Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Crystal Springs Lake Restoration

JANUARY, 2020Sign up for email construction updates

Environmental Services, in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, is designing a project to improve habitat for salmon and other native fish at Crystal Springs Lake in Southeast Portland. This project will complement more than $15 million of investments made in this watershed to improve water quality and environmental health for plants, salmon, and people.The project will help reduce the water temperature of the lake and the creek downstream from the lake, increase native plant diversity, and improve habitat for salmon and other native aquatic species.


Crystal Springs Lake is located within Eastmoreland Golf Course adjacent to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

Crystal Springs Lake Location Map

Project Schedule

In 2020, Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation will work with community stakeholders and technical experts to develop a design concept. Concept design is expected to be completed in the fall/winter of 2020. Upcoming open house dates and other project information will be posted here in the coming months.

Project Goal

The project goal is to improve water quality and habitat in Crystal Springs Creek to support the continued recovery of salmon populations.

Environmental health and habitat will be restored by:

  • Reducing water temperature from Crystal Springs Lake and improving habitat along the creek and lake edges.

  • Removing, repairing or repurposing an existing dam.

  • Removing invasive species, focusing on yellow-flag iris and water hyacinth.

Garden and golf functionality will be maintained by:

  • Preserving aesthetic and function at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and Eastmoreland Golf Course.

  • Improving the irrigation intake for the golf course.

Warm water in Crystal Springs Lake discharging into Crystal Springs Creek is a key problem. This problem was identified through ongoing long-term monitoring.

In 2006 the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality listed Crystal Springs Creek as an impaired waterbody due to its elevated summer temperatures (see Chapter 5 of the 2006 Lower Willamette TMDL). In 2014, a focused study by the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that cold spring water feeding the lake is about 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by the time it leaves the lake and flows into the creek.

High water temperatures impact not only threatened salmon and steelhead, but also aquatic plants, algae, and invertebrates. Negative impacts accrue up the food chain to birds and other animals. Additionally, yellow flag iris is an aggressive invasive plant that thrives in warm water. It reduces habitat for native plants, fish, birds, and animals.

For More Information

Kate Carone, Bureau of Environmental Services, 503-823-5569,

Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong, Portland Parks & Recreation, 503-823-5113,

To learn more about past restoration projects on Crystal Springs Creek, visit

2006 Lower Willamette TMDL - Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of the Lower Willamette TMDL, PDF Format. Includes information about temperature in the creek.

Annual Salmon Celebration

Annual Salmon Celebration Information Page

Invasive Plant and Pest Management

Portland Parks and Recreation Invasive Plant and Pest Management Webpage

Salmon Safe Certification Information

Portland Parks and Recreation Salmon Safe Certification Webpage