Oswego Lake Watershed Council looking for projects
The Oswego Lake Watershed Council is seeking neighborhood partners for a new series of small projects funded by grants from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
The new projects would come on the heels of a pair of restoration partnerships in the Mountain Park and Brighton areas of Lake Oswego, one of which was recently completed and the other of which has one last step remaining: replanting native species.
"We have a planting that we're still planning to do as soon as the fall rains come," says OLWC board member Mary Ratcliff.
In Mountain Park, the OLWC focused on restoring and improving a creek that feeds into Springbrook Creek and then into Oswego Lake. The creek originally flowed through an excavated ditch that was eroding, and the surrounding riparian area was rife with invasive plant species.
OLWC partnered with the Mountain Park Homeowners Association and worked with Henderson Environmental Design to clear out the invasive species, reconstruct the creek bed, add wetlands for stormwater retention and replant native species in the area. The replanting was done at an Arbor Day volunteer event in April 2017, where 1,300 natives were planted.
"We worked with the Mountain Park Homeowners Association to come up with a project that we could do together," says OLWC chair Stephanie Wagner. "And Brighton actually came to us — they were just looking for people who could help them figure out what to do."
The Brighton project also involved removing invasives and replanting native species, this time in a wetland area in the Westlake neighborhood that was not effectively managing stormwater. According to Wagner, the land in question was set aside for stormwater management when the neighborhood was planned, but it hadn't been properly finished or maintained.
"It was all planned for stormwater management," she says. "All the rainwater that comes off roofs and driveways funnels down into this area, but it hadn't been constructed completely the right way. So with time, what's going to grow there is going to be blackberries and other invasive species."
Blackberry and yellow flag iris plants were removed last year, and the wetland was regraded in June 2017. Planting parties will be held in the fall.
With the current pair of projects wrapping up, OLWC is looking for new potential partners for new restoration areas. Wagner says the group can work with homeowners associations to assess potential restoration sites and help apply for OWEB grants, which can provide as much as $15,000 for community projects.
Owners of the project area must commit to a one-to-one match of either funds or volunteer hours. Wagner says homeowners associations usually make the best partners for these projects because they often own small patches of land intended for stormwater management.
"Oftentimes when land gets subdivided, there are certain stormwater requirements that go with the subdivision," she says, "so they make a homeowners association for all the people in those new homes, and they're responsible for maintaining that area."
Once an area is restored, it becomes the responsibility of the homeowners association to keep it maintained and prevent the invasive species from returning. But that task is far easier when the hard work of removing the invasives and re-establishing the native wetland has already been done.
"We'd be happy to come out and take a look, give ideas and help them come up with a plan," she says. "We can kind of be the impetus to get over the hump to get it cleaned up, more functional and working better."