Environmental Services is gearing up for another stream restoration project, this time letting local beavers engineer and build it. The Lower Errol Heights Restoration Project is located at 4543 SE Harney Drive on Errol Creek, a tributary of Johnson Creek.
Errol Creek, a tributary of Johnson Creek in Southeast Portland.
Beginning July 15, Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will remove man-made structures that impede the natural movement of the creek and wetlands, allowing local beaver to settle in and restore the wetlands over time. After the structures are removed, PP&R partners and volunteer groups will help re-establish the wetlands by removing a pipe that directs hillside springs away from wetlands and into Errol Creek, and will remove invasive plants and establish natives throughout the site.
A major limiting factor for fish within the city is the lack of refuge habitat. The abundant, cold, high quality springs and location near Johnson Creek spawning habitat make Errol Creek ideal refuge and rearing habitat. In fact, juvenile rainbow/steelhead trout were observed in Errol Creek from 2011 to 2013 during fish surveys.
Weirs in the stream prevent fish passage to valuable refuge and rearing habitat.
The project is at the western end of Errol Heights Park, a unique 12-acre natural area. In the 1990s, Errol Heights was covered in invasive species and used as an illegal dump. Neighbors restored the open space through monthly work parties led by PP&R and non-profits.
In 2007 and 2009, the city completed restoration projects at Upper Errol Heights and at the confluence of Errol and Johnson creeks. Since then, beaver have established active populations at both sites, further expanding wetlands in these areas.
Read more here about how beavers help with water quality, restoration and flood mitigation, and see their work at other Johnson Creek projects.