Local volunteers plant during the Johnson Creek ‘Watershed-Wide Event’

Take a look at this massive ‘planting party’ in the Foster Floodplain, during this annual Johnson Creek Watershed Council Event …

In the Lents neighborhood of outer East Portland, volunteers learn how to plant native bushes and trees, just south of Foster Road, during this annual project.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Perhaps it was the early spring weather that brought out so many volunteers for the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s (JCWC) “Watershed-Wide Event” on Saturday morning, March 5.

“Every spring for the past 24 years, we’ve look forward to seeing local watershed residents come together for a day of stewardship – to restore, repair, and clean Johnson Creek – by planting, mulching, and weeding at sites throughout the watershed,” remarked JCWC Volunteer Program Manager Courtney Beckel.

“At ten sites, located all along Johnson Creek, a total of 271 volunteers helped improve the watershed this year,” enumerated Beckel.

The Collings-Domingo family says they’re ready for planting!

All of the 25 volunteers who’d signed up for helping at the Foster Road Floodplain looked ready to put in the new plant starts. They came prepared – by wearing boots. The area in which they were working was marshy from recent rainfall.

With a flag in hand, to mark where he’s planted a red-twig dogwood shrub start, we found JCWC Board Member Bruce Newton.

“Today, we are continuing the planting program, trying to establish more native vegetation. Last summer’s heat wave was pretty brutal, and a lot of the plantings we put in last year, and the year before, did not survive,” Newton told East Portland News. “So, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is continuing to plant new little plants, and we’re out here today by planting a whole lot of them!”.

This group of volunteers is looking for their next spot to plant shrubs.

Asked why he’s involved with JCWC and events like this, Newton replied, “This is one of the few creeks in the Portland urban area that is in relatively good ecological health. We’re trying to make its health even better, bring its salmon back, and provide a place where people can experience nature.

“When people, neighbors, see what nature looks like, when it’s a good shape, it helps them take pride in our city and feel more connected to where they live,” Newton observed.

The group spread out into designated areas, and began planting red-twig dogwood (Cornus servicea) shrubs – just right for fertile, moist soil like that in the floodplain.

Helping out volunteers is PP&R Natural Resources Ecologist Christian Haaning.

Answering questions and overseeing the morning’s activity was PP&R Natural Resources Ecologist Christian Haaning: “Opportunities like these bring people out into their urban natural areas and into their natural areas, where they can actually see it up close and appreciate it.

“Out of the 15,000 plants that we’re planting in the Johnson Creek Watershed, more than 10,000 of those been planted by volunteers this year,” said Haaning. “And because about 90% of our plants are put in by volunteers, I’ve got to say that we love those people; we couldn’t do it on our own.”.

We’re certain that volunteer Patrick is glad that he wore his high, waterproof boots, to this JCWC event today.

If you missed out on this annual project this year, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council provides all kinds of volunteer activities, classes, and nature walks all year. To learn more, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News ™

 

 

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