healthy waters volume 02 / issue number 02 free
students connecting with their home waters
healthy waters Take me to your leader.
Wanted: Invasive Species
Why might a species be
invasive in one country
but not a big problem in
its native land?
As an example, consider
a plant that is a major
weed in the US but in its
native land it may be a
minor pest. Many weeds
have chemical defense
systems that make them
taste bad. In the weed’s Zebra Mussel
Origin: Southeast Russia
native land the animals
Aliases: Dreissena polymorpha
that feed on the weed Description: Fingernail-sized, with
often evolve along with striped patterns on its shell. Eats up
Aliases: Sturnus vulgaris, Poorman’s Myna
the weed and become the food that’s usually consumed by fish,
Description: Small, with shiny black
and can suffocate native mussels.
resistant to the weed’s An adult female zebra mussel may
plumage spangled with white. It hops
rather than walks, can mimic sounds it
defense systems [so they produce between 30,000 to 1,000,000
hears, and will eat almost anything it can
don’t mind the bad taste]. eggs per year.
fit in its mouth. About 200 million
Method of Control: Keeping boats and
In its native land, the fishing equipment clean, so that these
starlings exist in North America today,
weed may have insects all descendant of about 60 birds released
guys aren’t spread between water bodies.
in New York City many years ago.
that eat its roots, others Method of Control: Starlicide is a slow-
that bore into its stems, acting poison that is highly toxic to
and still other insects starlings, but must be used carefully as it
can be dangerous to other species as well.
may eat its leaves.
Additionally, there may
be rodents that also feed
on its seeds.
If this weed then starts
growing in a new country,
there may not be any Sea Lamprey
animals that are attracted Origin: Atlantic Ocean
to this weed as a food Aliases: Petromyzon marinus
Description: Jawless, eel-like fish with
source. One way to control
a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth,
the weed is to go to its used to bore into the flesh of native
native land and look for fish to suck their blood. Grey-blue on
its back and silver-white underneath,
what are called “natural
measuring between 12–20 inches.
enemies,” that is, diseases Method of Control: One method involves
of the plant and insects special chemicals called lampricides, which Nutria
that prefer that weed are spread near lamprey nests to kill off Origin: Argentina
young lamprey (but that don’t harm other Aliases: Myocastor coypus, swamp
species as food. These fish). Using another method, biologists beaver, Argentine beaver
natural enemies are then sterilize male lamprey, and when these Description: Brown rodent about 14 inches
tested to see if they fish are released back into streams, they long, with three layers of fur and long
compete with non-sterilized males for whiskers. Also notable are its orange teeth
would attack plants in
spawning females, lowering the number of and webbed feet. Demolishes vegetation in
the US, other than the lamprey produced in the next generation. wetlands and coastal marshes, eroding soil.
intended weed. If there Method of Control: Nutria can be trapped,
are no problems, then the fenced off, or controlled using electric wire
barriers, but they’re pretty smart and can
natural enemy might be smell trouble.
released on the weed.
What’s up? healthywatersinstitute.org
Contents healthy waters
Contents: volume 02 number 02
The Journal of the Healthy Waters Institute
Accuracy is everything page 3
Bringing developed-over streams back to the light of day, page 16
02 Editor’s Letter
08 H20 Rockstars:
Simon Spencer and Valerie Steig
20 Guest Essay:
03 Student Watershed Research Project
05 Dissolved Oxygen
06 Alien Invasion
08 Headwaters of the Columbia
10 Opal Creek: A Photo Journal
12 Reed Canyon Restoration
14 Student Reflections On Water
16 Daylighting Streams in Ashland
18 The Stream Team
The city kid has a question. page 18
Tim Brandy’s class at Walker Elementary, Robin Cody, Susan Cross, Walt Hollands, Noah
Jenkins, Mark McCollister, Tony Moreno, Marty O’Brien’s class at Reynolds High, Mary Ann
[on the cover] Don’t fall in: Schmidt, Caitlin Theriens’s class at Cleveland High, Serena Talcott’s class at Cleveland High,
Westmoreland Park’s pond Jordan Vinograd, Karen Wegner, Kolleen Yake
is no bathtub. A misty morning
in Reed College’s canyon. Photography: Tim Brandy, Bridget Chipman, Jim Grano, Walt Hollands, Ethan Jewett, Johnson
Nice gloves: Serena Talcott’s Creek Watershed Council, Toshio Meronek, Reed College, Siuslaw News, Serena Talcott,
class in action. Kolleen Yake
Copyediting: Tom Tattam and Andrea Woodworth Special thanks to Irwin Hodson and FlexCar
healthy waters Editor’s Letter
Intro: From the Editor
A Question of Dear Editor,
I like the article “Working
with Wheat and Water”
in the second edition of
the Journal. I think that
it is also really cool how
After reading our last
Some people claim that they could issue, some of you
you are putting kids’
never have too much ice cream, or writing in here too. One
sent letters our way. of the questions I have Dear Editor,
too many Xbox games, or too many Mark McCollister, a is, what percentage of
biologist at Oregon I liked the article about
new clothes, or too many Jessica our rivers are polluted? the Deschutes River but it
Trout, provided answers.
Simpson mp3s. Maybe you’re one I would like to know how had a lot of complicated
they got that way too.
of these people. Dear Editor, words in it. Maybe next
Jacob Hollister time you could use less
The water filter project complicated words. It
The truth is that everyone’s got a limit. Too much in the second edition would make more sense.
ice cream and you’d be in for a long date with Dear Jacob:
of the Journal of the I liked the article because
the toilet; too many Xbox games and your fingers Healthy Waters Institute Unfortunately, we do it told a lot about how
would fall off from handling the controller; too is cool. I was wonder- not know the percent- the river worked and how
many new clothes and your friends would call you ing if anything can age of Oregon’s rivers deep it was. I also liked
vain; and too many Jessica Simpson mp3s— filter out salt water. that are polluted because the pictures. I used to live
do I need to explain this last one? only a small fraction of by the Deschutes River. I
Mia Randazzo Oregon’s 125,000 stream
Too much or too little of anything is never a guess I just forgot what it
good thing. It’s all about finding the right amount miles have been checked. looked like. The pictures
Dear Mia: The agency responsible
of balance. refreshed my memory.
Yes, it is possible to for evaluating our rivers
My current home is Oregon’s biggest city, Amanda Trumpf
make drinking water and protecting them from
Portland. Over 500,000 people live here, but it’s from saltwater. In fact, pollution is the Oregon
different from other major cities. In this issue millions of people get Department of Environ-
of healthy waters, we spotlight what’s going on their drinking water mental Quality (DEQ).
in East Portland’s Johnson Creek Watershed. from saltwater every They have determined
Mckenzie Debusk, a junior from Cleveland day, though it is too that 13,300 stream miles
High (whom I joined on the Student Watershed expensive in most are known to be polluted
Research Project trip you’ll read about later in situations. Three ways and they appear on the
this issue), put it well: “One of the reasons I love to make freshwater 303(d) list, a list named
Portland so much is because we’ve preserved from saltwater are for section 303(d) of the
some of our natural habitat and, you know, you go filtration, distillation, Clean Water Act. Listed
to other cities and it’s just really different.” and reverse osmosis. waters are a priority to
You’ll also find a few stories dealing with Cities in Florida and be cleaned up. Because
balance. Balance between urban and natural, California are either rivers are only tested if
between native species and nonnative species, using or currently they are suspected of
building desalination being polluted, we are If you’ve got something
even between class time and field trips. The to say about this edition
plants that use reverse unable to calculate the
outcomes of these constant tug-of-wars often of healthy waters, let
osmosis to help meet percentage that are pol-
depend on you and me, because in many cases their drinking water luted. We do, however, us know! We’ll be sure
our actions will decide not only whether or not needs. Reverse osmosis know how rivers get to get back to you, and
Jessica Simpson scores another hit album, but removes the salt from polluted: loss of riparian we might even print
whether a species such as the native salmon- saltwater by forcing habitat which shades and your letter.
berry can compete with invasive English ivy. it through a semi- filters water before it en- Send it to:
permeable membrane. ters streams, discharge of healthy waters
Yours in the quest for balance, urban industrial, agricul- Letters to the Editor,
tural pollutants, untreated 65 SW Yamhill Street,
sewage, and the runoff Suite 300,
from hardened surfaces Portland, OR 97204
like roads, rooftops, and
Toshio Meronek, editor driveways into streams. [And thanks to Kolleen Yake!]
