Helping a river. And everyone who depends on it.
For thousands of years, the Willamette River has served as an ecological and cultural centerpiece for the region, providing habitat for many northwest species, such as salmon, elk and beaver, and sustaining some of the most fertile agriculture land in the country. But with 70% of Oregon’s population living within 20 miles of it, the river that binds us together has suffered.
One area, Coal Creek, located above Middle Fork Willamette River (one of several forks that unite to form the Willamette River), was confined and choked down, making the water flow more like a super-charged fire hose and not allowing for fish and wildlife to utilize, take shelter and grow up stronger.
“In this area, the stream should really be fanning out across the entire floodplain,” says Audrey Squires, restoration projects manager for the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council. “It should be broad and varied, providing many different types of habitat.”
Thanks to PGE Habitat Support customers, the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council was able to reconnect and heal Coal Creek. They used a high-impact strategy focused restoration effort on building a strong foundation by clearing the way, then stepping back to let the force of the river do much of the work to return the floodplain to its more natural state.
The results have been extremely encouraging. Not only is wildlife already taking advantage of the improved habitat, but water quality is protected for downstream communities like Portland.