-  Council celebrates growth and partnerships at the end of 2013

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council’s Steve Wise said that 2013 was a dynamic year for the council.

Not only did the organization grow by adding a new stewardship coordinator and three new council members, the partnership of community members and organizations restored more than 8,000 feet of side channels, planted more than 2,500 trees, removed more than 4,000 pounds of garbage from the Salmon River headwaters, pulled more than 5 acres of invasive plants, and tossed more than 1,800 salmon carcasses back into the river.

Wise said the group also “paddled our river, trained volunteers to identify and remove invasive species, monitored water quality ... organized community dialogues on major issues, rallied a diverse community around salmon recovery, and celebrated the removal of the Sandy Delta Dam.”

“It was a really special year for the council,” he said. “We had a lot of help.”

Because of the amount of help received this year from organizations such as Mt. Hood Community College, local high schools, local governments, and other fish and water-related nonprofit groups, the council was able to address a wide range of projects up and down the river from Timberline to Troutdale.

The Northwest Youth Corps helped the council rid a large area of an invasive species: policeman’s helmet. The plant can grow up to 10 feet tall and produces hundreds of seeds per plant. Over several weeks, the team pulled up thousands of plants along the river, also removing hundreds of thousands of seeds from the seed bank.

The council also helped with the removal of the Sandy Delta Dam, opening a channel into the river that had not run for 80 years.

Wise was excited by this particular success. “Anytime you can remove a major dam on a major river, that’s a big deal,” he said. To him, it was a great example of coordination between organizations.

Wise said it is inspiring to see the growth of the council. Despite its still small size, it is the largest it has ever been.

“It’s great that people are coming together and realizing that we can’t live without helping watersheds,” he said.

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