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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MORGAN PARKS - The Clackamas River Basin Council's professional planting crew works at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada along Clackamas River.  The council will sponsor a work party in Eagle Creeek on Sat. Jan. 23.

The sun won't shine quite as brightly on the Clackamas River basin in the future — and that's not a bad thing.

Through the Shade our Streams program, organized by the Clackamas River Basin Council and funded by Portland General Electric, 400 native trees will be planted along Currin Creek on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Shade our Streams works with landowners along the Clackamas River and its subsidiaries to replace invasive weeds with native shrubs and trees.

Since the start of the program in 2012, 325,000 trees and shrubs have been planted.

The program is funded by PGE’s Clackamas Fund, which finances projects for habitat improvement and water quality along the Clackamas River.

“(The fund supports) a variety of projects, from tree planting to removing various impediments,” said Steve Corson, communications official at PGE.

John Esler, the project manager for Shade our Streams at PGE, estimated that the project gets approximately half a million dollars per year.

The Shade our Streams program seeks to lower the water temperature of the river and replace invasive species with native plants.

Native plants offer numerous benefits and help create a better habitat for plants, animals, fish and people alike.

“There are so many valuable functions,” said Morgan Parks, Environmental Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Clackamas River Basin Council. “Native plants are the healthiest ones for an environment.”

Because native plants have stronger root systems than invasive species, which often have no root systems, they hold soil along the riverbank in place. This reduces bank erosion, slows flood water and filters runoff.

“The root systems help capture chemicals before they can get in the water,” Parks said.

This is particularly valuable, since Estacada receives its drinking water from the Clackamas River.

Planting native plants is also beneficial as they thrive in Oregon weather and are less likely to become stressed out by hot summers and cold and wet winters.

Because they naturally adapt to this climate, native plants require less care than non-natives do.

As time goes on, these plants will provide shade that will lower water temperatures in the Clackamas River.

Interested landowners can reach out to the Clackamas River Basin Council to have their property worked on. The service is free of charge.

“The landowners are doing it because they want to see shade and get rid of invasive species,” said Esler.

In Estacada and Eagle Creek, 48 sites are enrolled in the Shade our Streams program.

The Jan. 23 work party along Currin Creek will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will plant 200 grand firs and 200 Douglas firs.

Parks hopes to see 20 or more people at the event. She noted that members of the Timberlake Job Corps and Estacada’s Ford Leadership cohort have RSVP’d.

She encourages anyone interested to join them.

“It’s a great way to get involved in the community,” Parks said. “It could help you meet your new year’s resolution.”

To RSVP for the work party, email Parks at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Volunteers are encouraged to wear gloves, rubber boots and other outdoor apparel.

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