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Rock Creek Watershed Wide event set for Happy Valley

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Volunteers are asked to preregister for the event and meet at 8:30 a.m. March 11 at Happy Valley City Hall, where shuttles will take them to Pendarvis Farm

The sixth annual Rock Creek Watershed Wide event on March 11 is "a great event for all ages, with educational components, music and a chance to contribute to the health of the Rock Creek Watershed," said Alix Danielsen, communication and program specialist with the Clackamas River Basin Council.

"Volunteers will learn about native and invasive plants and their impact on water quality and aquatic habitat. There's a little something for everyone, and it's a really fun community event that people return to year after year," she said.

Volunteers are asked to preregister for the event and meet at 8:30 a.m. March 11 at Happy Valley City Hall, where shuttles will take them to Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley.

After the kick-off gathering at the farm, volunteers will split up into three groups and will be transported to one of three sites.

"At each site, volunteers will plant a wide variety of native trees and shrubs along Rock Creek. We walk volunteers through the planting process and talk about the natives as we go," Danielsen said.

The event will wrap up around 1 p.m.

Pendarvis Farm

After filling out registration forms, event attendees will gather in the Galaxy Barn at Pendarvis Farm, the site of the Pickathon Festival, to listen to bluegrass music played by the Ten Spiders Band.

"They're a lively group that really rev up the energy in the morning," Danielsen said. "This event is a chance for us to bring together a large group of community members each year to celebrate Rock Creek and engage people in caring for this valuable watershed."

Danielsen added: "We want it to be a celebratory event, and one that people will return to each year. Music always helps create that kind of environment."

Rock Creek is an important tributary of the Clackamas River, which provides high-quality drinking water to more than 300,000 people and provides critical habitat for many sensitive species of plants, fish and wildlife.

Volunteers will help the environment by clearing invasive species, Danielsen said.

"Invasive plants establish themselves within riparian areas along creeks and waterways, choking out the diverse native species that contribute to clean, cool water and provide habitat for wildlife and native fish species," she said.

"The sites for the Watershed Wide event are in the process of being cleared of invasive species, and our volunteers will help us revive these degraded riparian areas by planting them with an array of native trees and shrubs," Danielsen added.

Partnerships

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Twins Ben and Jake Harvey plant a fir tree during the Rock Creek Watershed Wide event in March of 2015. This year's event takes place on March 11 at various sites in Happy Valley. Three organizations come together to put on this annual event: Clackamas River Basin Council, Friends of Trees, and Dig In Community.

"These organizations make up the Rock Creek Partnership, which works with landowners to revitalize streamside habitats by removing invasive species, such as blackberry and ivy, and replanting the areas with native vegetation," Danielsen said.

"Restoring native plant communities grows a canopy over our creeks, which filters drinking water, provides wildlife habitat, and increases property value. We do this with support from Clackamas County Water Environment Services, and the Watershed Wide Event is our chance to engage the community in this vital work being done in the basin," Danielsen said.

"It's always such a heartwarming experience to see how many people come out to this event and take action to improve and protect Rock Creek. We hope to continue to engage the expanding and diverse community around Rock Creek and connect folks to this valuable resource where they live."

Restore habitat

What: The Rock Creek Partnership invites volunteers to the sixth annual Rock Creek Watershed Wide event

When: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11

Where: Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Happy Valley City Hall, 16000 S.E. Misty Drive

Register: Visit rockcreekpartnership.org/annual-event/ and click on the registration form to preregister for the event, or call Jenny or Randi at 503-595-0213.