We would like to recognize and thank Erin Hauer, BS Landscape Architecture, for her landscape design and project support for the Brennan Property natural area restoration project that was installed on February 28th, 2016.
In addition, Erin along with Mary Ann Schmidt, developed a native plant list of species to vegetate both the southern parking strip as well as the riparian area around Crystal Springs at the 21st and SE Umatilla site. The plant collection represents native riparian and upland communities which will help to shade out existing invasive vegetation. The southern roadside planting strip contains native perennials with staggered bloom times, to support pollinators and for seasonal interest. Erin moved back to Colorado this past spring and plans to pursue a Masters in Landscape Architecture. Her dedication and passion for creating landscapes that help communities connect with the natural world will be truly missed.
Karl Lee, Crystal Springs Partnership July 12, 2016
While the answer to the age-old joke: “Why did the chicken cross the road?” could be any number of things, the answer as to why 2000 freshwater mussels (genus Anodonta) made their way across 4 lanes of traffic, as well as freight and MAX rails is crystal clear, and no joke at all.
On Friday July 8th, as setup was underway for construction of new road crossings over Crystal Springs Creek at Glenwood Street and Bybee Boulevard (just north of Westmoreland Park), about 25 citizen-scientist volunteers and watershed specialist prepared to retrieve, measure, tag, and relocate mussels upstream out of the project area. The relocation crew consisted of volunteers from Johnson Creek Watershed Council and Crystal Springs Partnership with guidance from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Further support was provided by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services staff.
A similar effort was done in 2013, when some of the same volunteers rescued mussels from a different reach of Crystal Springs Creek - in Westmoreland Park in advance of the epic reconstruction of the Park. At that time, over 700 mussels were relocated to the Creek up by Westmoreland’s Union Manor. Back then, and again just a few days ago, many, many people were both surprised at the abundance of mussels in the Creek and appreciative of them even though they can’t eat them!
The existence of mussels in Crystal Springs Creek is testament to the relatively cool, clean water. As mussels don’t have legs and don’t fly readily, their movement is dependent on fish, salmonids in particular, who serve as Uber (or is it Lyft?) hosts, carrying the larval mussels attached to their gills as the fish move through the watershed. So, as the fire trucks rumbled off to their next call, the backhoes moved the earth around, and patient motorists made their way through the construction site, we have evidence of the distribution of both fish and mussels in Crystal Springs Creek.
One may ask: “What do these 2000 mussels think about their new home, and what do the long-time residents in the reach up by the golf course think about these new arrivals?” Topside, in the human communities of the “Morelands” , both East and West, and on both sides of the tracks, similar questions swirl regarding infill, skinny little houses, big fat houses, demolitions, and migrants from, perish the thought outside the State! Our hope is the mussels, young and old, new arrivals and old guard, will all snuggle together in the mud, and continue to filter the water, contribute to the food web, and otherwise be upstanding members of the invertebrate community. We intend to follow up with the refugee mussel population in years to come (as we’ve been doing with the 2013 transplants), as well as monitor the eventual recolonization following reconstruction of the stream in the vicinity of Glenwood and Bybee.
Following removal of the last two passage-barrier culverts on Crystal Springs Creek, we’ll have relatively clear passage from the Creek’s headwaters near Reed College and the Rhododendron Garden areas, to the confluence with Johnson Creek, on down the line to the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, and to the Pacific Ocean.
Which leads me to my last question: “So, a mussel walks into a bar and asks, did you hear the one about the chicken….?”
Volunteers are needed for a pilot beaver survey project as a part of Johnson Creek Watershed Council's growing Community Science program. No prior experience is required.
Help JCWC document the distribution of beaver activity through Johnson Creek! Metro Ecologist Kate Holleran will teach volunteers about the role of beavers in watershed restoration; volunteers will also receive training in a cutting-edge beaver survey protocol.
Volunteers will work in pairs to survey 1-mile reaches of Johnson Creek and its tributaries, recording beaver activity along the way. Each volunteer pair will conduct one survey; the surveys will take approximately 3 hours, not counting travel time, and will be held August 20, September 3, and September 10. Volunteers must be able to walk for one mile in uneven, brushy terrain in warm weather, on streambanks and/or in the water. Waders and other safety equipment will be provided.
Volunteer orientation will be held on July 28th from 6pm-8pm. Please register at the JCWC page here.
Crystal Springs Partnership members, PSU Capstone students, and Special Guest writers all contribute to this blog.