Testing the Wa†ers
Urban Waters healthy waters
The STudeNT WaTerShed reSearCh ProjeCT
A student monitors water
near Portland’s Tideman
IT oNLy CoMeS oNCe a year space for biological processes to occur, and
“Happy Holidays!” Cleveland High junior Ruby bacteria resulting from algae blooms uses up a lot
Sparks exclaimed when I clued her in to the fact of the available dissolved oxygen. Even so, the
that, by coincidence, we happened to be out macroinvertebrate group was able to come up
testing water quality on World Water Monitoring with some water creatures that Talcott’s class from
Day. Every October 18, people from Portland to last year didn’t find, and the diversity of macroin-
Peru are out testing their local waters for tem- vertebrates as compared to last year, Talcott says,
perature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. “is encouraging.”
Along with Ruby and the rest of her classmates in She quickly amends that statement, noting that
Serena Talcott’s Northwest Ecology course, I was the freshwater clams and crayfish one group
out in Southeast Portland’s Westmoreland Park discovered “can survive in just about anything,”
sitting in as students were taking measurements and that the existence of these animals shouldn’t
for the Portland State University-based Student cause too much excitement—you still wouldn’t
Watershed Research Project (SWRP)—a collective want to take a bath in Westmoreland Park’s pond.
of teachers, students, scientists, and others coming One of the kids searching for macroinvertebrates
together to collect high quality data on local is wary of getting in. A classmate yells, “Just take
water quality. your shoes off!” to which he replies sarcastically,
In addition to the four water quality indicators “It’s tempting,” and then runs for some boots. Just
mentioned above, groups tested for streamflow, downstream, the streamflow team has no trouble
phosphorus levels, and macroinvertebrate and at all getting down and dirty, with several pairs of
invasive species populations [see sidebar]. Two abandoned shoes and socks lining the banks of
mild winters in Portland have left the pond in their section of the pond.
Westmoreland Park at a less-than-desirable Another group of students joins the field trip,
dissolved oxygen level. Less water means less from Portland State University. Working with
healthy waters Student Watershed Research Project
QuaLIfIed daTa CoLLeCTorS IT’S abouT aWareNeSS
SWRP’s Torrey Lindbo, they are here view High in Portland, Blaine Biadburn A classmate of Holden’s, Amy Hart,
to aid with the Cleveland students’ remembers: “It was just awesome to recalls a SWRP project she found to be
tests. Not that they need too much see how everyone discovered results most interesting, one that tested to see
help. “Time-sensitive,” “precision,” and their effects they never would whether human development was
and “accurate” are words that can be have known about if they (hadn’t) affecting the nutrient levels in a local
heard coming from any given group taken part in SWRP.” stream. “We hear it all the time—
in Talcott’s class. Tests are timed, and Cleveland’s project from last year ‘Companies pollute river’ and ‘Trash
run several times to check that they dealt with the decline in health of builds up in local creek.’ But these people
are done right, and for good reason. Crystal Springs Creek in Southeast had hard evidence to support local
The data collected by Talcott’s class Portland. Former Talcott student and construction as contributing to point
will go into a database on Portland- SWRP participant Severin Holden says and non-point pollution,” Amy says.
area water health. About 25 high school he “learned a bit about dealing with “We would spend hours of class time
classes together monitor anywhere people who were under stress,” and preparing ourselves and making sure that
from 50–80 stream sites. In the past, the remembers well the famous cookies we knew how to do all the tests cor-
data has been used by the Clackamas and lemonade from 2005’s summit. rectly,” reports Amy. “And then suddenly,
River Basin and Tualatin River water- “They were phenomenal!” he says. while you’re out there actually doing it,
shed councils in watershed health No word on whether the refreshments it hits you that your testing had better be
assessments. The data is available to will be back in 2006, but rest assured right because it’s going to be published. I
anyone via SWRP’s website, http:// that SWRP projects will be of similar didn’t want to mess up!”
www.swrp.org. caliber as compared with previous Having had a year to gain some
The SWRP year culminates in an years—and expectations are that the perspective, Hart looks back positively.
annual end of the school-year summit, summit will only get bigger. Next “I had a really good experience in our
where students from around the state year’s summit is planned for May 19 Northwest Ecology class, and working for
converge in Portland to present projects at the University of Portland, and SWRP definitely made me more aware of
with titles such as “Land Use vs. SWRP’s Lindbo encourages anyone how I impact the natural world around
Phosphate and Nitrate Levels” and interested to attend. me . . . whether I realize it or not.”
“Variation in Water Quality Parameters
and Their Relationship to Fish Presence
in Wilsonville Streams.” 2005’s summit STreaM SeCTIoNS LoST To deveLoPMeNT
IN johNSoN Creek
was the largest ever, with 425 students
Reflecting on the summit and SWRP
in general, student Sarah Gillis from
Reynolds High in Troutdale says
being a part of the program helped her
to realize “I can be involved in more
than just school and help out in my
community. The information could be
valuable some day.” And from West- Stream Status
Current Streams 62%
Historical Streams 38%
Source: Metro Urban Growth Service, 1997 Sub-basin Boundaries
Portland Bureau of Environmental
Services Watershed Boundaries, 1999
Alsea healthy waters
A Closer Look: Dissolved Oxygen
Just like those of us who live on land, water creatures need oxygen.
The availability of oxygen determines whether or not an aquatic organism will survive, and affects its growth
and development. The amount of oxygen found in water is called the dissolved oxygen concentration.
hoW IS dISSoLved
n Dissolved oxygen is measured in milligrams per
liter of water [mg/l], or parts per million of oxygen
to water [ppm].
n Whatfactors can affect dissolved oxygen levels?
How does water obtain more oxygen?
aLTITude. The higher the air pressure, the more oxygen
water can hold. Air pressure is lower at higher elevations,
meaning there is likely to be less oxygen in the water on
Mt. Hood than there is on the coast.
WaTer agITaTIoN. The turbulence of running water
and the mixing of air and water in waterfalls and rapids
add significant amounts of oxygen to water.
WaTer TeMPeraTure. The warmer the water, the
lower the amount of oxygen present, because it is easier
hoW MuCh dISSoLved oxygeN
for gases like oxygen to dissolve at colder temperatures.
IS Needed To SuPPorT LIfe?
TyPeS aNd NuMberS of PLaNTS IN or arouNd
The WaTer. Plants produce oxygen for their own
Maximum Dissolved Oxygen Concentration at Various Temperatures
processes, leaving less dissolved oxygen in the water.
LIghT PeNeTraTIoN. Algae and other plants convert
sunlight to oxygen through photosynthesis, some of which
ends up in the water. So, more sunlight usually means more
oxygen can be produced.
aMouNTS of dISSoLved or SuSPeNded SoLIdS
IN The WaTer. Dissolved or suspended solids absorb
heat, increasing the temperature of water and decreasing
the dissolved oxygen level.
