Metro awards $25,000 to efforts at Camassia

Expanded rehabilitation project will enlist help of WLHS field science students
by:  VERN UYETAKE Camassia Natural Area in West Linn — named after the common camas, shown — will receive the help of rehabilitation efforts to control invasive species and sow local willow cuttings, among other trees and shrubs.

Thanks to the help of a Metro grant, volunteers at West Linn's Camassia Natural Area will expand their reach and their rehabilitation efforts at the preserve.

Metro, the elected regional government for the Portland metro area, awarded its Nature in Neighborhood grants May 19, bringing more than $900,000 to seven environmental projects throughout Clackamas County, including $25,000 to the Camassia Natural Area.

The grant program is part of a region-wide conservation initiative to ensure a healthy urban ecosystem.

According to The Nature Conservancy, which purchased the property in 1962, Camassia Natural Area is named for the common camas that bloom each spring and hosts more than 300 plant species. One such species is the Oregon White Oak, which the nonprofit organization has worked to preserve thanks to a previous Nature in Neighborhood grant in 2006.

This year, The Nature Conservancy will expand its rehabilitation efforts into West Linn High School's neighboring property as well as onto land owned by the city of West Linn.

In all, the project will span three landowners, 138 acres and multiple habitats and will engage more than 200 students in WLHS' field sciences program.

'I am excited about the opportunity to work with both The Nature Conservancy and the city of West Linn to form a coordinated program to manage our respective properties with the common goal of restoring the ecological function of this area,' said Jim Hartmann, West Linn High School's AP Environmental Science teacher.

During the first year of the rehabilitation project, volunteers will work to control invasive species and prepare the area for replanting and reseeding. During the second year, they will plant local willow cuttings, other trees and shrubs along 200 feet of degraded stream. They'll also sow more than five pounds of native forbs in oak woodland and herbaceous bald habitats, which have declined dramatically in the Willamette Valley, according to project coordinators.

'It's exciting to see the ideas and passions of community members, government agencies and local organizations come together to benefit our environment,' said Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette, whose district includes much of Clackamas County.

The Nature Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that preserves plants, animals and natural communities representing the diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive, according its website. The conservancy protects 117 million acres worldwide, 483,000 of those acres are in Oregon.

For more information about the conservancy and its efforts at the Camassia Natural Area, visit