These cool, clear waters flow through the
heart of a neighborhood park in Portland, Oregon. Crystal Springs Creek is one of thousands
of small tributaries flowing through the Pacific Northwest. Many provide ideal habitat for
fish, including endangered salmon and trout species such as coho, Chinook and steelhead.
But this creek hasn’t supported fish passage for about 40 years. Ronda Fast: “We have accounts
of salmon dating from the 50s, 60s. Then the culverts went in and the salmon populations
declined.” The Corps is replacing small culverts that restrict water flow with larger, natural
bottom culverts. Ronda Fast: “In areas that we’ve done the culvert replacements recently
we’ve seen salmon populations come back.” Concrete lining the man-made duck pond will
also be removed, allowing the creek to meander through a restored wetland area. Jim Adams:
“Removing the pond is going to reduce water temperatures and that’s going to improve the
habitat for native fish; and it’s also going to provide habitat for waterfowl and for mammals.”
The Corps is partnering with the city of Portland to accomplish the restoration. Relationships
between federal and municipal agencies aren’t always easy, but this team makes it work.
Ronda Fast: “Ultimately both agencies see the value of the project itself. We all care
about the project more than we care about our own, kind of, alignment, or our own turf.”
Jim Adams: “When this project is done the park will be healthier for people and for
native wildlife.” I’m Michelle Helms, in Portland, Oregon.