CoNTaCT WITh aIr. As water low in oxygen comes into
contact with air, it absorbs oxygen from the atmosphere.
macroinvertebrates: animals without backbones that are
big enough to see with out a microscope. Water quality
effects which macroinvertebrates can survive in a given
water body, making them good water quality indicators.
pH: a measure of the activity of hydrogen ions in a solution Compiled from Streamkeepers Field Guide, DEQ Administrative Rules, Project WILD Aquatic,
and, therefore, its acidity or alkalinity. If a water body is too Stream Scene, Investigating Our Ecosystems
alkaline or too acidic, it cannot support life.
phosphorus: a key element necessary for growth of plants The scientific term for a complete absence of dissolved oxygen
and animals, it is found in most fertilizers. If there is too is anoxia. A low dissolved oxygen level, from 2 ppm down to
much phosphorus in a water body, aquatic plants will grow 0.5 ppm, is called hypoxia.
excessively, using up a lot of the available oxygen and
hurting the ecosystem. WhaT are dead ZoNeS?
streamflow: the discharge of water from a stream. Lack of dissolved oxygen can create “dead zones” where
Can affect dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and other factors. aquatic life cannot survive. Recently one has been found off
temperature: a measure of average kinetic energy of the the coast of Oregon between Newport and Florence (others
particles in matter. Or, how hot or cold something is. If a have been found in the Mississippi River and in Puget Sound in
water body is too hot or too cold, it cannot support life. Washington). Less fish are being caught, and many dead crabs,
turbidity: the degree of cloudiness in water, caused by birds, and other organisms have been found on nearby beaches.
suspended solids. The cloudier the water, the more turbid Many scientists believe global warming and pollution cause
it is considered to be. Higher levels of turbidity can result dead zones.
in a lack of sunlight penetration, affecting organisms that
get their food from photosynthesis. 05
healthy waters Controlling Invasive Species
By Karen Wegner
here are aliens living among Below are just a few of the more cavity nesting sites (those holes in old
us. You probably pass by sev- than 96 species of nonnative fish and trees), and males are known to peck
eral everyday; you may even wildlife species in Oregon. There are holes in the eggs and to kill nestlings
like some of them. Aliens in the form hundreds of nonnative plant species. of other already-nesting species.
of plants, frogs, fish, snail, mussels, There are so many species of alien For more information about
mammals, and birds are all around plants that we won’t attempt to describe invasive birds in Oregon contact
us, and some are devastating them all here, but don’t be surprised to the Oregon Chapter of the Audubon
Oregon’s ecosystems. find a few alien plants popping up in Society (http://www.audubon.org/
What does it mean to be an alien, other parts of this issue. You can also states/index.php?state=OR).
invasive, or exotic species? Usually, find out more by checking out the Nutria are extremely common
it means that the alien organism links throughout this piece. wetland pests. They look like a cross
evolved somewhere else, and was between a beaver and a muskrat, and
transported here by humans are native to South America. Like
intentionally, or by accident. bullfrogs, nutria were brought here
Sometimes it is a disadvantage for economic reasons. It was hoped
to be an alien (kind of like in that their large size would help
the book and movie The War of The supplement the fur industry since
Worlds) because the new environ- beaver populations were diminishing.
ment will prevent growth and The nutria pelt was never popularized
reproduction, or there may be Smallmouth bass, brown trout, and the nutria farms went out of
diseases that the alien is unable green sunfish, Atlantic salmon, business. It was too late, though,
to fight off. Sometimes, when a channel catfish and many other species because by the 1930s populations were
new species is introduced, the native of fish have been introduced as sport establishing themselves in the wild.
population, the one with no experience fish. Some of theses species are a threat Nutria cause damage by girdling
dealing with the introduced species, to native amphibians and salmonids. trees, over-foraging wetland vegeta-
Crab may suffer. Oftentimes species that Bullfrogs were brought to the west tion, and burrowing into stream
survive introduction are “generalists” between 1890 and 1920 and were banks, which can cause erosion.
and can survive broad climate changes, farmed for food. Settlers from the East Feral pigs are another growing
and can out compete native popula- who enjoyed the deep call male problem in Oregon. These are pigs
tions for food. bullfrogs make also brought the frogs that were once domesticated animals
After habitat lost to human west to keep in their farm ponds as a but escaped. They present a danger
development, invasive species pose reminder of home. The large frogs often to the environment and to humans.
the greatest threat to the survival escaped and they thrived in their new Boars are large, weighing up to 500 lbs,
of native plants in the US. It is such environment. In some cases, ducklings, they have sharp tusks, and they can be
a problem that in Oregon, our state hatchling turtles, and small rodents have very aggressive. Don’t ever approach
government has set up the Oregon been found in bullfrog stomachs. a feral pig! Rooting by swine results
Invasive Species Council, which Like plants, there are many alien bird in damage to agricultural and forested
deals specifically with species in Oregon. Some birds like lands, and can lead to damage
controlling invasive turkeys and pheasants are used in riparian areas by
species. as game birds. Others, like increasing soil erosion.
European starlings, are
nuisances for our native birds.
The starlings were introduced
intentionally in Portland in 1889.
They are adaptable, aggressive, and
compete with native species for food,
Watch for Them. healthy waters
bY THE NUmbERS
42%: The percentage of threatened and
endangered species in the US whose decline
is due, in large part, to invasive species.
$137,000,000,000: The amount of
money lost to the battle against invasive
Zebra Mussel species in the US every year.
4,600: The number of new acres of
government land, such as national parks,
conquered by weeds every day.
Other non-native mammals include water they are introduced into.
opossums and eastern gray squirrels. The mitten crab’s natural habitat 400%: The increase in the amount of
Zebra mussels were accidentally is coastal rivers and estuaries in Korea government land covered by weeds in one
introduced into the United States in and China. These crabs burrow, and decade [1985–1995].
1986. They were discharged in ballast can weaken levees and increase bank 10%: The value of a 1,300-acre ranch
water from ships in the Great Lakes. erosion. One was found in the Colum- near Klamath Falls infested by leafy spurge
Since then they have spread to more bia River in 1997. They are known to [an invasive], compared to surrounding
than twenty states, usually by eat salmon, trout, and sturgeon eggs. property that was not infested.
attaching themselves to the hulls of The crabs may also carry an organism 7,000,000: The number of acres of
boats. They are about the same size that is a threat to humans, the oriental US national park land infested by invasive
as a fingernail, so they can attach lung fluke. species.
themselves almost anywhere: includ-
ing the inside of water intake pipes How can you help? 1: The number out of every 100 species
introduced to our country that will likely
and all over boats. Females can lay What can you do to help prevent become invasive.
1,000,000 eggs a year. The voracious alien species from taking over our
zebra mussel is a filter feeder, and native ecosystems? Check out the 95%: The percentage of the US food sup-
they filter about one gallon of water links listed below and those associated ply that comes from introduced plants and
per day, ingesting all living micro- with the species we’ve mentioned. animals.
scopic organisms, leaving little food Some groups, like the No Ivy League 8 to 12: The number of weeks it takes
available for larval fish and aquatic (http://www.noivyleague.com), have to train a dog to detect select foreign
insects. Without food the young fish work parties with the objective to foods and invasive species for the USDA’s
and insects can’t survive, so their eradicate the particular invasive Beagle Brigade. [At airports, we often
populations will begin to decline. species. It is fun work and you are depend on dogs to sniff out invasive fruits,
To report sightings of Zebra Mussels making a difference! vegetables, plants, and seeds.]
contact Oregon Invasive Species The most important action you These facts came from a variety of sources, including the
Oregon Invasive Species Council’s website (http://www.
Hotline. Call 1-866-INVADER or can take is NO ACTION—do not oregon.gov/OISC). Even though we believe everything to be
1-866-468-2337 (toll free in Oregon). release any new organisms into our accurate, please crosscheck anything you wish to use.
