Portland Water Bureau supports The Freshwater Trust with $125,000 grant

May 27, 2019

The Freshwater Trust (TFT) is pleased to announce the receipt of $125,000 from the Portland Water Bureau to continue restoring the Salmon River this summer.

The Salmon River originates on the south slope of Mt. Hood and flows for 33 miles before entering the Sandy River. The lower 14 miles of the Salmon River provide some of the most diverse and productive salmon and steelhead habitat in the entire Sandy River basin.

The funding came from the Water Bureau’s Bull Run Water Supply Habitat Conservation Plan Habitat Fund (HCP) committee. The plan was developed in 2008 to mitigate impacts on flow, temperature and habitat resulting from the city of Portland’s drinking water operations and facilities. The Bull Run watershed, housed in the Sandy River basin, is where Portland gets its drinking water. TFT has received nearly $850,000 from the fund over the last 9 years.

“This grant will be put to immediate use,” said Mark McCollister, habitat restoration director with TFT. “In fact, it will go toward restoration we have planned for the Salmon River in the next 60 days.”

TFT and its restoration partners, including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, have identified two new project sites on the Salmon to improve with this award. The work is part of a large-scale, multi-year initiative on behalf of the Sandy River Basin Partners. Goals include the restoration of two side channels, installation of 10 large wood structures, and planting of native vegetation on the banks.

The chosen sites were impacted by past land use activities, such as road construction and development.

“Prior to public ownership, the floodplain at the project site was partially developed,” said McCollister. “Several rock roadbeds from this past development remain. This impacts how a floodplain is supposed to function.”

Over the last decade, TFT and its partners have put more than 31 projects on the ground in the Sandy basin benefiting winter steelhead, spring chinook and coho salmon.

“Many years of work here tell us that these are the actions that make a difference,” said McCollister. “Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife biologists report that the number spawning here are significantly higher than years ago when several species were listed as endangered.”

According to TFT’s monitoring staff, this cumulative work has resulted in nearly 12,000 functional linear feet of stream restored.

“Essentially, this means that the length of functioning river is much longer than it would have been without these efforts,” said McCollister.

This award comes on the heels of more than $300K in grant funds secured from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board last month.

“This support gets helicopters off the ground to deliver the large wood to the project sites,” said McCollister. “It gets the plants purchased, pays the restoration professionals, and more. It matters to us and more importantly, it matters to the fish that are coming to spawn in the newly created habitat areas.”