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Creekside, Earth Day activities aim to restore habitat in Happy Valley, Estacada areas

More than a dozen volunteers braved the cold on Saturday, March 2, to put native plants in the ground PHOTO BY ANDREW GRIFFIN - Mark Bentz watches Ruby, his 12-year-old daughter, wield a pickax to attack hard soil during a work party at 3-Creeks Natural Area. at 3-Creeks Natural Area, a 90-acre site adjacent to the North Clackamas Aquatic Park on Harmony Road. The work party was sponsored by the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District and Water Environment Services, which partner to manage the site.

Tonia Williamson, NCPRD natural resources coordinator, told volunteers that 3-Creeks is important, as it is home to a "rare patch of 200-year-old Oregon white oak trees, which used to dominate the entire Willamette Valley."

The three creeks that come together at the site also are important, as they ultimately flow into the Willamette River, she said.

"As we work (here), we're enhancing the site for important habitat and water quality," Williamson said.

For those who missed Saturday's work party, other events are on the horizon, including one on March 13 at a 1.5-acre site along Mount Scott Creek.

Work parties such as this one help "build a sense of community in our natural areas," said Patrick Wegner, NCPRD natural area technician.

In addition, these events "give the land back to a natural environment," he said.

At the start of the event, Wegner showed workers how to put bare-root plants in the ground and also explained how to use the tools provided.

Mark Bentz and his 12-year-old daughter, Ruby, were among the volunteers at 3-Creeks.

Ruby said she attended the planting event because of her love of the outdoors, whereas her father said he has studied environmental science and knows how work parties enhance the ecology of natural areas.

"By planting more of the indigenous species, a more sustainable environment is established for those species," which protects them from invasives, Bentz said.

Riparian restoration

Matt Jordan, NCPRD natural area program coordinator, noted that the district will partner with the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council to restore a 1.5-acre site along Mount Scott Creek. "NCUWC cleared the site of invasive Himalayan blackberry this fall, and we have a whopping 1,800 plants to put in its place," he said.

The work party will take place from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at Southeast 117th and Sunnyside Road in Happy Valley. Valley View Evangelical Church will allow volunteers to park in the church's lot, Jordan said. All tools and gloves will be provided. Visit https://ncurbanwatershed.wordpress.com/events/ for more information.

Volunteers also are needed for a work party at Trillium Creek at Burlwood from 9:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 16.

Meet at Southeast Eckert Lane and Southeast Oak Meadow Court, Damascus, and join the Clackamas River Basin Council in planting native trees and shrubs along the banks. Trillium Creek feeds into Rock Creek, an important tributary to the Clackamas River, and provides critical habitat for many sensitive species of plants, fish and wildlife, including anadromous species, such as salmon.

By creating a healthy riparian zone along Trillium Creek volunteers can minimize sedimentation and reduce water temperatures to restore this habitat.

This is a family-friendly event. Youth are welcome if accompanied by an adult, though activities are most appropriate for ages 5 and up. Volunteers are asked to bring work gloves, sturdy shoes or rubber boots and dress in layers. Tools and refreshments will be provided.

Sign up for the event by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Putting meaning in Earth Day

Earth Day this year is Saturday, April 20, and two major environmental events are planned, one in Happy Valley and another in Estacada.

Friends of Trees will partner with North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council to plant native trees and shrubs near the headwaters of Mount Scott Creek from 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Happy Valley Heights Natural Area. Volunteers will meet at 11418 S.E. Norwood Loop, Happy Valley.

Hundreds of native trees and shrubs are ready to be planted at this site. Gloves, tools and guidance will be provided. To RSVP, contact Jenny, Pablo and Carey at 503-595-0213 or visit This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For the second event, join the Clackamas River Basin Council, Trout Unlimited, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon State Parks in placing recycled Christmas trees into a side channel of the Clackamas River. These trees will increase habitat complexity and create safe places for threatened and endangered salmon and trout to congregate.

This event is from 9 a.m.-noon at Milo McIver State Park, Estacada. To sign up, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 503-303-4372, ext. 101.

This is a family-friendly event. Youth are welcome if accompanied by an adult, though activities are most appropriate for ages 10 and up.

Volunteers are asked to bring work gloves, sturdy shoes or rubber boots and dress in layers. Tools and refreshments will be provided.

Andrew Griffin contributed to this story.


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