to be replaced in 2017.

They found three different kinds of salamanders in and around the streams that flow through culverts under Leif Erickson Drive:

red-backed salamander Red-backed salamander

Ensatina salamanderEnsatina salamander

Dunn's salamanderDunn's salamander 

Forest Park is an important regional habitat anchor, with over 100 species of birds and 62 species of mammals, as well as reptiles, amphibians and many other creatures. The forest protects the streams that provide relatively clean, cool water to the Willamette River.

Old, failing culverts cause erosion that harms water quality and habitat. The old culverts also threaten to wash out completely during large rainstorms. That happened to one culvert in 2010, washing large amounts of sediment downstream and causing an emergency closure of Leif Erickson Drive, creating a risk for emergency fire and rescue vehicles. Environmental Services and Parks are teaming up on proactive replacement of some priority culverts in Forest Park to avoid costly emergency repairs, protect water quality and improve aquatic habitat.

Learn more about conditions in the Willamette Tributaries watersheds - where Forest Park is located - in the Watershed Report Cards.

Find out more about Forest Park’s resources, trails, and efforts to restore the park on Portland Parks and Recreation’s website and through the Forest Park Conservancy.