Last Tuesday we brought our Board of Directors to two project sites, one on Milk Creek (a tributary to the Molalla River) and the other an area of mixed commercial and urban uses that drains to the Willamette River.
Milk Creek is eroding the banks at our project site, and fish habitat is impaired. Historically, splash dams were used on Milk Creek to transport logs downstream. This practice probably scoured the creek to bedrock many years ago, flushing gravel and woody material out of the system. Our goals at Milk Creek are to move the thalweg away from the eroding bank and add a substantial amount of dead and growing wood to the system. This will reduce bank erosion and restore vital habitat for salmonids.
The mixed use area is near the Prairie View development between Aurora and Wilsonville. This area used to be farmed, and now has some industrial properties, commercial nurseries, a golf course, and housing developments. If you picture a watershed as a bathtub, the housing development sits at the bathtub drain when excess water runs off land located uphill. The Clackamas County SWCD is collaborating with landowners to find solutions to erosion and runoff issues.