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Getting shady

More than 100,000 native trees, shrubs will be planted this winter


Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Clackamas River Basin Council Outreach Specialist Chelsea White-Brainard pauses to smile for the camera at Milo McIver State Park. In fall 2014, PGE completed a fish habitat restoration project in side channels in the park in an effort to improve juvenile fish rearing habitats. 'The project adds habitat complexity and will be used year-round for rearing and resting by juvenile steelhead and salmon that will eventually migrate out of the Clackamas River to the ocean,' said Steve Corson, a communications official for PGE. Last week, the Clackamas River Basin Council contracted the removal of invasive species and replanting with native trees and shrubs in a buffer near this side channel.The lower Clackamas watershed is getting lots of TLC thanks to the Clackamas River Basin Council’s replanting efforts.

The council plans to plant more than 100,000 native trees and shrubs along streams in the lower Clackamas watershed this winter.

“These young trees and shrubs have their work cut out for them. In addition to controlling bank erosion and serving as wildlife habitat, they filter dirty water as it runs off parking lots and fields, slow floodwaters, and produce an umbrella of shade over the water, cooling it for the benefit of salmon and people alike,” the council stated in a press release.

CRBC Outreach Specialist Chelsea White-Brainard said the council plants a mixture of native trees and shrubs in an effort to create thick vegetation with multiple canopy levels.

The tactic also is a defense against the return of invasive species.

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Zachary Bergen, the field activities coordinator for the Clackamas River Basin Council holds up some Douglas Spiraea. Bergen said 10,305 native trees and shrubs would be planted at the Milo McIver State Park site alone.“The single best thing we can do for salmon recovery in the Clackamas watershed is to plant native trees and shrubs along streams,” Tim Shibahara, fish biologist with Portland General Electric, was quoted in the press release.

PGE is funding the council’s Shade Our Streams program, through which much of the planting is taking place.

White-Brainard said the council is aiming to plant native trees and shrubs along 30 miles of streams through the program.

Three years into Shade Our Streams with three more planting years left to go, 16.5 miles have already been planted.

Through the program, the council partners with streamside property owners to provide no-cost invasive species removal, replanting with native trees and shrubs in a buffer around the stream and site maintenance.

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Zachary Bergen, the field activities coordinator for the Clackamas River Basin Council, stands in downed canes of invasive Himalayan Blackberry, recently removed from the slopes near a side channel of the river in Milo McIver State Park on Thursday, Jan. 29. The area was replanted with native trees and shrubs such as the Douglas Spiraea he holds. “PGE’s funds allow CRBC to provide the services needed to plant and sustain native trees and shrubs on their eligible streamside property with no direct cost to the landowner,” said Steve Corson, a communications official for PGE. “These native plants will provide cooling shade to the stream as well as cover for birds and small mammals as they grow. As the plant grows and plant material eventually falls into the stream, it helps collect other migrating logs and sticks, adds nutrients to the water, and provides cover from predation and feeding areas for juvenile salmon.”

Properties eligible for the program must be in the Clackamas River watershed below River Mill Dam with year-round streams that flow into the Clackamas River.

White-Brainard said the council is prioritizing properties along Deep Creek and Eagle Creek for the program.

“Every property that we plant will get three years of maintenance,” White-Brainard said. “We want to make sure the plants we’re investing all this in will have the chance to survive.”

To date, 46 Estacada and Eagle Creek landowners are enrolled in the Shade Our Streams Program.

White-Brainard said 93,490 native trees and shrubs have already been or will be planted in the next couple weeks on Estacada and Eagle Creek properties.

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Clackamas River Basin Council Outreach Specialist Chelsea White-Brainard explains that revegetation with native trees and shrubs in buffers along streams and tributaries to the Clackamas River is part of a long term solution to lower river temperatures.Terence King, a Shade Our Streams participant, said he is thrilled with the program.

Saling Creek flows through the center of King’s Duus Road property. (Saling Creek feeds Currin Creek, which feeds Eagle Creek.)

King remembers getting a postcard from the council a few years ago, informing him that he’d been identified as a streamside property owner and inviting him to the program, but he didn’t take them up on it.

Around 2010, King decided to tackle a thick mass of blackberries along the stream.

He was pleased to have them cleared, but a few years later the weed came “roaring back.”

Clearing the invasive berry hadn’t been easy.

King remembers that even with hired help and working to clear the weed once or twice a week, it took two years before he had been able to remove the blackberries himself.

When he got a CRBC postcard again last year, the blackberries were out of control again, so King took the council up on their offer.

At no cost to King, workers contracted by the council removed the blackberries on either side of the creek and are scheduled to replant native species this month.

“I’m pretty well pleased with the work that’s been done so far,” King said, adding that he was seriously considering donating to the council.

For more information on the Shade Our Streams program visit the Clackamas River Basin Council website.

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