Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has awarded Portland Parks & Recreation $55,199 for natural habitat improvements in North Portland’s Columbia Slough Watershed. The restoration will be comprehensive, including West and East Whitaker Ponds and the southern bank of the Whitaker Slough, a tributary of the Columbia Slough.
“This grant will build on more than a decade of work by Portland Parks & Recreation and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council,” said Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. The ponds provide important native turtle habitat along with excellent turtle viewing opportunities, Fritz said.
DEQ’s funds will help remove invasive terrestrial and aquatic plants, diversify understory vegetation, stabilize slough banks, and turn a small grass field into a native cottonwood/ash forest, including two years of active invasive treatment and planting of 4,000 trees and shrubs, followed by three years of vegetation maintenance.
The restoration will be performed by parks department staff and Columbia Slough Watershed Council volunteers. “It is exciting that visitors to Whitaker Ponds will be able to appreciate these tangible improvements first-hand, as they walk the trails, floating docks and viewpoints around the ponds,” said Parks Director Mike Abbate.