Volunteers return to Johnson Creek for annual ‘Watershed Wide Event’

Take a look, and you’ll see that winterish weather didn’t prevent a big turnout for this annual event, put on again this year by the Johnson Creek Watershed Council …

Johnson Creek Watershed Council volunteer “Creek Crew Leader” Maria Loper demonstrates planting a shrub, during the 26th annual Watershed Wide Event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

At multiple locations, and actually amid snow flurries, 252 volunteers showed up at one of ten designated locations to participate in the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) 26th Annual Watershed Wide Event. Yes, those flurries were on March 2nd!

“From my perspective, this year’s event proved how determined and dedicated our volunteers showed themselves to be,” commented JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry. “For the first hour, temperatures were in the mid-thirties, and there was actually a little snow.

Working in the Foster Floodplain, volunteer Kim Martin, gives us a “thumbs up” – signaling his joyful participation in the project.

After documenting work at three inner Southeast Portland sites for THE BEE, we traveled to the visit the one active Watershed Wide Event site in outer East Portland this year – in the Foster Road Floodplain.

This wasn’t the farthest east-side site; many volunteers were also busily working preening the creek in Clackamas County, Gresham, Boring, and way out in Damascus.

This group digs in, planting new shrubs and forbs during the JCWC Watershed Wide Event.

We found 27 volunteers working on the east side of the Foster Floodplain, just off SE 112th Avenue.

“Volunteers are really so important to help out Johnson Creek and its watershed, commented Portland Parks & Recreation City Nature East Ecologist Christian Haaing, who was on hand to help with the work.

He’s grateful for volunteers planting thousands of trees along Johnson Creek, says PP&R City Nature East Ecologist Christian Haaing.

“About 12,000 plants are installed along the creek every year; and about 10,000 of those are planted by volunteers,” informed Haaing. “Volunteers really help us most of our planting work for restoration along the creek.”

At this site, volunteers were putting in 325 native plants – mostly shrubs and forbs. After planting them, others loaded up buckets of mulch that they deposited around the new plantings.

Load after load, volunteers come to reload their buckets with mulch, then fan out to deposit the amenity around the newly installed plants.

“One of the great things about this event is that it brings people into their own local ‘Natural Areas’ which, perhaps, they haven’t visited before,” observed Haaing. “It’s really important for me to see the spaces, enjoy them – and at this event, to be part of the ecological solution in improving the health of Johnson Creek.”

A few days after the annual project along the creek, JCWC Volunteer Program Manager Marlee Eckman said she was pleased at how this year’s Watershed Wide Event turned out.

“During the event, since we host events throughout the watershed, volunteers are able to help out in their own neighborhoods – and that really creates a sense of belonging within the watershed.

“A huge thank you to all the volunteers, staff members, partners, and funders, for without them, we would not be able to do any of this work,” concluded Eckman.

Deep in the Foster Floodplain, volunteer Heather Housholder mulches another of the hundreds of plants installed during the JCWC Watershed Wide Event.

The JCWC hold all kinds of events almost every week – both stewardship and educational opportunities. To find out more, see their website: CLICK HERE.

>> On our Front Page: Volunteer Gwyn Benders, with the 636th Mt. Tabor Outdoor Service Guides, installs another new plant during the JCWC Watershed Wide Event.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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