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Reed College honored with JCWC Riffle Award

by: David F. Ashton Zac Perry, Canyon restoration specialist at Reed College, stands next to JCWC executive director Matt Clark who presents their Community Riffle Award to Reed College’s Ed McFarlane, vice president, treasurer and Towny Angell, director of the facility's operations.

Reed College has been the site of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) annual meeting for several years. But this year, on May 26 in the school's Kaul Auditorium, the college itself received an award at the meeting - a 2011 Community Riffle Award.

JCWC's Executive Director, Matt Clark, told THE BEE that the organization was proud to recognize 'the work the college has done for well over a decade, to restore Upper Crystal Springs Creek and Reed Canyon.'

During the awards presentation, Clark told the gathering, 'For the last several years, Steelhead Trout have been sighted (and captured on camera) using the fish ladder just downstream of Reed Lake. In 2010, Reed College implemented an ambitious habitat restoration project on Crystal Springs Creek downstream of Reed Canyon. The project included re-meandering Crystal Springs Creek, installing large woody debris, and installing bioswales to capture and treat stormwater from 28th Avenue.'

About receiving the award, Reed College's director of the facility's operations, Towny Angell, said, 'Receiving this award is a culmination of a concerted effort on the part of many different people, and recognizing the value of this resource on the campus. Historically, Crystal Springs has been highly revered by the college. It's great to be when the energies have come together to complete the portion on the Reed campus.'

Clark explained that a 'riffle', after which the annual award is named, is a place where water in a creek becomes faster-moving, and thus signifies change, at their May 26 annual meeting. 'Each year, we gather to honor the positive changes that have taken place in the watershed, and to honor those behind these positive changes.'

One of the year's highlights, Clark added, was the increase in volunteerism. 'Under the leadership of our volunteer coordinator, Amy Lodholz, we've tripled the number of volunteer hours given, over those in 2009. Another thing that we're excited to announce, starting this summer, is the 'Salmon Habitat Project' at the mouth of Johnson Creek, where it meets the Willamette River.'

In addition to the luncheon, guests this year heard nationally-recognized artist Buster Simpson tell why he features environmental themes in his public works - some of which will be on the forthcoming Portland-Milwaukie MAX light rail line.

Other awards

Clark said JCWC presents Riffle Awards in a total of five categories. This year's other winners were:

Youth/School Riffle Award: Marshall High School students in Amy Lindahl's Advanced Biology classes have been active 'creek keepers' whose projects have greatly benefitted Johnson Creek, the award recognized this work even as the school was closing permanently.

Individual: Ernie Francisco Award: Nicole Alexander, who co-developed their family hands-on program Discovery Saturdays, provided catering service at the Johnson Creek Art Show held in Sellwood and chairing this year's Johnson Creek Days committee.

Public Entities Riffle Award: Clackamas County Water Environment Services for installing sewer lines in a portion of unincorporated Clackamas County near Johnson Creek and collaborating with JCWC to re-vegetate along the creek at Mill Park.

Business Riffle Award: 'Milwaukie Bowl', for hosting two bowling fundraisers for the organization's benefit, helping the Council raise over $600 in 2010 and $800 in 2011.

To learn more about the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, visit their Internet website: www.jcwc.org.