The New Zealand mudsnail is very ecosystems. Never introduce an
small, but don’t let its size fool you. animal to the wild, this includes
In a very short time, mudsnails have dogs your family can no longer care
the reproductive ability to take over for, a pet turtle you’ve lost interest
aquatic sites and out compete native in, or fish from your aquarium.
snails and insects. They have no
natural predators here in the United
States, so they have the potential to
overwhelm just about any body of
healthy waters Cleveland High, Portland
& Valerie Steig Coast
to theColumbia River
a tour of the
B Y WA LT H O L L A N D S
How much do
you know about
Simon Spencer and valerie Steig are two Cleveland high
juniors studying water quality in the johnson Creek Watershed’s the Columbia River?
oaks Crossing. After participating in an after-school extra-credit outing Where does it begin
removing invasive English ivy with the organization SOLV, Simon and
Valerie became interested in doing more research around Oaks Crossing’s
and end? Which industries
environmental health. The two have since come together with Portland’s
rely on the river’s water?
Parks and Recreation Bureau to work on several water quality monitoring What’s being done to restore
projects that will continue through next summer. The data they generate the Columbia right now?
will be used by the City of Portland in local water quality assessments.
Last summer, 28 residents of
how did your projects come about? the Columbia River watershed
Simon: We had both been doing restoration projects since freshman year. spent two weeks following the
Our teacher, Mr. Staab, influenced us to go do restoration work, and every Columbia River and learning the
once in a while he’d take some water sample probes, and I got interested in answers to these questions and
that kind of water testing. Past research lets us know that there are a lot of more. Six of those river wanderers
nitrates in the Willamette, and I was interested in seeing if that influenced were Oregon teachers.
the ponds and wetlands (nearby in Johnson Creek). Over the summer, I went
on a trip with a few teachers and we found a giant pothole out near Oaks The Columbia River Headwaters to
Park where a landfill had been. It was just gross; oil was leaching out into the Coast Tour followed the river
the nearby pond. Portland Parks got involved and they started talks about me from its headwaters in the Canadian
doing water quality research to see whether the Willamette has any effect on Rockies to where it meets the Pacific
the wetlands. valerie: For my first trip down to Oaks Crossing, we basically Ocean at Astoria, Oregon.
checked out the area and discussed what the area could be like years from
now if the place were restored. I noticed there was a big difference between
two ponds in the area. One was fairly natural and going its own course, and
there was another one that until recently had city water pumped into it year
round, I guess to look aesthetically pleasing. I was struck by how little
natural cover there was, and how many invasive species were present, and
I got the idea of doing some water quality tests and coming up with a
landscaping plan that would benefit the two ponds, which are connected.
Simon’s project is going to be groundwater-based, whereas mine will be
ground level, so we’re working toward the same goal of restoring Oaks
Crossing, but using different strategies.
Is this kind of work something you would consider as a career? 13 days
Over 500 miles covered
valerie: I’ve taken physics classes and I’ve taken biology classes, and I’ve
10 Teams of 2 to 4 people,
come to realize that physics is not the area for me. I can connect so much including at least 1 teacher
more with the environmental view of things, and feel like I’m having a Teams came from Oregon,
bigger impact. Washington, Idaho and
Teams included people from
What are the next steps you’re taking for your projects?
art teachers to biologists
Simon: Cleveland High School has adopted the Oaks Crossing area, so . . . to city councilors
valerie: Myself and some of the other people who are taking this Science
Field Research class with Mr. Staab will probably enlist some of the
freshman and crack the whip— Simon: I’ll be right along side you. Geologist Chris Murray explains a glacial erratic
in the Yakima Valley
Walt [a teacher from Grant High School in Portland]
kept a diary about the trip:
DAY 2. At the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho,
we watched a moose swim across a pond and disappear into
the woods. The next day we counted thousands of tiny fish in
giant tanks, part of the Kootenai Tribe’s desperate attempt to
rescue a vanishing population of sturgeon. These huge, ancient
fish have not reproduced naturally in the Kootenai River for
years. After a fascinating presentation by a Ktunaxa tribal elder
on their culture and language, we were told that we were in the
former mission school where children were beaten for uttering
their native language. The next day we visited the tribe’s native
plant nursery, which provides plants for habitat restoration
throughout the region. Teachers inspect sturgeon fry at Kootenai Tribe’s hatchery
DAY 3. After dipping our feet in pristine Columbia Lake and
Organized by the Environmental Education Association of
paddling the river’s wildlife-rich headwaters, we toured a metal Oregon and the North Cascades Institute, and funded by the
smelter near the US–Canadian border. There we learned of Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service,
decades of air and water pollution, leaving treeless hillsides the Headwaters tour required each participant to give something
and fish laden with heavy metals. A lot of the trip was like back. Each of the ten teams went back to their community with
this, mirroring the highs and lows of the river’s history. a plan. Here are some of those plans:
DID YOU KNOW:
DAY 6. After the first week, we got a rare inside look at Hanford n The team from Vancouver, Washington wrote new n The Columbia starts as a
Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington. Hanford is the lyrics to famous Woody Guthrie songs about the giant, spring-fed Canadian
place where the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was made. Columbia, telling of current river issues. The songs, lake, not as a tiny stream?
It is also one of the most polluted places in the country, with being performed for school groups in the Northwest,
n Only about 100 of the
are available on CD as well.
liquid nuclear waste seeping through the ground toward the Columbia’s roughly 1,200
Columbia River. n Trail, British Columbia: the team here is creating a miles still flow as a river?
giant mural for their city. The mural will focus on the
DAY 7. We learned that some farmers in the Yakima valley n Many times over the last
Columbia River and will inspire the citizens of Trail to
are switching to drip irrigation to save water for fish. We also bring salmon back to their part of British Columbia. 15,000 years, the Columbia
learned that many dam operators are spilling water—trying to surged with a quantity of
n In Portland, three teachers are planning and planting
help young salmon get to the sea. We learned that the Port water greater than all of
a bioswale at their school. Using wetland plants and
of Portland is struggling to maintain shipping in the Columbia. Earth’s rivers combined?
soils as natural filters, the bioswale will divert storm-
We got a view of the whole watershed and gained an under- water runoff before it flows into Portland’s Johnson Creek.
standing of the many issues affecting it.
As cool as these projects are, they alone won’t bring the Columbia
DAY 8. Passing through Hanford by boat, we saw coyotes, deer, River back to its former splendor. That will require all of us to
ospreys, egrets and spawning grounds for the thousands of learn about our local watersheds and devise plans of our own.
salmon that spawn in this rare, dam-free section of the river. What will you do?
The group stands in the Columbia River headwaters
healthy waters Opal Creek Wilderness
In the fall of 2005, the environmental science
class from Reynolds High School’s Natural To stay at a reduced rate at a lovely lodge in
Resources Academy took a trip to Opal Creek, Jawbone flats we did some restoration work. In
a wilderness area located near Salem. It’s been other words we spent some quality time ripping
protected since 1996, and according to photo- out scotch broom, a nonnative species originating
journalist and Reynolds High student Bridget from Europe that happens to take over. It currently
Chipman, the place “has since become proof has taken over about 35 acres of land, which the
of the undeniable beauty of the natural world.” Opal Creek staff would like to use for farming.
This photo journal is Bridget’s experience there. So we spent some time digging it up.
Our hosts at Opal
Creek served delicious
vegetarian food, partly
grown in their own
garden they hope to
expand as soon as the
scotch broom is under
control. All power
Jawbone Flats is Our home for the next three
made on site with days was a former mining
a hydroelectric camp known as Jawbone
generator. Flats. Through it was a road
we walked on, only our bags
got the free ride into camp.
