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working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

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Nature in the city: Can trout and salmon thrive in Tryon Creek? New study is encouraging.

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Tryon Creek is one of the major remaining free-flowing tributaries of the Lower Willamette River. New research shows just how healthy it is for cutthroat trout, and that’s important for the future of trout as well as for prospects to restore salmon to Tryon Creek.

Tryon Creek is one of the major remaining free-flowing tributaries of the Lower Willamette River. New research shows just how healthy it is for cutthroat trout, and that’s important for the future of trout as well as for prospects to restore salmon to Tryon Creek.

The primary obstacle to restoring salmon to the urban watershed is a 400-foot culvert underneath Highway 43 near the confluence with the Willamette River.  A conduit for water, it is a barrier for fish. Environmental Services, in concert with partners including the US Army Corps of Engineers have plans to remove that culvert and replace it with a wider, shallower passageway that will allow native and migratory fish like salmon and lamprey to reach the cool clean waters of Tryon Creek – and the high quality spawning and rearing habitat the creek offers.

Biologists use a seine net to survey fish below the Highway 43 culvert of Tryon Creek.

Now the new study adds to the body of knowledge showing just how healthy Tryon Creek habitat is for fish. Published in the journal Urban Ecosystems by Environmental Services scientist Melissa Brown and colleagues at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the research compares the health of urban trout in Tryon Creek to non-urban populations elsewhere in the region. The findings show that the health of coastal cutthroat trout in this urban waterway is comparable to that of cutthroat trout in 35 more pristine rivers and streams throughout the Columbia River basin and northern California. That research tells us that there is carrying capacity in the stream for migratory salmon, such as chinook, coho and steelhead trout, says Brown.

A cutthroat trout is measured to help biologists assess the fish population's health.

As for plans to remove the Highway 43 culvert and replace it with a better passageway: Congress authorized funding for it and additional Healthy Willamette River projects last session as part of a package sponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Next steps, which are underway, call for Congress to allocate the dollars that would allow the package of restoration projects to be realized.

Environmental Services is looking forward to working with the US Fish and Wildlife Services again to assess population dynamics in the future after native, migratory fish start returning to historic habitat once a new Highway 43 passage is built.

P.S. The Tryon Creek watershed is closed to fishing.

The Art of Stormwater is up in North Portland

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The collection features the beauty of green infrastructure and is showing at St Johns Community Center and Charles Jordan Community Center

The Art of Stormwater, a collection of artistic photographs of green infrastructure around the city, is currently being displayed at the St. Johns Community Center (8427 N Central St) and the Charles Jordan Community Center (9009 N Foss Ave) in North Portland.

The collection shows the beauty of green infrastructure techniques that are designed to soak up stormwater, reduce flooding, filter pollutants, and ensure clean rivers. The exhibits will be up until December 28th in St. Johns and until mid-January at the Charles Jordan Community Center. 

Art in Stormwater: Trees and infiltration facilities on Portland State campus.

Art in Stormwater: Ice forms around fescue in a green street facility.

The Art in Stormwater exhibit at the Charles Jordan Community Center.

If you’re in the area, go check it out!

For more information, or to request this exhibit at your community space, email naama.schweitzer@portlandoregon.gov

Become a Green Street Steward and Plant in Your Neighborhood Green Street

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A new policy expands how volunteers can engage with their neighborhood green streets

This fall, Environmental Services is rolling out a new planting policy for the Green Streets Stewards program. Since 2010, the program has supported community interest in the maintenance of Portland's green streets. The city takes care of green streets and welcomes help from the community. Green Street Stewards help with simple activities that include picking up trash, removing leaves and debris, and occasional weeding and watering.

Collecting garbage from a green street can help it manage stormwater runoff. 

Green street stewards remove weeds from facilities so that plant communities stay healthy. 

The new planting policy allows Stewards to help in the design of their adopted green streets (after approval of a planting plan). Now, instead of only pulling weeds, Stewards can actually add plants and beautify the facilities. Want to be as cool as a fish and help keep our rivers clean? Sign up to be a Green Street Steward! Here's how:

Step 1: Adopt a green street in your neighborhood (sign up here).

Step 2: Check out the Suggested Plant Guide for some ideas, but feel free to be creative beyond those listed.

Step 3: Follow the planting guidelines: the plants must be perennials/bulbs, maximum 36 inches tall at maturity (visibility issues) and cannot be invasive or edible.

Step 4: Submit your design to Svetlana.pell@portlandoregon.gov or

Green Street Stewards Program

400 SW 6th Ave, Suite 200

Portland, OR, 97204

Step 5: Plant your plants! (in the fall or spring, to have the best chances of plant survival)

Step 6: Keep up with all of your other Green Street Steward duties, like clearing out the openings!

If you have any questions, always feel free to send us an email at: greenstreetstewards@portlandoregon.gov

This Saturday December 9th, join the Johnson Creek Watershed Council for a restoration planting at Johnson Creek Park!

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Team up with the Council and Portland Parks to plant native shrubs and trees along the banks of Crystal Springs before winter arrives

Volunteers are invited to be part of this rewarding stewardship event, perfect for families, work teams and service groups. 

When? Saturday, December 9, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - Noon 

Where? Johnson Creek Park, SE 21st Avenue and Clatsop Street 

Volunteers will help the Johnson Creek Watershed Council plant thimbleberry, red elderberry, and snowberry along the bank of Crystal Springs to shade the stream, prevent erosion and help the fish. Dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and bring a friend! Tools and water will be provided. Meet on the WEST SIDE of the park. Street parking is available.

To sign up, please email: courtney@jcwc.org. You can learn about more volunteer opportunities with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council here

Free Grant Writing Workshops for the Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP)

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Staff from Environmental Services will be available to help interested community members develop competitive proposals.

Are you a member of a community group looking to improve your neighborhood and help the environment? Are you interested in applying for a Community Watershed Stewardship Program grant, but don’t have any grant writing experience? Would you like help filling out your application materials, but don’t know where to turn?

You’re in luck! CWSP has two upcoming grant writing workshops that are fun, free and open to the public. Topics will include the grant selection process, criteria used for scoring applications and tips for giving your grant proposal its best chance at success. Successful grant proposals will promote equity and build community partnerships, and we can help you develop your ideas so they are reviewed competitively. Bring your friends, your ideas and your love for Portland watersheds. Refreshments provided. We hope to see you there! 

The dates, times and locations for the two upcoming November workshops are:

The Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) helps Portlanders make improvements in their neighborhoods and communities, while also improving the health of our watersheds. CWSP is a partnership between Environmental Services and Portland State University.

CWSP administers two grant programs: Stewardship Grants of up to $10,000 and Native Plant Mini-Grants of up to $500. Learn more at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/Bes/43077.

Questions about CWSP and the grant writing workshops can be sent to CWSP Grants Coordinator B Castra Nemici at b.castranemici@portlandoregon.gov or by phone at 503-823-7917