The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Upper Crystal Springs Restoration and Enhancement Project

Grant Information
Categories Environment
Location United States
Cycle Year 2010
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Reed College
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Diane B. gumz, director of corporate and foundation support
Phone 503-777-7560
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Additional Information
Used for Funding from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation will be used to support an environmental restoration project to improve salmon habitat in the headwaters of Crystal Springs in Portland, OR. This project will replace a culvert that currently impedes fish passage, restore a stretch of stream to improve fish habitat, and install a bioswale adjacent to the road to treat stormwater before it enters the creek. Additionally, funding from the Dougherty Foundation will be used to support ongoing educational outreach efforts focused on this restoration project.
Benefits Through these efforts, Reed College will increase salmonid productivity in an urban creek by restoring stream habitat conditions necessary for their use and survival; preserve water quality through enhancement of riparian conditions and management of invasive species; increase green infrastructure connectivity to complement other creek enhancement activities downstream; and engage the community in active stream conservation and management through educational outreach programming and volunteer restoration activities.
Proposal Description Reed Canyon is the site of the headwaters of Crystal Springs, a 2.1 mile long spring-fed creek that drains into Johnson Creek before entering the Willamette River. Crystal Springs has been identified in the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Restoration Priorities 2005 as a high priority tributary in the Johnson creek watershed. Several years ago, Reed installed a fish ladder and undertook major restoration of riparian habitat. In March 2009, college staff observed five wild steelhead in the creek and in the lake, proving that wild fish are beginning to explore the waters of Crystal Springs and use the lake as a breeding/spawning ground.

In 2007, the college purchased a 1.5-acre tract of land adjacent to the canyon, which for many years operated as a small farm. The land includes an environmental protection zone along Crystal Springs. The site is heavily impacted with fill, the creek was straightened and dredged, and the culvert that borders the most downstream portion of the site is undersized for fish passage. Recognizing the significance of the property as a regional resource, the college has been working with restoration ecologists to develop a plan for this property that will restore it as a natural area. The new project has several components: 1) replacement of the 60ft long x 2ft diameter SE 28th Ave culvert, 2) restoration of channel morphology along 325 lineal feet of straightened and walled creek, which includes the addition of large woody debris, creation of off channel habitat, and restoration of riparian and upland vegetation along 1380 lineal feet of creek and 2 acres of upland, and 3) treatment of stormwater runoff from 28th Ave in a 325 ft bioswale adjacent to the road. The City of Portland has agreed to fully fund the cost of replacing the culvert. Consequently, funding from the Dougherty Foundation will be used on the remaining two project components: the restoration of the stream itself, and the bioswale used to treat stormwater. The project has a budget of $693,955, and has received funding commitments from the City of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Metro Regional Council, and the Jubitz Foundation.

This is a highly visible project that will have many benefits for the watershed, including: increased salmonid productivity in an urban creek by restoring stream habitat conditions necessary for their use and survival; preservation of water quality through enhancement of riparian conditions and management of invasive species; increased green infrastructure connectivity to complement other creek enhancement activities downstream; social engagement and scientific analysis and understanding through student involvement in project implementation and monitoring; opportunities for public education via site tours, outreach events like the twice-yearly “Canyon Day,” and educational visits.

As one of the nation’s pre-eminent colleges, Reed features a host of resources ideally suited to utilizing the canyon as a teaching/research laboratory. Biology faculty use the canyon to conduct field research, and numerous Reed students make use of the flora and fauna to complete their senior thesis projects. The Reed senior thesis is a work of original research, comparable in quality and rigor to graduate-level research. Since the Reed Canyon Enhancement Strategy was initiated, dozens of Reed students have used the canyon and its plant and animal life as the basis for their research projects. Given Reed’s record of sending its graduates to advanced work in academia and private industry, it is no exaggeration to say that the canyon plays a formative role in the education of numerous future scientists.

Throughout the course of the first stage of the Crystal Springs project, Reed College has formed extensive partnerships throughout the community, and has extended educational opportunities to local schools. Reed brings 1200-1500 school students—-ranging from elementary school to high school-- to campus each year, leading classes on field trips in the canyon. These field trips offer students the opportunity to experience an urban ecosystem restoration project, and to learn about the importance of stream improvement and monitoring.

In recent years, class trips have focused on Reed’s restoration work in the canyon, and have introduced students to a functioning ecosystem in the heart of the city. With the expansion into the newly purchased property, however, students will have the opportunity to witness all phases of the restoration project: before, during, and after. The stream realignment portion of the project, for example, involves transitioning former farmland to naturally occurring wetland. This project will provide students with the chance to explore the myriad issues involved in the conversion of property, logistical problems involved in such a transition, and the subsequent return of the property to its natural function.

As an additional component of its commitment to public education, twice each year Reed holds “Canyon Day,” a day on which all members of the community are invited to the campus to take part in restoration efforts in the canyon. Community members can help remove invasive species, help plant native plants, help with trail maintenance, and take part in guided tours in the canyon. Visitors learn about the College’s commitment to pesticide free plant removal, about the replacement of invasive species with native vegetation, and learn about how Reed’s portion of Crystal Springs functions as part of the Johnson Creek Watershed.