The hike was fun with the
guides to tell us of the area.
The Opal Creek area is part of the little north fork of
the Santiam River Watershed. The area is considered a
rainforest and gets ample amounts of rain throughout
the year. The creeks boasts trout but no salmon. The
water is amazingly clear and pure in the many creeks
A photo journAl in the area. The lack of turbidity may be due to the lack
by bridget chipman of sand and silt in the creeks and the abundance of
plant life in the riparian area.
Student Journal healthy waters
In the 1930s
the area was
Because it is a healthy old growth forest, very
moist fungus thrive. This is a neat fungus I found
on a nurse log called strawberries and crème.
For the next two days we spent a lot of time venturing There is no doubt that Opal Creek is Oregon’s uncut gem
on trails and seeing all it had to offer. We also took a and the trip was a memorable one. The people that
plot of forest and measured for large trees, counted work there really care and made the trip all the more
snags and nurse logs to determine if the plot could be pleasurable. I was sad to leave but hope to return soon
considered old growth. Because the area is largely to see more of this wonderful old growth forest.
undisturbed, the vegetation is dense, helps prevent
erosion and keeps soil healthy. The whole forest
depends on fallen trees decomposing on the forest
floor to thrive.
healthy waters Reed College Canyon
How one man [with a lot of help]
fought invasive plants to bring Reed
C o l l e g e’s c a n y o n b a c k f r o m t h e d e a d
Founded in 1908, Reed College is a school of about 1,200 HARDEST OPPONENTS
students located in Portland’s southeast quarter. Separating The college has identified 13 weeds on the campus that are
the north side of campus from the south side is a canyon, the worst enemies of native species, including clematis. But
which until the last few years was not a pretty sight. Filled among these 13 are a couple outlaws that are especially
with trash and invasive species, “it was a very sick portion vicious. Nonnatives such as blackberries, ivy, and clematis
of the campus,” recalls “Keeper of the Canyon” Zac Perry, can be controlled by “manual hand pulling—they actually
a staff member at Reed. have a root, a source from their growth,” Zac explains.
Before working at Reed, Zac worked for the US Department
T H i S WA S A D U m P of Agriculture, figuring out the best way to grow black-
Zac continues: “When I first saw this place it was a sea of berries for people to eat. “But in doing that I had to learn
blackberries and ivy.” The nonnative species had choked out how to kill blackberries just as much as I had to learn how
all of the native ones, apart from some trees. It was so bad to grow them.” The biggest enemies facing the “Keeper of
that “you had a situation where the weeds were trying to the Canyon” are reed canary grass and morning glory.
compete with each other, wild clematis being choked by the Reed canary grass and morning glory grow using rhizomes.
morning glory. It was very overwhelming.” And as for trash, “You can pull out ten feet and there are still roots,” whereas
there were “water heaters, tires, concrete blocks, clothes, with easier-to-control ivy, for example, “it’ll do the same
asphalt, roofing shingles,” Zac says. “This was a dump.” thing but with repetition it will go away.”
Before Zac talked to the college about restoring the
canyon, Reed either never had the money or an interest in WA N T T O H E l P ?
making the place well again. For about 90 years, it was too The canyon has flourished under Zac’s direction. But
full of garbage and nonnative plants to have any environ- the job is ongoing, because invasive species and human
mental or scientific benefits for the campus. pollution are ever-present problems. If you’re in Portland,
Today it’s a place where people from the college and the you can help. Twice a year, Canyon Day is an opportunity
surrounding neighborhood come to hang out, walk their for the community to make sure the canyon continues to
dogs, or to jog. Biology students now leave their labs to thrive. What does it involve? “A little bit of invasive plant
study in the canyon, examining the wildlife and testing removal, and a mass planting. The last couple Canyon Days
the lake’s water quality. However, getting rid of trash and we’ve planted somewhere in the neighborhood of 1300
invasive species has been a fight that continues today. native plants in a day, while filling up a dumpster with ivy
“Clematis can grow five feet a week during the summer and other weeds,” Zac says. “There’s a student bluegrass
months, and you let that grow for 90 years and it basically band that comes down and plays in the woods with us.
suffocates everything,” Zac remarks on this particularly There are t-shirts for everybody that shows up, there’s food
tough invasive species, which climbs trees and can completely for everybody that shows up and it’s literally a work party.”
cover them, blocking out all sunlight and killing the trees. The next Canyon Day is scheduled for April, 2006. “It’s
(FROM THE OLD CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT)
“When I started, this place was 95% weeds. We spent just a day of hanging out in the woods, listening to good
two and a half years just weeding. We spent two and a half music and working hard, and at the end of the day getting
years with machetes in our hands,” remembers Zac, citing blown away by how much work we all got done as a
the preferred tool of the trade. (Reed doesn’t like to use group.” Email email@example.com for more info.
chemicals to control weeds.)
OLD GLASS TEST TUBES
The Blackberry Rubus armeniacus How’d it get here?
Asia, by way of England.
Many of us in Oregon have enjoyed eating wild blackberries from the side of the road every
August, but did you know that the majority of these blackberries are originally from Western What’s its problem?
Europe? Known as Himalayan Blackberries (confusing, we know), these plants grow so fast they A colony of Himalayan black-
can make it hard for native plants, including the Oregon Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus), to survive. berry can widen by 10 feet or
more per year, overwhelming
One of the most important things Zac says he learned while working with blackberries at the every plant in its path.
USDA was that they have a root storage life of about five years, meaning that they can survive
about five years without any food. Blackberries, like most plants, get their food through How can we control it?
photosynthesis. So, when attacking the blackberry bushes, he didn’t bother attacking the roots, Beyond hiring goats to get rid
he went for the food source—the photosynthetic leaves. “If you don’t grub out the roots, of the problem blackberry, hand
and you just remove the vegetation, over a period of a couple years you deplete the food weeding and use of blackberry
source, at which point that plant just fails and disappears.” leaf rust (harmless to native
species) can control this invasive.
Cleaning It Up healthy waters
Find some of the invasive garbage that Zac’s team has found in the bottom of the canyon:
Hidden Treasure? We think not.
A CHINA PLATE FROM THE EARLY 1900S
Canyon Day clean-up April, 2005 (left) and 1916 (above). The Reed canyon fish ladder (below).
healthy waters Students Write About Their Home Waters
R E F l E C T i O N S O N WAT E R
R E F l E C T i O N S O N WAT E R
Make your own model watershed
Clean water runs A Salamander’s Surmise
Through creeks and rivers
[Based on a true story]
How to Make a Watershed
It was a cold and dreary night A watershed is a grand thing. From
Matthew Dennis, Reynolds HS I spent inside my bath the mountains that catch the rain, to
The day had really been too trite the ridges that channel the water into
(Not the kind that does excite) tributaries that empty out into an
Helping watershed And I still had to finish math. ocean bound river. They are crushed
Involves messy carcass toss by hands, carved by erosion, and
So salmon can live The door was locked, for I despise painted by the refreshing rains. A
Those who just meander masterpiece of art worthy of being
Claudia Martinez, Reynolds HS And so imagine my surprise hung in a museum. A mere human
When I stared into the glowing eyes could never make such a sculpture,
Of a red salamander. but you can do it on a smaller scale.
Come together now The salamander, unabashed First Step: Get a piece of paper,
Water falls in common place Said, “Sir, I’m your salvation! recycled, if you have any. Hold that
In nature we’re one Your hopes of a peaceful bath, piece of paper firmly, being careful
Have, so suddenly, been dashed not to tear, and crumple it up into a
Marilyn Jean Huddleston, But you need education. ball. Continue smashing the paper as
Reynolds HS much as you want.
