Ruby Lake restoration complete, second phase to start in summer
A private firm, Phil Trask and Associates, along with the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce, recently completed a restoration project on Sauvie Islands Ruby Lake and will be moving forward tracking the projects success as it relates to salmon runs.
The Ruby Lake Tidal Restoration Project was the first phase of an effort to encourage native plants and boost salmon runs. Trask and Associates and CREST will also move on to restoring two other sites on the island next summer.
Allan Whiting, principal with Trask and Associates, who headed up the projects feasibility study with CREST, said on Monday, Nov. 25, that bulldozers left the Ruby Lake project site only two weeks ago.
We completed phase one about Sept. 30 and just a clean-up has been taking place since, Whiting said. Were starting phase two, which will be Millionaire and Deep Widgeon [lakes].
For now, CREST and the private firm will keep a close eye on the Ruby Lakes water levels and species populations while determining how to go about the other two, similar projects.
The Ruby Lake project is being funded by the Bonneville Power Association to improve fish passage in the area and remove invasive weeds.
BPA put down money for juvenile salmon habitat, but we didnt want to do that at the expense of waterfowl protected by [the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife], Whiting said. By bringing in more water, we thought we could meet the needs of both species.
Whiting said Trask and Associates will make a proposal to CREST and BPA for phase two of the project next June.
The Ruby Lake project involved the removal of a water control structure that ran across a tidal slough on the lake. The structure was meant to control the lakes water levels, but it wasnt as effective as intended, said Tom Josephson, project manager with CREST, in an earlier interview with the Spotlight. The structure resulted in an increase in the invasive reed canary grass as well as a decrease in fish passage to the area.
Whiting said CREST took on the design and construction responsibilities of the project to remove the water control structure in order to lower the marsh plane, hindering the water-loving reed canary grass and allowing for easier passage of native fish.
Josephson said with less water, reed canary grass will thrive. By allowing more water, Crest and the private firm hope to choke out the grass and encourage native growth.
Its about 50 percent reed canary grass right now, Whiting said.
Aside from CRESTs plans to replant the disturbed area with native willow and other shrubs, Whiting said his firm will be taking multiple steps to monitor the projects success.
We have an effectiveness monitoring plan in place. Thats where well track and see how wetland plant communities respond, he said. One of the benchmarks was to increase native plant cover by 25 percent.
Whiting said the monitoring plan entails detailed plant surveys and recording water levels with probes.
Were trying to increase the time the water stays there; increase the duration of water, he said. What were hoping to achieve is a 35.8 percent increase in water volume. ... When the snow-melt comes rolling down, thats when well be paying really close attention.Add a comment