Archive | Wildlife

The Wildlife category is about developing habitat conditions to enhance the life cycle of wild creatures, including fish. Our Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and riparian restoration activities are focused on habitat but also provide water quality benefits.

Improving Riparian Habitats One Landowner at a Time

Our partners at Molalla River Watch recently published their Summer 2016 Newsletter. This article below, written by Asako Yamamuro, Molalla River Watch Restoration Project Coordinator, captures the spirit of collaboration the District enjoys with our watershed partners. Their valuable on-the-ground work and hard-working volunteers enable the District to more effectively distribute resources throughout our community. Many thanks to Asako and Molalla River Watch for their permission to share this article.

Improving Riparian Habitats One Landowner at a Time

Wilderness International at BuellsWhen landowners ask for assistance, Molalla River Watch helps them out. The Buells, who live where the Molalla River and Cedar Creek meet, felt overwhelmed by their ivy problem. They approached Molalla River Watch for advice.

Through our partnerships with Clackamas Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, we brought in riparian and fish conservation experts to the Buells’ property. The experts assessed the extent of invasive weed infestation and determined the importance of their property to trout and salmon habitat. The riparian and fish experts discussed options to improve the Buells’ property for wildlife.

Buells before and afterWith the Buells’ goals in mind and a Conservation Plan written by Clackamas SWCD and tailored for their property, Molalla River Watch submitted a grant to Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to fund invasive weed removal and planting natives.

Molalla River Watch was awarded the grant and we have started implementing the Conservation Plan by collaborating with the Buells, volunteers, and Wilderness International, which runs at-risk youth work crews. We oversee the work and Clackamas SWCD specialists will assess progress towards accomplishing Conservation Plan goals. The Buells are glad they asked Molalla River Watch for advice and now significantly more wildlife will benefit.

Plan and Plant the Best Pollinator Habitat Possible

National Pollinator Week June 20-26

photographer Jason Faucera

Pollinator visiting camas, photo by Jason Faucera

If you have listened to news reports over the last few years, you probably know that pollinators are in trouble. They have had a serious decline in population due to habitat loss and chemical issues. Now that we know this, let us take some time to fill in the specifics of how we can provide good habitat for pollinators.

Consider some of these ways to make your pollinator garden or patch the most successful habitat possible!


Plant a grouping of the same flowering plant that measures at least three feet in diameter. A block of flowers provides several benefits such as requiring less energy for the bee or other pollinator to fly from flower to flower. Brightly colored groupings are easier to spot when a pollinator is looking for food. In addition, it gives you a better chance for you to provide enough food to sustain the pollinator population present at your location.


You may not have considered this, but not all bees can fly the same distance. Small bees such as the sweat bee may fly no more than 200 yards, whereas a large bee such as a bumble bee is able to fly a mile or more. Therefore, it makes sense to have your pollinator patches near the crops you want to have pollinated. Berry fields or backyard apple tree, it makes no difference because the concepts are the same!


Diversity is the key to pollinator habitat! Because there is a difference in physical features, not all pollinators can access the nectar and pollen of every flower. Differences in size, length of tongue, and mouthparts all dictate what types of flower can provide food for a pollinator. Bumble bees are large enough to push their way into a complex flower, but a pollinator such as a fly with short mouthparts will require a small, open flower such as yarrow or a daisy.

You should plan for a variety of flower size, shape, color, and height in your planting. Include plants with tubular flowers and complex flowers like tall lobelia and lupine; throw in some simple flowers such as asters and cosmos. Try plants that are low to the ground plants such as alyssum, medium size plants such as lavender and Echinacea and tall plants such as sunflowers. Do not forget flowering shrubs such as ceanothus and red flowering currants!

One last important detail to remember…make sure something is blooming all season long, from early spring to late fall. Your local pollinator will appreciate you!

To find out more about pollinators check out Attracting Native Pollinators , a Xerces Society Guide.

Be a Backyard Steward: Attend an Oak Habitat Presentation Near You

Only 5% or Oregon White Oak exists today.

Only 5% of Oregon’s white oak exists today.

NOTE: Final workshop is January 20, 2016 in Milwaukie!!

Do you live in North Clackamas County? Do you have Oregon white oak in your yard or neighborhood? Are you interested in learning about landscaping practices that can enhance oak habitat and species? If so, you have a terrific opportunity to attend a FREE informational meeting to learn more about white oak!

The first round of presentations and workshops will focus on interested landowners within north Clackamas County including Oregon City, West Linn, Milwaukie, Jennings Lodge, Oak Grove, North Clackamas, Southgate, and Lake Oswego. Please invite your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to join you at one of the following presentations:

  • Nov 16, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. – Lake Oswego Sustainability Advisory Board presentation, Main Fire Station Conference Room, 300 B Avenue, Lake Oswego
  • Nov 18, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. – North Clackamas Urban Watershed Council presentation, Oak Lodge Sanitary District, 14611 SE River Road, Oak Grove
  • Nov 19, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. – Oregon City Rivercrest Neighborhood Association presentation, First Presbyterian Church, 1321 Linn Ave, Oregon City
  • Dec 1, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. – Jennings Lodge Community Council presentation, Gladstone Church of the Nazarene, 4180 SE Jennings Ave, Jennings Lodge
  • Dec 7, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. – Gladstone Parks Board presentation, TO BE CONFIRMED
  • Dec 9, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. – Milwaukie Lake Road Neighborhood Association presentation, Rowe Middle School, 3606 SE Lake Rd., Milwaukie
  • January 20, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. – Milwaukie Island Station Neighborhood Association presentation, Milwaukie Grange, 12018 SE 21st Ave., Milwaukie

Presentation attendees will learn how to participate in a FREE workshop series focused on naturescaping with native Oregon white oak beginning spring of 2016. Workshop space will be limited.

