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Summer feels far away with this cold weather, but it wasn’t too long ago that a dedicated group was trekking through the depths of Forest Park to study some of Portland’s most pristine clean water and habitat resources. The park has more than 5,100 acres of forest that protect many streams that flow into the Willamette River.
Environmental Services’ Willamette Watershed staff, along with Portland Parks and Recreation and the Forest Park Conservancy, surveyed more than 10 miles of stream that had not previously been surveyed. This included Doane, Saltzman, Rocking Chair, Munger, Newton and Linnton Creeks. Each stream was surveyed from the bottom (Highway 30) to the top (private property boundary or Skyline Blvd.). If you've ever hiked up one of the park's fire lanes, you know how steep the terrain can be!
In-stream surveys assess the condition of each of the streams. Information is collected to identify locations where problems exist, as well as areas containing high value resources. This information is then analyzed to support watershed and stormwater planning efforts.
Staff documented a wide variety of stream conditions. Miles of dense native riparian vegetation and large wood debris provide excellent habitat for aquatic organisms and naturally filter water. Red legged frogs and Pacific Giant salamanders are some of the amphibians that live in Forest Park.
Some of the challenges to be addressed include crumbling culverts under trails that cause erosion and damage streams. Staff even found some old cars deep in the forest.
Interested in helping out and learning more about Forest Park? Mark February 8 on your calendar for the next Volunteer Stewardship Day in the park. It’s a good way to beat the winter blues!
Explore Forest Park on your own: Check out www.forestparkconservancy.org for trail maps, books, and history.
Find out about more ways to help Portland's natural areas through Portland Parks & Recreation's stewardship programs: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/stewardship