);

Rock and Richardson Creek Watersheds

Recommended Action Plan

Ecotrust

1200 NW Naito Parkway
Portland, Oregon 97209

November, 2000

Acknowledgments

Ecotrust prepared this recommended action plan under contract
with the Clackamas Watershed Basin Council. Funding for this work was provided
by a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Contact the Clackamas
River Basin Council for additional information on Council activities in Rock
and Richardson Creek watersheds and the Clackamas River Basin:

Clackamas River Basin Council
P.O. Box 1869
Clackamas, Oregon 97015

503-303-4372
info@clackamasriver.org

Preface

This recommended action plan outlines a suggested role and
strategy for the Clackamas River Basin Council in protecting and restoring the
health and integrity of Rock and Richardson watersheds. This strategy is based
on information in the October 2000 Rock and Richardson Creek Watershed
Assessment. It is also based on the assumption that significant changes in land
use through the urbanization and associated development of major portions of
these two watersheds is inevitable.

This is a recommended action plan, and has not been adopted in whole or in part by the Clackamas River Basin Council.

Recommended Action Plan

1. Background

The assumed goal for the Clackamas River Basin Council is to
protect and restore the integrity of Rock and Richardson watersheds within the
context of work that must be done for the entire Clackamas Basin. The Council
has identified four primary goals and priorities for their work in the larger
Clackamas Basin.

  • Maintain and improve native anadromous and resident fish habitat in the Clackamas River basin.
  • Maintain and enhance water quality of the Clackamas River to meet and surpass the state water quality standards.
  • Maintain sufficient flows to support in-stream beneficial uses.
  • Protect and enhance natural areas associated with river and stream habitat.

Since the financial, labor and political resources of the Council
are limited, setting priorities for action is crucial. In the Rock and
Richardson Creek watersheds these priorities must be driven by the fact that
pending urbanization will have an overwhelming influence on these two
watersheds in the near and long-term. Actions such as upstream riparian tree
planting and bank stabilization — which can have significant value in rural
watersheds where land use patterns are relatively stable — may be relatively
inconsequential in comparison to the need to address the potential impacts of
urbanization in the core of these watersheds. In the face of pending
alterations to the landscape, Council efforts should be focused first on
protecting the best fisheries habitat and watershed values, second on ensuring
that watershed health is maintained as urbanization occurs, and finally on
restoring and rebuilding more damaged ecosystems.

The intent of this recommended action plan is not to provide an
exhaustive list of all potential data collection, restoration, education and
community building projects. Rather, it is intended to outline a strategic
approach for the Council to protect and enhance ecosystem health in these two
watersheds, and is presented here in five sections.

  • Protection and Restoration of Key Areas

  • Community Outreach and Education

  • Monitoring and Research

  • Planning and Urbanization

  • Short-term Restoration Projects

    The activities within this recommended approach provide multiple
    opportunities for integration of Council efforts in education and outreach,
    monitoring, research, planning and policy development, and on-the-ground
    actions. There are countless other actions that the Council could take towards
    watershed health, but these are suggested as the most strategic.Ý

    2. Protection and Restoration of Key Areas

    The watershed assessment (Ecotrust, October 2000) identified
    three critical areas for salmonids in Rock and Richardson Creeks: Lower Rock
    Creek, from the mouth up to the falls; Middle Rock Creek, from SE 172nd
    east to Foster Road; and the forested canyons of Lower Richardson Creek. If
    salmonids cannot be retained in these core sections, then they cannot continue
    to exist in the respective watersheds. Moreover, these core salmonid areas and
    the broader zones that support them also have significant water quality, water
    quantity, soil stability, and wildlife habitat values. If the Council can do
    nothing else in these two watersheds, it should work to ensure that existing
    values in these areas are retained and enhanced through protection, monitoring
    and restoration.

    The recommended protection of these core areas does not negate
    the value of protecting and restoring other important ecological values in
    these two watersheds. For example, the riparian zones on all creeks in these
    two watersheds are critical habitat vital to the survival of salmonids. Good
    water quality and healthy riparian zones are the key to salmonid survival. The
    Council should make every effort through policy and private landowner incentives
    to afford maximum possible protection to these riparian areas.

    2.1 Forested Riparian Zone of Lower Richardson Creek

    The mostly intact, forested canyon of lower Richardson Creek
    (reach 1) is fundamental to the health of this watershed and to the presence of
    salmon is this creek. This particular area also provides wildlife habitat
    connectivity between the upper Buttes area and the forested areas of the
    Clackamas Valley. This zone has been roughly delineated on the accompanying
    Opportunity map based on the extent of steep slopes, soils with high erosion
    potential, wetlands, and intact forest cover and other natural areas. Highly
    erodable soils cover 40 percent of this 620-acre area, over one quarter of the
    area has slopes greater than 25 percent, and wetlands cover a little over three
    percent, or nearly 20 acres. Over 80 percent of this zone is forested,
    primarily in closed canopy mixed conifer deciduous forest.