“I have been sent here to be
Your wise and aged tutor Second Step: Now uncrumple the
Silence I think we’ll get on splendidly paper, but not all the way since you
All was silent, (I’ve been told that you agree will need a few rough angles and
among the trees and shrubs. With most anti-polluters). edges. Place each corner of the paper
You could see the river moving on a scrap piece of paper with tape.
Quickly, with a current “The watershed named Johnson Creek
strong and pushing Is not at all devoid Third Step: Using a washable marker,
Along like heavy wind, For though it can be cold and bleak trace the tops of the edges that jut out.
the echo underneath It is a home to meadow leeks Also trace the edges with curved tops.
The bridge was like And many salmonoids. Do not worry about putting on too
the sound of thunder much ink.
The wood bridge was still “150 years have past
while the river Since the fish were thousands strong Final Step: Using a sprayer or a hose
Made it scream. Because our numbers dwindled fast on gentle mist setting, slowly drench
Nothing was too perfect, Now the empty creek seems vast the papers you have put together.
But everything was in its place Can a few hundred fish be wrong? Now dry in the sun. You yourself have
This made the site seem so great. crushed, carved, and painted your
“So sir, grow up with this in mind very own watershed. The watershed
Stephanie Sequeira, Reynolds HS Oh, and incidentally you made however is only a model of
The next time you feel inclined a watershed and not an actual water-
To leave behind a lemon rind shed. The mere model could never
Please think environmentally!” replace any of our planet’s beauties.
Daniel Felder, Cleveland HS Max Lavallee, Reynolds HS
Portland and Medford healthy waters
Reflecting Water Story
When I was little I lived in one of those lake towns for a few years. There is lake water.
If you’ve ever lived near a lake, you know that there are two kinds There is snow water.
of communities near the lakes. There’s high class, and low class. There is rainwater.
At the time, we were considered low class. There is blue water.
There is green water.
My friends and I spent a lot of time jumping off a broken wooden There is ice water.
dock that was floating in a small cove. There were collapsing, There is cold water.
abandoned boat houses surrounding the cove, and giant tires There is hot water.
protruding from the surface. By the general public, our playground There is a cup of water.
wasn’t considered very sanitary, but we were young, and we loved it.
A few times a year we had to stay away from the water because Victor Balero, North Medford HS
of how dirty it was.
We would race across the cove and though it wasn’t a huge area, My Life
we thought that if we could make it across without stopping we were
gods. We had a few good scares after run-ins with snakes, but for the I saw a stream and it was pretty and big
most part it was like heaven for us. We learned how to do back flips And the water was blue and clear and then I
off of the edge of the dock, and would have contests to see who Saw ponds and they had frogs and fish and
could do the “coolest” dive. Trees and birds and they were big
What no one knew is that when the sun was setting and everyone James Swift, North Medford HS
else was home, I’d go back and sit on the dock by myself,
daydreaming and changing endings to recent or future events.
I’d stare at ripples and follow them until they faded, and made People Need Water
pictures out of the jumping reflections the sun made on the water.
People need water to drink
It would get so silent in the evenings that you could hear every fish And people need water to take a shower
jump out of the water, and every ripple hit the earth. I would sit And water is blue and green
and watch those images and listen to those sounds and get lost in And people need water to live
my own little world.
Cody McCallister, North Medford HS
Even though the rest of the world looked at the cove as dirty and
dangerous, it was my comfort zone.
Veronica Miller, Reynolds HS
healthy waters Daylighting
SOmeOne TuRn THe LIgHTS On!
D AY l i G H T i N G CREEKS
Do you live in a city? Have you ever been to Portland,
Salem, Eugene, or Ashland? If your answer is yes to any of
these questions, chances are good that you’ve walked over
some hidden streams without even knowing it.
Ever since people started living in cities, we have diverted
streams, straightened them, put them into pipes, and confined
them in concrete canals to make way for development. For
example, in East Portland’s Johnson Creek watershed, almost
40% of the watershed’s original streams have been altered:
paved over with asphalt, underneath soccer fields, schools,
Plaid Pantries, you name it. Today, groups of people are
trying to change this, by bringing the creeks back to where
they once were, to see the light of day.
Why should you care about whether or not a stream is visible
above ground? There are plenty of reasons:
s Fish and animals can usually get around easier in an open
stream than in a concrete pipe.
s Water quality is improved by exposing water to air,
sunlight, plants, and soil, all of which help to neutralize
s Flooding can occur when manmade pipes are too small.
Natural streams can often adapt to how much water is
flowing, while concrete pipes cannot.
s People can play or relax around a stream. Who wants to i T ’ S N O T A l WAY S E A S Y
hang out near a concrete canal? Daylighting does present challenges . . .
s Science classes can use the streams as “outdoor labs.”
t Finding the original channel of the stream is sometimes
t Hauling away lots of dirt and debris to uncover a stream
can be hard work.
t Reshaping where the stream starts and ends can cause
stormwater issues—what if a stream overflows when
W H AT ’ S H A P P E N i N G AT WA l K E R E l E m E N TA R Y
Daylighting has become an issue that the students in teacher
Tim Brandy’s fourth and fifth grade class at Walker Elementary
in Ashland know well. A couple years ago, the kids noticed
they could hear the sound of running water near the school,
but had no idea where it was coming from. Sprinklers? No.
A leaking sink? No. The class researched it and found there was
once a stream alongside the school, but that it had been run
Now, together with the City of Ashland’s Public Works
Department, Tim’s classes are slowly bringing the stream back
to the light. A couple times a week, everyone goes out to where
the stream once was and works, digging the creek bed and
sculpting the area with rocks. Every fourth and fifth grader
has a native plant species that they monitor and care for. The
class also plans to work at several local plant nurseries to earn
Tim Brandy’s fourth and fifth grade classes work to create a stream
some native willow and spirea. The “ecotone,” as it is called,
bed that will eventually return running water to the edge of Walker
Elementary School is already being used as a Living Science Lab.
Walker Elementary Digs in healthy waters
healthy waters asks
Tim Brandy’s class
“In our class we have the tradition of each kid having a specific species
of plant planted in the ecotone to take special care of and watch it grow.
Before a fifth grader graduates from grade school, they pass on their plant to a
third grader. This way each plant gets passed on and cared for by many kids.”
—Theannah Hannon culvert: A pipe or other conduit
that carries water underground.
“When I’m grown up, I’ll come back here with my kids and show them daylighting: Any project or action
my oak tree, my handprint, and the creek. When I come back with my kids that deliberately exposes the flow
there will hopefully be salmon. I love this ecotone and I hope everybody of a previously covered river, creek,
who sees it does too.” or stormwater drainage.
—Mariah Ruth Ferguson ecotone: A transition zone between
“I can’t wait until I’m about 30 or so to come back and look at the creek.
hydraulics: The study of water
I will remember which rocks I put in the creek and the plants I planted. flowing in channels or pipes.
Even now when I’m walking through the ecotone I say, ‘I planted that!’”
—Lily Davidson xeriscape: landscaping that doesn’t
require a lot of water.
mORE AbOUT Tim’S ECOTONE
FROm FiFTH GRADER THEO OlUHY SmiTH:
Tim Brandy’s class has been working on the ecotone since the
year 1992 and I have worked on it for two years. An ecotone
is a kind of garden that is between two ecosystems.
Right now we are working on a creek that we will daylight
and it will run through the ecotone. Before we had the idea to
daylight the creek, our place in front of the school was called
the xeriscape. A xeriscape is a garden that does not use water.
Every child that is in Tim Brandy’s class gets a plant that
they take care of. When a fifth grader graduates, he or she
gives their plant to a third grader that will care for it in the
fourth and fifth grade. My plant is a red alder, it is a tree and
it can grow up to 50 feet tall.
