Studies & Restoration
Rock Creek’s Environmental Studies Center is a vital and diverse grouping of habitats that occur on Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus. While human endeavors such as farming (in addition to the construction of nearby housing, roads and parking lots) have modified parts of this habitat and hydrology; through outside grants, previously farmed, drained and overgrazed land is being returned to a more natural state. During this process of habitat restoration, which includes invasive plants removal and plantings of native vegetation; we are monitoring the changes in the quality of the habitat before, during and after implementation of these restoration projects. Changes are being monitored through: monitoring of local fauna and flora, water quality sampling, microclimate studies, photography, and herbarium collections of plants and lichens. In addition, there are several ongoing studies occurring that are performed by PCC students and volunteers; these include microclimate studies and the surveying of wild flowers, lichens, and amphibians.
Current project: Clean Water Service’s Rock Creek floodplain enhancement project, in partnership with Portland Community College, with funding from Metro. CWS and PCC have been monitoring the site and working to reduce invasive reed canarygrass in the wetland since 2014. Large wood structures were installed during the summer of 2017. Planting of native wetland sedges, grasses and shrubs began in 2017 and is on-going.
The goals of the project are related to three themes:
- Increase connection between Rock Creek and its floodplain
- Slow down and store more water in the wetlands
- Improve water quality by reducing temperature and nutrients
- Improve and increase wildlife habitat
- Provide more opportunities for exploration, study and inspiration
This project brief provides more background information:
- Wetland Restoration Project-Phase I: replanting riparian zone of Rock Creek Spur is funded by the Oregon Partners for Fish and Wildlife.
- Wetland Restoration Project- Phase II: at emergent wetland is funded by the Tualatin Valley Water Quality Endowment Fund.
The photo at right shows the following:
- TVWQ: Tualatin Valley Water Quality Endowment Fund
- OPFW: Oregon Partners for Fish and Wildlife
- Green Spots: Five water sampling points