    Lower Richardson Creek Canyon Zone: Vegetation and Land Cover Type*

    Vegetation and Land Cover Type

    acres

    percent

    Barren and Sparsely
    Vegetated

    13.10

    2.11

    Low Structure
    Agriculture

    53.68

    8.64

    Deciduous Closed
    Canopy Forest

    38.43

    6.19

    Mixed Closed Canopy
    Forest

    337.06

    54.26

    Conifer Closed Canopy
    Forest

    69.68

    11.22

    Deciduous Open Canopy
    Forest

    48.89

    7.87

    Mixed Open Canopy
    Forest

    15.82

    2.55

    Conifer Open Canopy
    Forest

    1.24

    0.20

    Deciduous Scattered
    Canopy Forest

    6.34

    1.02

    Mixed Scattered Canopy
    Forest

    5.47

    0.88

    Conifer Scattered
    Canopy Forest

    0.31

    0.05

    Closed Canopy Shrub

    13.96

    2.25

    Open Canopy Shrub

    3.49

    0.56

    Scattered Canopy Shrub

    3.62

    0.58

    Meadow

    10.09

    1.62

    *Source: Metro (1998).

    The protection of this canyon area and the critical salmonid
    habitat it supports is particularly important as parts of this watershed
    continue to urbanize. Most of this canyon zone lies outside the urban reserve
    zone and is therefore unlikely to be developed in the near future. Rather, the
    principal threat to the water quality, water quantity, soil stability, and
    wildlife habitat values provided by this area is from timber harvesting by
    current or future landowners. Given the fragile nature of much of this zone and
    its direct connection to critical salmonid habitat; tree removal and other
    activities associated with timber harvesting in this particular zone could have
    a significant impact on overall watershed health. Current State of Oregon
    forest practice regulations do not prevent the removal of most of this forest
    cover. The Council must take a lead role in ensuring that this area remains
    largely intact. This will require working with landowners, the Metro
    Greenspaces Program, Clackamas County, and local land trusts to find
    appropriate economic and policy mechanisms for retaining this area as intact
    forest.

    This lower canyon zone includes about 191 separate tax lots owned
    by 142 different landowners. The average lot size is about six acres, although
    sizes range from a little over one thousand square feet to 43 acres. Many of
    the larger lots, however, extend well beyond the delineated zone. Most of these
    tax lots are occupied; about 70 percent have assessed improvement values of
    $25,000 or more.

    2.2 Forested Riparian Zone of Lower Rock Creek

    As in lower Richardson Creek, the forested riparian zone of lower
    Rock Creek (reaches 1, 2 and 3) is fundamental to the health of that watershed
    and to the hope of restoring healthy populations of salmon to the lower end of
    this creek. This zone is also delineated on the accompanying Opportunity map
    based on the extent of steep slopes, soils with high erosion potential,
    wetlands, and intact forest cover. Highly erodable soils cover 30 percent of
    this 293-acre area, and nearly 40 percent of the area has slopes greater than
    25 percent. Over 65 percent is forested, primarily in closed canopy mixed
    conifer and deciduous forest and nearly 18 percent is in agriculture.

    Lower Rock Canyon: Vegetation and Land Cover Type*

    Vegetation and Land Cover Type

    acres

    percent

    Water

    0.09

    0.03

    Barren and Sparsely
    Vegetated

    18.19

    6.22

    Agriculture

    52.35

    17.90

    Deciduous Closed
    Canopy Forest

    17.17

    5.87

    Mixed Closed Canopy
    Forest

    104.81

    35.83

    Conifer Closed Canopy
    Forest

    27.21

    9.30

    Deciduous Open Canopy
    Forest

    10.92

    3.73

    Mixed Open Canopy
    Forest

    11.73

    4.01

    Conifer Open Canopy
    Forest

    0.77

    0.26

    Deciduous Scattered
    Canopy Forest

    12.42

    4.25

    Mixed Scattered Canopy
    Forest

    5.14

    1.76

    Conifer Scattered
    Canopy Forest

    0.91

    0.31

    Closed Canopy Shrub

    12.05

    4.12

    Open Canopy Shrub

    3.44

    1.18

    Scattered Canopy Shrub

    4.97

    1.70

    Meadow

    10.37

    3.55

    *Source: Metro (1998).

