On July 16, the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council (NCUWC) is holding the first-ever Remove Kellogg Dam Community Celebration at the Milwaukie Riverfront Park south parking lot.
The event will feature opportunities to learn about your local waterways, including paddle tours of Kellogg Lake and Milwaukie Bay, educational booths and engaging with local decision-makers. Fun for the whole family includes art stations and music by Ten Spiders, and another first: the Kellogg Dam duck race.
NCUWC is a conservation nonprofit that is focused on protecting and restoring Kellogg Creek, which flows from Happy Valley through Milwaukie and into the Willamette River. The urban creek is severely impacted from historic and current land use, but still provides vital habitat for threatened salmon and steelhead.
NCUWC and Kellogg Creek seeks support in the call to remove Kellogg Creek Dam and restore seasonal salmon migration to the creek. This event aims to bring awareness and galvanize the community to fight for the dam's removal through educational opportunities, boat tours and more.
"Community engagement is essential for large projects such as the Kellogg Dam removal to be successful," said Andrew Collins-Anderson, NCUWC executive director. "Agencies and jurisdictions need to hear from their community that vibrant creeks and natural areas are priorities that need to be invested in. Come join us on July 16 to have some fun in the name of bringing our salmon back."
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets for the duck race can be purchased in advance by visiting goo.gl/VTuanN or calling 503-550-9282.
About the creek,
NCUWC, and dam
Kellogg Creek is a tributary of the Willamette River. Kellogg and its major tributary, Mt. Scott Creek, drain the western flanks of Mount Scott. The 9,600-acre watershed includes private homes, commercial areas such as the Clackamas Town Center, industrial areas, and roadways such as a length of I-205. The watershed also contains several wetlands, parks and natural areas.
The upper main stem of Kellogg Creek begins in the Hearthwood Wetland, a 16-acre preserve between I-205 and Johnson City, and flows to its confluence with Minthorn Springs, a 6-acre wetland in Milwaukie. The Minthorn Springs wetland drains into lower Kellogg Creek before flowing into the Willamette River. Kellogg Creek's main tributary, Mt. Scott Creek, is fed by the 26-acre Happy Valley Wetland Park. Fed by three main tributaries, Dean, Cedar and Phillips Creeks, Mt. Scott Creek flows through Mt. Talbert Nature Park, the 89-acre Three Creeks Natural Area, and North Clackamas Central Park before flowing into Kellogg Creek.
Due to their ecological potential, the creeks of the Kellogg Creek watershed are prioritized in local, regional and state level recovery and resource management plans (Lower Columbia Conservation and Recovery Plan) for listed threatened salmon and steelhead that migrate through the Willamette River to spawn. By removing the dam, nearly nine miles of critical salmon habitat will be opened along Mt. Scott and Kellogg Creeks.
All of the natural habitat comes to an abrupt, unnatural end at Kellogg Dam. Kellogg Lake is a man-made impoundment with a surface area of about 14 acres. Originally, Kellogg Creek was dammed to power the Standard Mill in 1858, and it served as a mill pond for about three decades. Today, Kellogg Dam's presence offers limited recreational opportunities, but continues to inhibit fish passage.
Since NCUWC's founding in 2009, the organization has been part of a coalition of jurisdictions, agencies, community groups and private interests that have advocated for the removal of Kellogg Dam. However, the story of the dam removal efforts begins a decade before NCUWC got involved. The efforts began with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who, from 1999 to 2006, performed a series of feasibility studies on removing Kellogg Dam and restoring the area.
In 2006, ongoing limitations prevented the Corps from securing enough funds to continue the restoration effort. At that time, they turned their findings over to the city of Milwaukie. For the next several years, the city of Milwaukie led the dam removal campaign through its Kellogg-for-Coho Initiative (KFCI). The KFCI was active in the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council's work to identify areas along the Willamette River eligible to receive mitigation funds from the Superfund Portland Harbor Cleanup.
While Kellogg Dam initially was one of the projects regionwide that were selected to receive a comprehensive Habitat Evaluation Analysis by scientists from the NOAA Restoration Center, ultimately other sites were chosen for this funding. Meanwhile, the negative impacts to habitat and water quality as a result of the dam continue to persist. Over the years, NCUWC and its partners have invested extensively in habitat restoration and water quality improvements along both Kellogg and Mt. Scott Creeks through the Streamside Stewards Program and other projects. In order to realize the work's full potential, Kellogg Dam must be removed.
Just this year, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented spawning steelhead in Mt. Scott Creek near Happy Valley. The fish were able to migrate over Kellogg Dam because of high waters in February, but fish are mostly cut off the rest of the year or during lower flows. Seeing the fish indicates the habitat is still there, and the fish want to return.