Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District staff and Board of Directors are happy to welcome Drew Donahue as the District’s new Multi-County Riparian Technician. Donahue holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental studies from the University of Oregon. Previous to joining the District, she worked at the Confluence Environmental Center in Portland as an AmeriCorps member where she was a riparian specialist working in collaboration with long-time District partner Johnson Creek Watershed Council.
What Does a Riparian Technician Do?
“Riparian” means relating to or situated on the banks of a river or other body of water. Riparian technicians works with landowners to manage projects on private and public land that benefit fish and wildlife habitat, stabilize stream banks, and improve water quality of our local streams. This valuable work includes restoring riparian vegetation along stream banks and in floodplains so that floodwaters are slowed, reducing erosion and capturing nutrient-laden sediment.
In urban areas, healthy riparian zones can counteract the effects of concentrated runoff from pavement and buildings, protecting water quality and the river channel itself.
As a Multi-County Riparian Technician, Donahue will work with landowners in Clackamas, Yamhill, and Marion Counties to primarily promote, enroll, establish, and monitor riparian buffers under the USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Her CREP position involves:
- Assessing riparian function for water quality and habitat
- Acting as a liaison to landowners with state and federal agencies
- Developing conservation plans to address identified resource concerns
- Managing riparian project implementation
- Overseeing contracted activities
- Providing technical information during installation and maintenance periods
- Conducting program monitoring and reporting
Donahue grew up in the Portland Metro area and some of her fondest memories are of going to the coast. Remembering those trips, she shared, “I think I actually enjoyed the drive out to the coast more than going to the beach itself. I loved driving through the trees, looking at the terrain, appreciating nature.”
Prior to her AmeriCorps position, Donahue worked as a lab technician at the Hallett Ecology Lab at the University of Oregon where she studied pig grazing on the understory of oak woodland. While in college, she also took part in the Environmental Leadership Program and was part of the riparian restoration team. She gained native plant experience working in a greenhouse and and while managing the native plant courtyard at the Eugene Natural and Cultural History Museum.
When she’s not busy working, Donahue enjoys camping and hiking, especially plant identification hikes! She is also an avid video gamer.
“I’m excited to be working with landowners,” says Donahue. “I love to see spaces go from being un-managed and full of invasives to areas teeming with healthy native plants and wildlife.” She is looking forward to lots of transformational experiences in Clackamas, Marian, and Yamhill counties over the next year. She looks forward to a long and productive career in natural resources, especially in developing and restoring riparian and oak habitat.
We are happy to have her on our team!