Get your hands dirty for Clackamas County environment
Opportunities abound for volunteers to help the environment on Saturday, March 2. The 21st annual Watershed Wide volunteer event and work parties at 3-Creeks Natural Area and Trillium Creek Park will take place that day.
The Johnson Creek Watershed Council hopes to attract hundreds of volunteers at 10 sites within the local watershed for a day of stewardship and community building.
Restoration work will take place from 8:45 a.m.-noon, followed by a free pizza party for all participants from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Volunteers will help improve the streamside habitat by planting over 3,000 native trees and shrubs, mulching young plantings and removing harmful invasive weeds.
To register for this community event, visit jcwc.org/events/wwe21.
Volunteers may choose from 10 restoration sites, located in and around Milwaukie, Southeast Portland, Happy Valley, Gresham and Boring. The sites feature a dormant volcano, ancient caldera, a reclaimed 100-year floodplain, and nature and boardwalk trails.
JCWC organizers said the event is an outstanding opportunity to give back to the natural environment in one of the region's most important and densely populated urban watersheds.
Johnson Creek is a unique urban stream that flows 26 miles through four cities in two counties, and is one of the last free-flowing streams in Portland. It also is the area's only tributary to the Willamette River still supporting threatened coho and chinook salmon species.
The North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District is sponsoring both the 3-Creeks and Trillium Creek Park events.
The original 3-Creeks work party, scheduled for Feb. 9, was canceled due to snow and ice that day. Now, Matt Jordan, natural area program coordinator for NCPRD, invites the community to the rescheduled event from 9 a.m.-noon March 2 at 7300 S.E. Harmony Road, Milwaukie, near the North Clackamas Aquatic Park.
Volunteers are urged to show up on time, since the group will be hard to find once it leaves the parking lot meeting area. Jordan also asks that participants dress appropriately for the task and weather.
The 3-Creeks Natural Area is "a 90-acre sanctuary of excellent wildlife habitat surrounded by urban development. Deer, coyotes, beaver, otter and countless birds call it home," Jordan said.
There are no formal trails or facilities in the natural area, so the best way to see it is to participate in a work party, he added.
Volunteers may be working on steep and slippery slopes, dealing with thorny brush and using hand tools. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants are a must. All tools will be provided.
Volunteers also are needed to help restore habitat at Trillium Creek Park by planting native vegetation. That work party takes place from 9 a.m.-noon at the park, 16803 S.E. Anderegg Parkway, Damascus.
More information about both NCPRD events may be found at ncprd.com/natural-resources/volunteer.
Discover a new area
Volunteers at last year's Watershed Wide event were happy to comment on what they liked best about it and why they are returning this year.
"The Rotary Club of Clackamas was looking for an organization to partner with for an environmentally focused service project. We were referred to the Johnson Creek Watershed Council and it has been a fantastic match," said Dennis Curtis, immediate past president of Rotary Club of Clackamas.
"The council is very organized and provided all the necessary tools and plants. We just showed up and got our hands dirty, and had fun doing it," he said.
"I love the Watershed Wide event because we introduce so many new volunteers to Tideman Johnson Park — a tiny urban natural area that might be easy to miss," said Marianne Colgrove, leader of Friends of Tideman Johnson Park.
"It is inspiring for all of us to know that we are working in concert with so many other volunteers throughout the watershed," she said.
Neil Schulman is the executive director of the North Clackamas Watersheds Council, an organization partnering with NCPRD for the 3-Creeks work party. He said the site is ecologically significant because it is at the confluence of Mt. Scott, Phillips and Deer creeks.
The community should come out in support of the planting event at 3-Creeks because it will be fun and a good way to meet neighbors, he said.
Also, work parties like this one are "enormously helpful to the environment," Schulman said.
"Native shrubs and trees absorb carbon, provide wildlife habitat, help shade the stream and stabilize the banks."
Want to help?
What: 21st annual Watershed Wide volunteer event and work parties at 3-Creeks Natural Area and Trillium Creek Park
When: Watershed Wide is from 8:45 a.m.-noon; the other two events are from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 2
Where: Visit jcwc.org/events/wwe21/ to register and choose from among 10 sites for the Watershed Wide event. Visit ncprd.com/natural-resources/volunteer to register and get directions to both of the NCPRD events.