The xeriscape started in the year 1992 because of a drought
in Ashland. To save water Tim and his students replaced a big
lawn with plants that didn’t need any water.
C l A S S m AT E m A x H i E N S E x P l A i N S
HOW iT All bEGAN . . .
In 1982 there was no xeriscape, much less an ecotone. It was
also the year of a great drought. It was so serious that you
could get a ticket for watering your lawn or washing your car,
you would get a ticket for just about any water use outside
Unfortunately, Walker School had a big green lawn.
So that’s how the xeriscape started [xeri is the greek word
for dry, and scape is short for landscape: xeriscape, dry
landscape]. Tim’s class ripped up the lawn and started
planting plants that needed little or no water, like madrone,
beech, and the oak.
A few years later in the year of 2004 we brought back a
creek that used to flow in front of Walker School. It had been
put into a pipe underground in 1950.
healthy waters Florence
The Stream Team Florence .
Rain or shine, Jim Grano’s Stream Team is making a world of difference in the Siuslaw watershed
SPOT THE CiTY KiD
The day started out playing a game well-known to people
raised in small towns like this one on Oregon’s central
coast, Florence (population 6,865). Spot the City Kid.
As teacher and watershed extraordinaire Jim Grano
escorts me from Siuslaw Middle School’s office to their
volunteer-built outdoor equipment room, one of his
students motions to the sandals on her feet, pleading, “I
don’t have to wear flip-flops, right?” Definitely a city kid.
It wasn’t supposed to rain today, but light showers
are coming down and continue intermittently through-
out our field trip. Taking attendance, Grano notes just
a few absences. “I suspect they’re all city kids,” he jokes,
indicating the rain.
“Not me! I’m a city kid!” yells one, and there are plenty
of exceptions to the rule (this writer being one, too).
It’s cold and wet as our bus pulls around, but what’s
more chilling is the lack of complaints from the kids.
Even the city kids are quiet on the subject of the poor
weather. I want to attribute this to some spectacularly
well-behaved students, but the day reveals that Grano
himself is responsible for making the kids excited about
what they’re studying to the point where grumbling is
A mallet is used to hammer willow cuttings into the ground. Not this one!
“We rehearsed this,” Grano says, panning around a chaotic Oregon was not particularly affected, but someone had the bright
room full of chest waders, hip and rain boots, ponchos, and idea of bringing reed canary grass, which does a good job of
middle school students trying and, in all but a few cases, keeping dirt in place for farming and grows like wildfire, into the
succeeding in donning the gear on their own. state. The plant quickly spread, taking over meadows and
On what is already the third field trip of the year, in a time devastating native species.
when public school field trips are an endangered species, we are Soon we’re planting willows, which is nearly effortless. Place
headed to Enchanted Valley, roughly a twenty-minute drive from a cutting in wet dirt, hammer it into the ground with a mallet,
town. It’s an area well loved by the community, every summer and watch and wait. Unlike reed canary grass, willows are native
attracting hundreds of locals who come to pick blackberries, to Oregon, provide much-needed shade and their roots break
walk dogs, and hike. up the speed of the stream, making it easier for salmon to swim
upstream when necessary.
A N E N C H A N T E D VA l l E Y Johan Hogervorst, a hydrologist with the Forest Service, leads
Jim’s “Stream Team” has been coming to the Valley for about the team. In the past he’s also headed up prison crews who come
seven years, collecting data on invasive species levels, releasing out to the area to plant willows. The last crew cut the willow
native fish species into the creek, and planting trees in an area pieces backwards, and though one of the students breaks a
of forest that was cut down in the early 1900s to farm a crop mallet after pounding with a little too much enthusiasm,
unusual for the climate, corn. according to Hogervorst, “By far, kids are a better workforce
One hope is that this area of Enchanted Valley will be returned than prison crews. They’ve got youth and energy and it’s great
to its original state, before the creek was moved to the edges of that they’re learning at the same time.” Much of the credit has
the valley to allow for cultivation. To this end, the Stream Team to go to Grano, he says. “Jim’s passion is just inspiring.”
has been working with the Forest Service, local sport fishermen,
and, says forester Dan Segotta, “the wildlife—beavers help to T H E x FA C T O R
raise the water table as they build their dams along the creek.” So how do you get a bunch of seventh-graders excited about
Three men and one woman from the Forest Service arrive on measuring invasive species levels? “They see that it’s really
the scene to help the kids with their transects—using a PVC-pipe important,” Grano says. “Some kids will live here for the rest of
square, they estimate the amount of native vs. nonnative plant their lives, and they’ll get to see those trees continue to grow.”
life. Having prepped for this back in the classroom, the only “This is awesome . . . I’d rather do this than go to class or play
direction that the kids require is to stop being so precise. video games,” says Mallet-Breaker Stefan Woosley, to some of
The major invasive species to look out for is reed canary grass, the other kids. “Go to class,” maybe, but sacrifice video
which was introduced during the 1930s, when the Dust Bowl saw games in order to plant some trees? Something very, very
much of the Midwest’s farming land turned, literally, to dust. peculiar is going on here.
Long-range Restoration on the Siuslaw healthy waters
Above: Coho with split tail. Below: Measuring the amount of Tom Kartrude, Port of Siuslaw, Jim Grano, Anthony, and Eric plant trees to restore port
native vs. non-native plant life with a transect property near the Siuslaw River
Siuslaw Upper Watershed Outreach Coordinator and
AmeriCorps member Catherine Adler sees great potential for Grano’s work doesn’t end with the school year. He’s one of the
bringing what Grano does to other area schools. “What I do people who have made several watershed summer camp sessions
with [my own students] could be modeled off what Jim does.”
happen every summer for the last few years. 2005 saw a dearth
Of course, there have been and continue to be some chal-
lenges. “We could do a lot of positive stuff,” Grano explains, of funding, so only one session was held, but you can be sure
but because so much of the curriculum in today’s schools is that the students who went clamming, crabbing, visited an active
oriented toward benchmark tests, classes like Jim Grano’s are timber shoal, and got the downlow on old-school Native American
of a rare breed. The local environment isn’t something you’ll tools last summer had a blast. Keep your eye on the Siuslaw
often find on a federal standardized test. Funding was hard Watershed Council’s webpage [http://www.siuslaw.org].
to come by for the first couple of years. Funding sources
are diverse: sport fishermen, the Forest Service, the Oregon
Watershed Enhancement Board and, it took a few years, but the
local school district has recognized the importance of the Stream
Team, and will help to fund the course starting next year.
Results from the Stream Team’s past work is already being
seen—there’s been up to a ten-fold increase in the juvenile
fish population returning year after returning year since
the restoration of Enchanted Valley began, and hydrologist
Hogervorst motions toward some willow trees off in the
distance that were planted by Grano’s class a couple years
ago. All are already taller than your average seventh grader.
A F U T U R E F O R T H E S i U S l AW
All the willow cuttings have been planted. It’s time to go.
Hogervorst closes, saying, “I think I hear the fish,” and
assuming a fish voice, he yells “THANK YOU!”
“We’ve got everything here,” Grano says after listing off the
Siuslaw watershed’s array of natural resources that allow for
logging, fishing of Coho, steelhead, cutthroat, and Chinook,
and hunting and mining. “As long as we manage it well, it’ll
stay that way.” The watershed is a heavyweight at 500,000
square acres. That’s a lot of area to cover, even with a well-
organized watershed council, but with watershed superstars
like Jim Grano it’s hard to be pessimistic about how the Part of the Stream Team
watershed will look in a few years time.
healthy waters Natural and Urban Smoosh Together
guest essay: River City by Robin Cody
lately I’ve been poking around Portland
by boat, catching the sights and smells
here at the confluence of two great
rivers. At water level I get a new angle
on the city. Familiar arrangements can
appear to be marvelous.
