Since 2008, Environmental Services and partners have purchased 390 acres of natural area land in the city to help protect clean water sources and natural stormwater functions. Besides being a critical piece of Portland’s strategy to manage rainfall naturally, many of these properties are home to rare habitat types like wetlands and Oregon white oak savannah. Keeping Portland’s natural area lands in good condition also protects our air quality, captures carbon and other greenhouse gases, and provides opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy nature.
One of the largest single acquisitions of natural area park in the city’s history occurred in 2011, when the City of Portland, Metro and the Trust for Public Land acquired the 146-acre River View Natural Area. The purchase protects a valuable piece of forest land that helps connect Forest Park, Tryon State Natural Area, and the Willamette River. Seven streams, 130 plant species and dozens of bird and wildlife species are found on the property, but it had been subject to many years of neglect. Portland Parks and Recreation, Environmental Services’ Watershed Revegetation Program and community volunteers are working together to stabilize conditions by removing invasive species, establishing native plants, and preventing erosion. In just two seasons of land management and revegetation since 2011, the native forest is coming back to life.
River View Natural Area currently has limited public access while initial restoration activities are underway. This year, Portland Parks and Recreation will work with a project advisory committee to create a Habitat Management and Trail Plan that will protect and enhance the natural resources. Visit the Parks and Recreation website to find out more about this process and how you can get involved in shaping the future of the natural area: www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/62001.
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.
Photos: Before management, the forest was choked with ivy and other invasive plants (bottom). After initial revegetation efforts, the native plants are beginning to recover (top).