These workshops will consist of:

  • one class session +Saturday field trips
  • two hands-on saturday workshops

If you are interested in participating in the workshops, please apply here. For more information, contact Ted Labbe or visit

These presentations and workshops are made possible via a joint collaboration between Metro, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, Indigenous Nations Studies, Oak Prairie Workgroup, The Intertwine, and Tualatin soil and Water conservation District.

Weir Removal…a dam good idea!

Weirs are barriers built in a stream to pool water for irrigation, recreation, and sometimes to generate power. They are found in many of our local streams, even though most are no longer in use, and often cause problems for juvenile fish. During times of low streamflow, these structures tend to be too tall for young fish to jump, and during high streamflow, the narrow opening in the weir causes the water to flow too quickly for young fish to navigate.

History of One Weir

Milk Creek WatershedwebMany years ago, crews at Camp Adams installed a weir on Nate Creek in the Milk Creek Watershed, to create a swimming hole for the retreat. Unfortunately, within a year the sediment buildup caused the swimming hole to become useless. This year, the current owners of Camp Adams felt it was time to return the stream to its original state, so they contacted the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District for assistance. Jenne Reische, riparian specialist, visited site visit and explained that once a stream is backed-up, gravel and debris that normally travels through the stream system becomes trapped. This causes the sediment build-up behind the weir and starves the lower part of the stream of needed woody debris and spawning gravel. Removing a weir and allowing a stream to flow naturally not only improves fish habitat downstream, but also opens up good habitat upstream.

Fixing the Problem

After many months of planning and permitting, the fall in-stream work window arrived and crews from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife brought in heavy equipment to remove the concrete and wood structure in Nate Creek. Prior to the weir removal, biologists routed the stream through a pipe to keep the deconstruction process from sending sediment and debris from the deconstruction downstream. As the water left the construction area, biologists quickly captured any stranded fish and released them downstream.
Removing the weir made Nate Creek a free-flowing stream. Additional improvements include two log jams and boulder clusters to provide places for insects to reside and young fish to rest. Crews planted native trees, shrubs, and small plants on the streamside to provide bank protection, shade, and habitat for the native birds and wildlife.

Success in the Stream

The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District and Camp Adams staff happily report that there is one less weir in the Milk Creek Watershed! “The Camp Adams community is excited and honored to be a part of local community efforts to restore and preserve the health and vitality of the Milk Creek watershed,” explained Natalie and Bob Becker, camp managers. “It is central to the mission of Camp Adams to use the natural resources of the property in ways that raise awareness of the dire need for conversations about our environment.”
“This is not a do-it-yourself type of project,” adds Reische, project manager for the District. “There are permits, in-stream timelines, and many considerations for protecting the water quality in the stream. We recommend interested landowners contact the Conservation District to help them navigate this process.”
For more information on weir removal on your property, contact Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District at 503-210-6000.

Invite a Pollinator Home!

Pollinator on Blueberry photo by Jeremy Baker

Pollinator on Blueberry photo by Jeremy Baker

As you pop that juicy blueberry into your mouth and enjoy the sweet berry goodness, say a silent “thank you” to your local pollinator! We owe a debt of gratitude to these hard workers, busily carrying pollen from one flower to the next. Therefore, in recognition of National Pollinator Awareness week (June 14 thru 21), let us all do just one thing to help the struggling pollinators.

Here are a few ideas that may get you started:

Plant an unusable area. Consider planting native (non-invasive) plants in an unusable area of your property. You will not miss the space and the pollinators will be thrilled with the new source of food! Plants that flower at varying times throughout the summer will extend the availability of nectar.

Invite a pollinator for a drink. Provide a clean, reliable source of drinking water for pollinators. Water features such as pools, ponds, running water, small containers, and birdbaths will all do the trick. Do not forget to make sure there is a shallow or sloping side for the pollinator to safely access without drowning.

Offer shelter to a little friend. Sites for nesting are crucial in the survival of pollinators. The following are a few ways you can provide shelter. First, try to layer your landscape. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials with varying heights to provide protected areas for the pollinators to eat and nest. Second, leave dead snags for nesting sites or install pollinator-nesting boxes. These are available at many retailers or you may make your own boxes. Third, leave some areas of soil uncovered to provide ground-nesting insects easy access to make underground tunnels.

Hold off on pesticides. Pollinators are susceptible to pesticides. However, there are ways you can reduce, eliminate, or limit pesticide use. Try choosing native plants for your garden. Native plants are tolerant of local conditions and tend to have fewer problems requiring chemicals. Another strategy is to maintain healthy growing conditions on your property. Remove diseased plants and infected leaves from the previous year. Why not enjoy the outdoors and spend some time using hand tools to remove weeds rather than herbicides? If you must use pesticides, please READ THE LABEL, and spray when the plant is not in bloom. Avoid spraying adjacent to bee habitat, such as nesting areas or on caterpillar host plants.

HiRes These may seem like small things, but we can all make a difference in the life of a pollinator!