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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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Go Jane, Go!

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A plan to restore five sites in the lower Willamette River reaches an important milestone

Last week, Watershed Services Manager Jane Bacchieri and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Portland District Commander Col. Jose Aguilar were in Washington D.C. to pitch the Corps’ Civil Works Review Board on a plan to restore five sites in the lower Willamette River basin. The board unanimously approved, which is a significant milestone.

The Lower Willamette River Environmental Dredging and Ecosystem Restoration project will restore at least 74 acres of riparian, wetland, shallow water, and backwater habitat in the lower Willamette basin in Portland. The project will restore 2.7 stream miles and include restoration at two locations on the main stem Willamette, two on the Columbia Slough, and one on Tryon Creek. 

View the full press release here.  For more information, visit

Work at Kenton Cove in North Portland will enhance approximately 6 acres of wetland, riparian, and shallow-water habitat 

Replacing the Highway 43 culvert on Tryon Creek in Southwest Portland will improve habitat and fish passage along a 2.7 mile length of stream on 49 acres.

New Log Jams in the Columbia Slough will Provide Fish Habitat

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Watch a video tour of the installations to learn how they'll improve habitat for endangered salmon

Wood plays an essential role in our waterway ecosystems. Environmental Services recently finished installing 35 engineered log jams ("ELJs") in the Lower Columbia Slough. These structures provide shelter and habitat for migrating salmon that are resting and feeding in the slough en route to the ocean. Over the last century virtually all wood was removed from the Columbia Slough so these structures are reestablishing critical fish habitat.

These log jams are installed at elevations that coincide with the salmon migration periods. They will be dry or partially dry when flows are too low and temperatures are too high for salmon. When the log jams are high and dry they will not provide shelter for predatory fish.

Kayakers pass a log jam while paddling along the Slough

A heron perches on an engineered log jam in the Columbia Slough

Purple Loosestrife Under Attack at Oaks Bottom

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The City of Portland and US Department of Agriculture are collaborating to improve habitat conditions in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

UPDATE: The State of Oregon Department of Agriculture has prepared a list of pertinent information regarding the current situation with biocontrols in Oaks Bottom. Please visit for additional details and contact information. 

Invasive purple loosestrife has been abundant in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge for years, as it is in wetlands across the country. Ten years ago, Environmental Services and Portland Parks and Recreation started working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on biologic controls.

purple loosestrife at Oaks Bottominvasive purple loosestrife thrives in some parts of Oaks Bottom

They released leaf beetles that feed exclusively on purple loosestrife. For several years, high water in Oaks Bottom flooded the beetles in May and June before the invasive plants grew high enough to keep the insects above water.

adult leaf beetlesadult leaf beetles feeding on purple loosestrife at Oaks Bottom

In the last two summers, city staff noticed that more leaf beetles survived and consumed more purple loosestrife. This summer, it looks like they’re finally getting to eat all they want. In some areas, loosestrife plants are completely defoliated. If low water and dry conditions continue, defoliation could increase tenfold this summer.

defoliated purple loosestrifepurple loosestrife in the southwest corner of Oaks Bottom after a leaf beetle feeding frenzy

Learn more about Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge as well as future planning for habitat enhancement happening within the next few years. 

Paddle the 21st Annual Columbia Slough Regatta

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Join the FREE event on Sunday, August 2nd, from 9am-1pm

The Olmstead Brothers’ 1903 Portland Parks Plan said “…the remaining great landscape feature of the city is that of the Columbia Sloughs.” See for yourself at the annual Columbia Slough Regatta starting at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 2. The slough’s calm water is a safe and lovely haven for family activities, wildlife watching and leisurely paddling.

All ages are welcome at this family event. Bring your own canoe or kayak or register for rentals. Event organization request a donation of $8.00 per person or $25.00 per family, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. Early registration for rental boats is highly recommended.

21st Annual Columbia Slough Regatta

Sunday, August 2 | 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Launch Location: Multnomah County Drainage District, 1880 NE Elrod Drive, Portland, OR 97211

Driving Directions:

From the south: Follow NE Columbia Boulevard to the traffic light at NE 21st Avenue. Follow NE 21st north to its end at NE Elrod Drive. Turn left (west) onto Elrod Drive and follow the road for about three tenths of a mile to event parking.  

From the north: From Marine Drive travel south on NE 33rd Avenue for about one mile. Turn right (west) onto Elrod Drive and follow the road for about one mile to event parking.

TriMet: Buses #70 and #75

For more information or boat rentals, contact the Columbia Slough Watershed Council at or visit 

To volunteer, email or call 503-281-1132. 

Salmon Spotted in Crystal Springs

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Large healthy spring chinook observed in Crystal Springs

This week on July 6, Environmental Services staff spotted a large, healthy-looking, hatchery spring Chinook salmon in Crystal Springs, upstream from the confluence with Johnson Creek. 

This is good news considering earlier this week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) noted that more than 200 spring Chinook carcasses have been found in the Willamette River in Portland because of high water temperatures.  

Spring Chinook salmon typically die in the fall after they’ve spawned. Some also die from stress, disease, or predation before they spawn.

Stream temperatures in Crystal Springs are inching up due to the recent extreme heat. The good news is that Crystal Springs projects like the Westmoreland Park restoration have reduced normal stream temperatures nearly three degrees Celsius. We need to do more work to protect the water quality of our urban streams, but we’re encouraged by salmon thriving in Portland’s waterways.  

NEWSFLASH:  Two days later, the Crystal Springs Partnership observed a salmonid in lower Crystal Springs near SE Harney Street.