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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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Portland Watershed Monitoring and Bird Surveys

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Environmental Services biologists are monitoring populations of Portland area birds, valuable indicators of ecosystem and watershed health

The Portland Area Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program (PAWMAP) evaluates water quality, watershed conditions, habitats and wildlife. Since 2010, Environmental Services has used this citywide monitoring to evaluate and protect our watersheds and to meet state and federal requirements and city goals. In recent months, bureau biologists have been surveying Portland’s bird population as part of this effort. These surveys are called point counts. A biologist identifies and tallies all birds seen and heard over an eight minute period, creating a bird census. Birds are valuable ecosystem indicators and contribute to a holistic assessment of watershed health.

The biologists are also keeping tabs on bird nests in Environmental Services construction project areas. These nests are protected and monitored to ensure that our construction activities cause no harm and support urban wildlife.  

Here are some great photos from the field surveyors.  

Celebrate the Johnson Creek Watershed this weekend!

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Join the fun at the Lents Street Fair on Sunday, July 27th.

For almost 20 years, Environmental Services has been working to improve conditions in Johnson Creek and its floodplain in the Lents neighborhood. This Sunday July 27th, the Johnson Creek Watershed Team will be at the Lents Street Fair to help celebrate everything that makes Lents an awesome place to live, work and enjoy nature.


Maggie and Marie from Environmental Services will be fitting fair-goers with fish hats, which you might have seen at Sunday Parkways! Stop by and say “hi!” and learn about what’s happening with efforts to restore Johnson Creek and bring back more salmon and trout.  And while you’re there, be sure to check out the fabulous array of Lents grown food, crafts and music.

We hope to see you there!

Find out more at


Columbia Slough Regatta Celebrates 20th Anniversary!

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Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council for the 20th Annual Columbia Slough Regatta on August 3, 9:00am - 1:00pm

The Columbia Slough Regatta is a kayak and canoe event for all ages.  This on-the-water festival celebrates Portland’s hidden waterway and its habitat for bald eagles, turtles, fish, otters and much more. This year’s launch point in the upper (eastern ) section of the Slough boasts beautiful views of Mt. Hood.

At this year's Regatta, over 400 people will launch into the safe slack water of the Columbia Slough. Despite its name, the Columbia Slough Regatta is not actually a race, it’s more of a leisurely wildlife-watching, blackberry-eating group paddle. Paddlers are likely to see Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Western Painted Turtles, Beavers and more!

Participants are encouraged to bring their own human powered boats or sign up to use one available through the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.   

A donation of $8.00/person is requested. Pre-registration required. Sign up Online or call (503) 281-1132 to register. Spots fill quickly; register today!

Columbia Slough Regatta

Date and Time:  August 3rd, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

Location: NE Mason & 150th Ct, Portland, OR 97230

Event Page:


Air Gapping: Protecting Portland Trees from Invasive Vines

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This past Spring, Environmental Services removed ivy and clematis from hard to reach trees on 350 acres in Portland

Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation, along with most Portlanders, are big proponents of the benefits of trees in urban areas. While much effort goes into finding new places and new ways to plant trees, keeping mature urban trees healthy is equally important.

In the city’s natural areas, the non-native, invasive vines English and Irish ivy (Hedera helix and H. hibernica) and Traveler’s Joy (Clematis vitalba) are serious threats to Portland’s tree canopy. They can grow from the ground up in to the crowns of mature trees and add tremendous weight to trunks and branches. That makes trees much more susceptible to breaking or falling, especially during freezing rain, snow, or strong wind. 

Cutting ivy and clematis vines from around the base of trees kills the vines up in the canopy and has become a Portland tradition. Thousands of Portlanders have joined the effort to liberate trees in parks, green spaces and yards.

This spring, Environmental Services mobilized vegetation management contractor crews to tackle some well-established ivy and clematis vines in hard to reach areas that are less accessible to school and volunteer groups. From late April through June, workers used chainsaws and machetes to remove old growth ivy from tree trunks on about 350 acres around Barbur Boulevard, Marquam Nature Park, Oregon Health Sciences University and Forest Park.


A few weeks after the vines are severed at the base of the tree, they die, wither, and eventually fall to the forest floor and decompose. In these before and after pictures, you can almost see the trees breathing a sigh of relief!








What's Blooming on Portland Ecoroofs?

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July is a great time to visit an ecoroof in Portland. Many of the most common sedum varieties are blooming now, drawing in an assortment of pollinators in addition to the honey bee.

July is a great time to visit an ecoroof in Portland.  Many of the most common sedum varieties are blooming now, drawing in an assortment of pollinators in addition to the honey bee.

Ecoroofs across town are capped with the white flowers of sedum album and hispanicum, and the yellows of Sedum rupestre, oreganum, kamschaticum and sexangulare.  Delospermas, also known as ice plants, are beginning to flash magenta and will continue to do so for a few months.  But gone are the spring flowers of Sedum divergens, acre and spathulifolium, leaving only stems and seeds to help shade their foliage as the dry season continues. 

Lupines are winding down but wildflowers like Gilia, Tarweed and Geum are blooming now.  Weedy volunteers like epilobiums and many members of the aster family are flowering as well, seeds blowing in the wind, and urban pollinators and birds are finding uses for them.  Fescues, Deschampsias and other grasses are also producing seed now.  Yet to step into the spotlight are the deep pinks of the many varieties of Sedum spurium, and the towering (relatively) telephium and spectabile cultivars such as ‘Autumn Joy’.  They’re putting on ounces in quiet anticipation of fall.  It’s a great time to study up on just what pollinators are using these urban habitats.   Contact BES if you’d like to find out more, or see some ecoroofs in person. 

While that’s all going on, ecoroofs are performing some of their most important stormwater management services.  Portland ecoroofs have shown the most stormwater retention during our infrequent summer rainstorms due to the higher evapotranspiration rates and unsaturated soils. This is important because regulations for water quality and combined sewer overflows are more stringent in summer, when there’s typically more time for pollutants to accumulate between less frequent rainfall.