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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

March 2014 Mt. Tabor Revegetation Project Update

March 2014 Mt. Tabor Revegetation Project Update
Project Partners: City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Parks and Recreation, Water Bureau,
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of Mt. Tabor Park, Audubon Society of Portland 

 More Native Planting! 

In February 2014, as part of the Tabor to the River Program, the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Watershed Revegetation Program and contract crews planted 670 trees and 9,115 shrubs on over 30 acres of Mt. Tabor park’s natural areas (see map). Some of the native trees planted were: Big-leaf Maple, Grand Fir, Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock, Western Redcedar, Flowering Dogwood and Cascara. Some of the native shrubs planted were: Indian-plum, Creeping Snowberry, Common Snowberry, Red Elderberry, Vine Maple, Hazelnut, Mock Orange, Pacific Ninebark, Red Osier Dogwood, Tall Oregon Grape, Pacific Blackberry, Baldhip Rose and Thimbleberry.

On January 26th, the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park (FMTP) Weed Warriors and Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) planted close to 600 native plants in Unit 5 (see map). Plants includes Snowberry, Thimbleberry, and Oceanspray. See a summary of the planting at www.facebook.com/FMTP.WeedWarriors/photos_albums

Over time these native plants will mature and provide many benefits to the park, including: 

  • Reduced stormwater runoff. A diverse coverage of native plants is better at reducing the speed and volume of stormwater runoff and preventing erosion than a uniform coverage of an invasive plant.
  • Improved habitat for native wildlife, including birds. The diversity of habitats available in the park support a wide assortment of resident and migratory birds. The native plant community that will now grow where a few invasive plants previously dominated will provide more options for food and shelter over a longer period of time. For example, a hillside covered with blackberry will provide fruit in the late summer and early fall. The same hillside with a diverse native plant community could provide Salmonberry in the early spring, Thimbleberry in mid-summer, Elderberries in late summer, and Snowberries in the winter. Learn more about birds at Mt. Tabor Park at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/431015.
  • A sustainable, enduring community of native plants that will replace itself over the years.Mt.TaborPark has a majestic forest canopy. In areas where invasive plants dominated the understory, there are no young trees to take the place of canopy trees when they die. The newly planted native trees are the future mature trees forMt.TaborPark’s forests.
  • Reduced maintenance costs. Some of the native plants are being planted in areas formerly mowed by PP&R. Converting these to natural areas reduces PP&R maintenance costs.

Continued Invasive Plant Control

Contract crew planting native plants in Unit 2 of Mt. Tabor ParkIn the last year, BES contract crews and FMTP Weed Warrior volunteers have continued to remove invasive plants throughout Mt.TaborPark. In spring 2013, specific plants that are most effectively treated when they flower were targeted for herbicide application. In fall 2013, previously treated invasive plants such as English ivy and Himalayan blackberry were treated throughout the park. Several years of treatment are required to effectively keep these plants from re-establishing. In fall 2013, native grass and wildflower seeds were spread to prevent erosion where soil was exposed from invasive plant removal.

BES, Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) and FMTP have also joined forces to identify and remove the next wave of aggressive invasive plants before they can gain a foothold. To learn more about these Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) plants, go to http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/53953

Bird Surveys 

Audubon Society of Portland volunteers conducted a winter bird survey in December 2013, January and February 2014. This was the fourth winter that Audubon volunteers have conducted bird surveys at Mt.TaborPark. These data, along with the five years of spring bird survey data collected by Audubon volunteers, not only provide useful information on birds in the park but also serve as an indicator of watershed health. The bigger, more numerous and healthier the vegetation, the more stormwater is detained and cleaned before it reaches the river. Birds are the best way to measure the upland impacts and success of vegetation over time. The bigger, more numerous and healthier the vegetation, the more birds, and more types of birds, we expect to see.   

Next Steps

We are entering the maintenance phase of the Mt.Tabor Invasive Plant Control and Revegetation Project. We began removing invasive plants such as English ivy, Himalayan blackberry in fall 2010, and have continued to treat these plants in order to prevent them from re-establishing over large parts of the natural areas. We began planting native plants in early 2011, and have planted every year since with the largest number of native plants (over 17,000) planted in early 2013. 

The Mt.Tabor Invasive Plant Control and Revegetation Project will continue through spring 2017, at which point PP&R will be responsible for ongoing maintenance. The strong partnership between PP&R and FMTP will continue to be a key component of successfully maintaining a healthy diversity of native plants throughout the park’s natural areas.

Specific activities in the coming year include:

  • Spring 2014 – Spot application of herbicide to EDRR plants (see Continued Invasive Removal above for a link to learn more about EDRR plants).
  • May to June 2014 – Sixth year of breeding bird surveys conducted by Audubon Society of Portland volunteers.
  • Fall 2014 – Maintenance treatment of invasive plants throughout the park (such as English ivy and Himalayan blackberry).
  • January/February 2015 – Native planting where needed throughout the park’s natural areas.
  • Through Spring 2017 – Ongoing invasive plant control, planting area maintenance, and native planting where needed.

Useful information

The Mt. Tabor Revegetation project began in fall 2010. It is part of Portland’s Tabor to the River Program to stop sewer backups, manage stormwater naturally, and restore watershed health in close partnership with the community. Learn more at about Tabor to the River at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/tabortoriver. Establishing native plants in the place of invasive plants inMt.TaborPark enhances watershed health by improving stormwater management and habitat, just as green streets do in urban areas.

  • It is important that park users STAY ON TRAILS to prevent erosion and disturbance during the restoration process.
  • City staff are paying close attention to potential erosion in treatment areas.  If areas of concern arise, they will be addressed using best management practices such as erosion control fabric or straw wattles.  Park users should notify project staff if erosion is observed or new trails are being established.  Email mttaborreveg@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-4886.
  • A self-guided walking tour of the Mt. Tabor Revegetation Project is available at the main kiosk next to the amphitheater parking lot, and on the project website www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/352264.
  • For more information about the Mt. Tabor Revegetation Project, visit the project website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/mttabor, email mttaborreveg@portlandoregon.gov, or call 503-823-4886. 
  • Volunteer with the FMTP Weed Warriors! Learn more at www.taborfriends.org/.
  • Check out the FMTP Mt. Tabor Park Visitors Center at the main parking lot, run by friendly FMTP volunteers.