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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

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Critter cameras reveal hidden world of Oaks Bottom wildlife

(June 2018) - In advance of a major restoration project happening at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge during summer 2018, Environmental Services’ scientists  set up motion-activated wildlife cameras to survey activity in the project area. The cameras have captured scenes of beaver at work, otters enjoying a meal, a great blue heron fishing, and more. Much of the footage show wildlife at night - when many of the hundreds of species that call the refuge home are most active.

Otter enjoying a meal

Otter are a frequent visitor to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.  With our motion sensor cameras, Environmental Services captured otter having a meal: a carp and freshwater mussel.  


Otter Family out for a swim

Beaver building a den

Evidence of beaver activity is found all around Oaks Bottom, but because they are nocturnal (active at night), we rarely see them working.  

Mink: A 9-second glimpse of this hard-to-see mammal

Mink are super shy and therefore hard to spot. They have been seen along Crystal Springs Creek at Reed College, and now  also confirmed at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy this nine-second glimpse of a mink making an appearance by the water.

 More about our critter camera

The Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge restoration project will improve water flow and habitat for protected wildlife species, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, bats and salmon.

Environmental Services staff surveyed bird and mammal activity early in the year in advance of the spring nesting and denning season to ensure that measures were in place to protect them. Wildlife is most vulnerable during the nesting or denning season – when young cannot fend for themselves.  Luckily, most of the construction activity, scheduled to occur this summer, happens outside of these sensitive time frames.

Spring work involved removing some trees in the project area to allow for restoration of the channel. The wood will be reused as habitat logs.. Staff at Portland Parks & Recreation also surveyed for amphibian egg masses (and even relocated a few!)

Much of the wildlife will disperse to other locations in the refuge when construction begins on July 1st.  Before July 1, staff from Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the non-profit Xerces Society will survey for fish, freshwater mussels, amphibians and reptiles and relocate them to ensure that they are not harmed during construction.