On Thursday, May 25, 2017, we celebrated our 22nd birthday at our signature Annual Celebration event at Reed College. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and it was really fun watching people walk up the paths to the event all dressed up, (especially when so often we see each other out in the field wearing rubber boots and rain coats!) More people came to our party than ever before–the room was full of 184 friendly faces. The tables were decorated with local wildflowers and party guests roamed the silent auction tables while sipping on drinks. There was an array of fantastic items in the silent auction, including a vacation stay in Newport with a private tour of the Hatfield Marine Center, dance lessons, cooking classes, breathtaking bird photography, lots of outdoor gear, food and wine. All this was made possible by donations coordinated by volunteers-including our board members.
Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner, gave an excellent keynote address contextualizing our work at the Johnson Creek Watershed Council as a part of a larger whole within the City of Portland. He shared the details about several exciting projects from Tryon Creek to the Columbia Slough that all contribute to the restoration of our very special wild places in the city.
Executive Director, Daniel Newberry, presented a year in review slideshow, covering our work in the past year in our six program areas: (1) People / Building Community, (2) Fish Passage, (3) Riparian Forests, (4) Water Quality, (5) Wildlife / Community Science, and (6) Watershed Science. He touched on some of our key accomplishments, such as the installation of the Badger Creek Culvert (our first culvert replacement project at the council!). Daniel also unveiled our plans for the North Fork Culvert replacement project. Removing fish passage barriers will allow wildlife to freely pass into the upper reaches of Johnson Creek.
There were a lot of other great accomplishments to celebrate this year, too! Our riparian program planted 21,261 native trees and shrubs on 15 parcels of private and public land, totaling 12 solid acres of restored habitat along the creek, helping to keep water cool and clean for fish and providing forage and breeding habitat for lots of other animals that rely on this urban sanctuary. Our community science program really took off this year, adding Beaver, Dragonfly, Lamprey, and Ecoblitz surveys to what was once just an annual Salmon survey. These surveys were powered by 210 community science volunteers. We can’t accomplish all of these great things without our incredible volunteer program, which had 1,955 total volunteer signups this year. 8,099 hours of work was contributed by this stellar community.
There are many people to thank for their part in making the restoration of Johnson Creek possible. As a part of our Annual Celebration, Riffle awards are presented for individuals and groups whose actions in the past year best exemplify our mission to promote restoration and stewardship of a healthy Johnson Creek. Riffle awards went to
Nonprofit/Community: Crystal Springs Partnership
School and Youth: North Clackamas School District’s Sabin-Schellenberg Center
Jurisdictional Partner: Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District
Business Partner: Moda Health
Ernie Francisco Award: (for an individual who has left an indelible legacy on the council for the year):
Youth Achievement Awards
We also had a new twist this year with two youth achievement awards, which went to two incredibly dedicated and accomplished high school students. Phil Nosler has been volunteering with the Council as a dragonfly surveyor and observed the earliest sighting on record of both the black meadowhawk and the autumn meadowhawk. He also recently discovered a millipede that is new to science! He’ll continue on with JCWC as a volunteer dragonfly mentor in the community science program in the 2017 season. Adam Nayak has been working with on independent research on the effects of urbanization on flooding in four stream basins near Portland since he was 12, collaborating with us for several years. The results of this project have helped to direct JCWC’s stormwater outreach efforts to get the community invested in installing stormwater systems in the parking lots of our local schools, churches, and businesses. Adam has recently won two international awards for his research, one for Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair, and the other for the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering and Environmental Project Olympiad.
We are so honored to be a part of this vibrant community of collective action. Thank you for making this year’s Annual Celebration fun, and a great success!
Read about the annual celebration in this article in the Portland Review!
Photos below all by Bruce MacGregor Photography