U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District

Hometown: Portland, OR, US

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
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Westmoreland Park environmental restoration complete

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Corps partnership restores environment, sense of community at Westmoreland Park

Story by Michelle Helms

PORTLAND, Ore. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partnered with the city of Portland, Oregon, to restore a portion of Crystal Springs Creek, which flows through a popular neighborhood park in southeast Portland. The Corps removed a man-made duck pond and restored the area to a natural wetland. Restoring ecosystems and improving watershed health are important Corps missions.

Many Portland, Oregon residents remember seeing salmon swimming in Crystal Springs Creek, but it has been more than 40 years since they’ve been seen in large numbers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Portland District and the city of Portland are celebrating the success of the recently completed Westmoreland Park Ecosystem Restoration project. The joint effort to remove barriers to fish passage appears to be working: two adult coho salmon were recently spotted in the small creek flowing through a neighborhood park in southeast Portland.

“Crystal Springs Creek has the best salmon and steelhead habitat in Portland, and working with the Corps to make it accessible is a key part of our responsibility to recover endangered salmon and trout species,” said Portland Environmental Services Commissioner Nick Fish. “The Westmoreland Park restoration is one of several important projects that restore full fish access to the creek for the first time in 40 years.”

Corps restoration projects are typically in rural areas, but this project was unique. It was located not only in the city, but in a popular neighborhood park.

Crystal Springs Creek flows through Westmoreland Park and is an important tributary to Johnson Creek, which connects to the Willamette River. Its naturally cool and steady year-round flow provides ideal habitat for fish, including endangered salmon and trout species.

“Environmental stewardship has been part of the Corps’ focus for more than 40 years,” said Col. Jose Aguilar, Portland District Commander. “The Westmoreland project allowed us to partner with the city to create a healthier stream for fish passage and a healthier park where people can relax, explore and enjoy the outdoors. It was exciting to work with the city to help restore Crystal Springs Creek.”

Construction on the Westmoreland Park Ecosystem Restoration Project began in May 2012 and was completed in July 2014; it was accomplished in two phases and involved construction and restoration in three different locations. This major undertaking replaced three culverts under busy neighborhood streets, removed a culvert and restored a one-third acre site creating a neighborhood pocket park, removed the man-made duck pond from the busy Westmoreland Park and restored the area to a natural wetland, through which Crystal Springs Creek meanders.

Funding for the ecosystem restoration project was shared by the city of Portland and the Corps, with additional funds contributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA-Fisheries. The project team also received tremendous support from the residents living near the construction sites, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Crystal Springs Partnership, Sellwood Moreland Improvement League and other citizen groups; their support, patience and enthusiasm contributed to the success of the project.

Learn more about the Westmoreland Park Ecosystem Restoration Project at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Currentprojects/CrystalSpringsCreekrestoration.aspx

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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