One summer Saturday I headed up
the Columbia and into the Willamette,
where the natural and the human gave
every sign of getting along. Herons and
kingfishers worked the water near the
growl and diesel whiff of a working
tug. Men in small boats, fishing for
steelhead, were catching and tossing
back shad. Ocean-going ships took
on lumber, gave up Toyotas. In the other urban folk. We wrap ourselves the bottom-fish. In the paper I read
foreground, an osprey lifted a wide- in the River City myth but measure sickening reports of one-eyed fish with
eyed shad to a nest atop pilings. our well-being in economic terms. crooked spines, and of river otters with
Behind that, a crane lifted buckets The danger of a working river rises to withered penises, shrunken testicles.
of gravel from a barge. consciousness only occasionally, when
In the background, Forest Park. we have to break out the sand bags. Another time, on another outing, I
Spring chinook already had passed, Or ludicrously, when a gravel barge anchored overnight near the edge of
but a great sustaining notions of this runs over a dozen rugged individualists city limits.
place is that salmon and steelhead still from Nike rowing an unlit dragon boat When the morning sun rose high
surge through the heart of a metro area at night. enough to catch the bank, a small river
of 1.6 million people. One of America’s As a people we Euro-Americans otter emerged from willow roots and
great fishing holes lies within view of came here busting woods and taming slid down into the water. Then another
a Merrill Lynch office. Here is a heron rivers. Now that we’ve mostly done slid the mud bank. And another. Five,
rookery within paddling distance of that, our sense of identity hinges on in all, liquid black and glossy, climbed
NBA basketball. I can dock the boat what we have left of woods and rivers. up the bank and went skidding down
and stroll to the world’s best bookstore. We could easily lose what is unique again, nosing into the water without
Where else on the continent—on and beautiful about this place. Or we a splash.
the planet—do the great intentions of could learn to coexist with the crea- The otters started wrestling in the
nature and people come braided so tures and features of the wild. water. They made of themselves an
closely together? The encouraging thing is that we got otterball. Heads over tails over heads
It’s what sets us apart, and always here too late to have completely screwed over tails, the otterball went churning
has. Captain John Couch, a city founder, things up. And in the last couple of along the surface, throwing up spray.
had his eye on commerce. Seafaring decades, the notion of responsibility When that got old, they dived and
ships could probe this far, and no toward the habitat has begun to surfaced separately. One little show-off
farther, into the Willamette. But what penetrate city life. Kids these days are came up near the boat with a crawdad
really got Couch—what he wrote East alert to the connectedness of things— between his teeth. He cracked and ate
about—was that he could shoot ducks of woods to salmon, and of rivers to the crawdad.
from his front porch. our sense of spirit and well-being. When I glanced up, I saw the otters’
Although Portlanders are now a fully We’re getting wiser. parents. They had come out to watch,
urbanized people, the rivers still make Will we be wise enough in time? and to watch me watching.
us who we are. Never too deeply buried More and more people are coming. I felt, for my own crowding species,
in the urban ethos is an imaginative As more of my species crowd the river, on the spot.
truth, that not so long age we emerged the threat is more subtle, more quietly You don’t have to live here to wonder
to a riverside clearing, the sons and insidious, than toxic outflow from a —to take heart or to find despair—at
daughters of pioneers, self-selected for paper plant. It’s the threat of losing whether or not America’s greenest big
rugged individuality. in small increments the surrounding city can save what makes it unique.
Oddly, the view from a boat suggests greenspaces to asphalt and condos,
how we insulate ourselves, with bridges of leaching small poisons from drive- Robin Cody is the Portland author of
and sea walls, from the river. In a ways and lawns. From a boat the river Ricochet River, a novel, and Voyage of
darker mood I think we might be as looks and smells clean to me, but I a Summer Sun, exploring the Columbia
estranged from natural rhythms as any am haunted by warnings: Do not eat River at water level.
Stop alien invaders. healthy waters
do you CaLL . . . ?
you learned in this issue
boar of healthy waters,
Origin: Domesticated pigs gone wild write in the correct word:
Aliases: Sus scrofa, Captain Cooker,
What do you call . . .
Description: The wild ancestor of the
domesticated pig, it can reach up to 440 1.
pounds and 6 feet long. It over-forages and exposing the flow of a
creates erosion while rooting (digging for Mudsnail previously covered river
vegetables). Origin: New Zealand
Method of Control: Baiting the pigs to eat
Aliases: Potamopyrgus antipodarum
poison hidden in food traps. Care must be Description: Housed in a horn-like shell,
taken to ensure that other animals don’t the mudsnail is only about 5mm, 2.
eat the poison. Shooting and trapping are but it is hungry and reproduces quickly, a complete absence of
other methods of control. using up much of the available food dissolved oxygen?
source wherever it is introduced.
Method of Control: Keeping boats and
fishing equipment clean. 3.
the discharge of water from
a species that occurs
naturally in an area?
species that was brought
into an area by humans,
but is not necessarily
Aliases: Eriocheir sinensis,
Shanghai hairy crab
A Note on Methods of
Description: Dark in color with dark hair
Control for Invasive Species:
on its claws, it’s about the size of a
human palm. Competes with local species, reed Canary grass What we’ve listed are some of
and its burrowing causes erosion. Origin: Europe (though there is a North the more conventional ways of
Method of Control: Difficult to control, American strain that isn’t as invasive) keeping these invasive species
because most things that would kill it Aliases: Phalaris arundinacea, marsh hay under control. Some methods have
(such as chemicals) would also kill off Description: 2–9 feet tall, the grass has rough- side effects that can harm native
other aquatic life. Fishing is one option textured, tapering leaves. It grows using species, and many only offer
(in China, they are commonly eaten). rhizomes that quickly dominate the soil. short-term relief from invasives.
Method of Control: Annual, controlled Are there better, less potentially
burning of this plant can do the trick, but harmful ways to control invasive
only after many years. Also, some herbicides species such as these? Email
have been shown to be effective. editor @ healthywatersinstitute.org
and let us know what you think
The Healthy Waters Institute [HWI] is a research and teaching institute
working to provide Oregon students with the knowledge of their local land and water.
As the education program of Oregon Trout, Healthy Waters Institute is dedicated to developing
generations of knowledgeable and motivated young citizens.
healthy waters institute staff oregon trout Chuck Boggess advisory council
Susan Cross, Regional board of directors Tim Boyle Anita Murray Barbey
Education Coordinator Henry Ashforth, III Hunter Brown Douglas Campbell
Mary Ann Schmidt, Regional Scott Sandbo Norm Daniels Cal Cole, Founder
Education Coordinator Co-Presidents Craig Dewey Bob Groves
Bill Smiley, Assistant Director Mark Metzdorff, MD Steve Emery Carrie Groves
Craig Stewart, Director Vice-President, Paul Fortino Dar Isensee
Karen Wegner, Regional Programs David J. Johnson Ethan Jewett
Education Coordinator Al Alexanderson Wendy Johnson Art Kayser
Kolleen Yake, Regional Secretary Patricia McCaig Jim Lichatowich
Education Coordinator Craig McCoy Roger Millar
T.J. McDonald Wade Mosby
healthy waters publications Tim O’Leary
Toshio Meronek, Editor Bradley B. Preble executive director
Chris Michel, Design and Illustration Hadley Robbins Joe S. Whitworth
John von Schlegell
office: 503 222 9091
fax: 503 222 9187
printed on 100% post-consumer fiber [no new trees/no chlorine] with soy based inks
Healthy Waters Institute
students connecting with their home waters U.S. Postage
65 SW Yamhill Street PA I D
Suite 300 Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon 97204