Slough Watershed volunteers give Wilkes Creek an early Spring planting

Take a look at what these fine folks with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council are doing to help protect a hidden natural area …

Mt. Tabor resident Amy Kearsley, and her friend Jackie Fuller of the Brooklyn neighborhood, volunteer at Wilkes Creek Natural Area

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Even though many residents in the area may not know about the Wilkes Creek Natural Area at NE 154th Avenue and NE Fremont Street, volunteers from all over the area have been coming by to restore this natural resource, and to continually improve it.

  • See our 2007 story when the Wilkes Creek Natural Area was dedicated: CLICK HERE.
  • Read about SOLV volunteers work at the area in 2011: CLICK HERE.

Sixteen volunteers braved winter weather on January 14 to continue work on the natural area.

Sam Schongalla, of Columbia Slough Watershed Council, says protecting this area helps improve the water in the Slough.

“Our work party here today is in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service,” explained Columbia Slough Watershed Council Community (CSWC) Connections Coordinator Sam Schongalla.

“Our volunteers are putting in about 125 plants in about a half-acre area,” Schongalla told us. “This represents eight different species, including ferns and Dogwood.”

Gerry St. Pierre says he came from his home in the Kenton neighborhood to help out – and to take part in preserving the habitat for his children’s enjoyment.

Long-time resident Alice Blatt told her more about the natural area, Schongalla said. “I learned this morning that it’s a creekbed, fed by natural springs, with water coming from Larch Mountain. So, we have some really great water here – which needs to be protected.”

By volunteers stewarding this area, and planting plants, the slough’s waters that eventually find their way into the Columbia Slough are protected, she went on. “In turn, this helps provide drinking water, as it rehydrates our groundwater aquifer.”

Many hands make light work, as CSWC volunteers plant native species in Wilkes Creek Natural Area.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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