Just off SE Foster Rd in outer SE Portland is an unexpected surprise: a half-mile section of Johnson Creek surrounded by mature, second-growth conifer forest, including a handful of old-growth trees that survived logging in the area. For the past two years, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) has been teaming up with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) and numerous landowners to remove problematic plant species that threaten this forest, and to plant native trees and understory on several contiguous private properties along Johnson Creek in this area.
JCWC had done several years of work on a few of these properties, but the partnership with EMSWCD presented an opportunity for a much more concerted effort at the neighborhood scale. Landowners in the area have been able to work either directly with EMSWCD through their Cooperative Landowner Incentive Program (CLIP)—a cost-share program that reimburses landowners for up to 75% of project expenses—or with JCWC through our free CreekCare program, which provides work crews and/or volunteer groups to remove ivy, blackberry, and other nuisance species and replace them with native trees, shrubs and ground covers.
Funding for JCWC’s work in the area comes from money provided by EMSWCD, as part of a larger grant JCWC has received for the past several years to support restoration, outreach, and community science efforts. This funding gave JCWC the opportunity to apply for and receive a small grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, which provided additional financial support for our restoration efforts. JCWC and EMSWCD are now actively restoring a combined total of eight different properties, six of them contiguous (and the other two are next door to each other, just down the street); all told, this partnership is enabling the restoration of more than six acres, covering 0.25 miles of stream bank. Many thanks to all the funders, work and volunteer crews, and cooperating landowners!