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Today marks the kick-off of World Environment Day festivities in Portland, with representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme, the City of Portland, and partner agencies and community organizations celebrating the official opening of the Foster Floodplain Natural Area. This project is one example of Portland’s many efforts to restore streams and natural areas in the city. Photos from the event are posted here and on the Environmental Services Facebook Page.
This spring, Environmental Services completed restoration of the 63-acre Foster Floodplain Natural Area (also known as the East Lents Project). Over one-half mile of Johnson Creek was restored, wetland habitat was added for native fish and wildlife, and 90,000 native trees and shrubs were planted. South of Foster Road and east of I-205 in the Johnson Creek watershed, this area was once a residential neighborhood where flooding repeatedly damaged homes and other property when Johnson Creek spilled over its banks. By reconnecting the natural floodplain and restoring the stream, this project is expected to cut local flood frequency to about one-third of the previous rate while also improving water quality and habitat in the creek. In January 2012, with the first phase of the project complete, heavy rains pushed Johnson Creek to more than two feet above the historic flood stage and filled the restoration site with water. In the past, the creek would have flooded Foster Road and caused significant property damage, but the restored floodplain held the high water, kept Foster Road dry, and let local businesses stay open.
Read more about the project at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/fosterfloodplain. Make sure to stop by the site along the East Portland Sunday Parkways route on May 12, for fun activities including helmet-friendly fish hats!
Projects like the Foster Floodplain Natural Area protect and restore Portland’s streams as part of our community’s green infrastructure. Trees, open spaces and naturally-flowing streams in the city help protect people, wildlife and property from the effects of storms and reduce the impact of hot weather as our climate changes. Since 2006, Environmental Services has restored more than 32 miles of stream and stream bank in Portland with our partners. Restoration is underway in all of Portland’s watersheds, including the Mason Flats Wetland enhancement project in Northeast Portland’s Columbia Slough Watershed and the recently-completed restoration of the Tryon Creek and Stephens Creek confluences with the Willamette River in Southwest Portland.
In celebration of UN World Environment Day 2013, the City of Portland and The Intertwine are featuring stories about Portland’s green infrastructure, sustainability and environmental innovations.
The Bureau of Environmental Services uses green infrastructure to keep stormwater out of the sewer system, filter pollutants and provide cool clean water to our rivers and streams, reduce flooding, and provide habitat for healthier watersheds. Portlanders’ stormwater fees are at work protecting water quality in our rivers and streams and increasing neighborhood green space.