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.

Restoration Projects

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:

  • Water
    • 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:

PCCRock Creek Brief_09.14.17

Aerial photo annotated to show desired plant communities in the Rock Creek floodplain

 

During the summer of 2017, our restoration partner, Clean Water Services, placed several large wood at locations in the Rock Creek floodplain to help slow down the water and trap sediment. The goal of this work is to store more water in the wetlands, improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife.

During the summer of 2017, our restoration partner, Clean Water Services, placed several large wood at locations in the Rock Creek floodplain to help slow down the water and trap sediment. The goal of this work is to store more water in the wetlands, improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife.

Large wood sticking out of the ground. Housing development in the background.

Large wood placed in wetland as seen during late summer (2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing water with large wood structures in background.

Inundated wetland during the winter of 2018. Water now stays in the wetland longer, reducing stormwater runoff and providing habitat for aquatic species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous projects:

  1. Wetland Restoration Project-Phase I: replanting riparian zone of Rock Creek Spur is funded by the Oregon Partners for Fish and Wildlife.
  2. 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
Infrared Photo of projects