    Like the Lower Richardson canyon area, protection of the Lower
    Rock Creek canyon area and the critical salmonid habitat it supports is
    particularly important as parts of this watershed urbanize. All of this zone
    lies either within the current urban growth boundary or within the urban
    reserve zone and is therefore likely to be developed in the near future. Given
    the fragile nature of much of this zone and its direct connection to critical
    salmonid habitat, intensive development could have a significant impact on
    overall watershed health. The Council must take a lead role in ensuring that
    the remaining forest cover area remains largely undisturbed. This will require
    working with landowners, the Metro Greenspaces Program, Clackamas County, and
    local land trusts to find appropriate economic and policy mechanisms for
    retaining this area as intact forest.

    The lower Rock Creek canyon zone includes about 229 separate tax
    lots owned by 161 different landowners. The average lot size is about 2 acres,
    although sizes range from a little over one thousand square feet to 50 acres.
    Many of the larger lots extend beyond the delineated zone. Most of these tax
    lots are occupied; nearly 60 percent have assessed improvement values of
    $25,000 or more.

    The Council must take a lead role in ensuring that this area
    remains largely intact. This will require working with landowners, the Metro
    Greenspaces Program, Clackamas County, and local land trusts to find
    appropriate economic and policy mechanisms for retaining this area as intact
    forest.

    2.3 Middle Rock Creek

    The Council should take a lead role in restoring the riparian
    zone and stream channel in middle Rock Creek (all of reach 5 and parts of reach
    4 and 6). Part of this area contains a small and isolated population of
    cutthroat trout in a stretch of Rock Creek between Foster Road and SE 172nd
    Avenues. Generally there is poor riparian cover in this section, partly
    channelized stream sections, a lack of habitat complexity and a lack of refuge
    habitat. The stability and recovery of cutthroat trout in upper Rock Creek
    depends on restoration of riparian cover and habitat in this zone.

    As roughly delineated on the Opportunity map, this area is about
    300 acres in size, and is characterized by primarily gentle slopes, although
    eleven percent of the area has slopes of between 25 and 50 percent. Currently,
    only 62 percent of the land cover is forested. Tree planting and restoration is
    most important for areas closest to the creek.

    Middle Rock Creek: Vegetation and Land Cover Type*

    Land Cover Type

    acres

    percent

    Barren and Sparsely
    Vegetated

    31.00

    10.12

    Agriculture

    35.74

    11.67

    Deciduous Closed
    Canopy Forest

    47.85

    15.63

    Mixed Closed Canopy
    Forest

    68.92

    22.51

    Conifer Closed Canopy
    Forest

    7.59

    2.48

    Deciduous Open Canopy
    Forest

    16.43

    5.37

    Mixed Open Canopy
    Forest

    29.91

    9.77

    Conifer Open Canopy
    Forest

    1.39

    0.45

    Deciduous Scattered
    Canopy Forest

    11.68

    3.81

    Mixed Scattered Canopy
    Forest

    5.44

    1.78

    Conifer Scattered
    Canopy Forest

    0.62

    0.20

    Closed Canopy Shrub

    13.20

    4.31

    Open Canopy Shrub

    7.02

    2.29

    Scattered Canopy Shrub

    5.99

    1.95

    Meadow

    23.40

    7.64

    *Source: Metro (1998).

    The middle Rock Creek zone includes about 189 separate tax lots
    owned by 137 different landowners. The average lot size is about four acres,
    although sizes range from a little less than 700 square feet to 125 acres. Many
    of the larger lots, however, extend well beyond the delineated zone. Most of
    these tax lots are occupied; about 65 percent have assessed improvement values
    of $25,000 or more

    The Council will need to work with landowners and residents of
    this area to:

  • Identify and repair any fish barriers,

  • Identify potential sources of erosion and sedimentation
    and address them with best management practices, and

  • Promote plantings of native tree species within the
    riparian zone.

    Potential Partners for Protection and Restoration of Key Areas

    Clackamas Planning
    9101 SE Sunnybrook Blvd.
    Clackamas, OR 97015

    503.353.4400

    www.co.clackamas.or.us

    www.co.clackamas.or.us/dtd/lngplan/l-plan.html (long term planning by project)

    Columbia Land Trust

    1351 Officers’ Row
    Vancouver, WA 98661

    306.696.0131

    www.columbialandtrust.org

    Metro Parks and Greenspaces
    600 NE Grand Ave.
    Portland, OR 97232-2736

    503.797.1850

    www.metro-region.org/parks/parks.html

    Metro’s Metropolitan Greenspaces Program has begun to identify
    and protect natural areas within the metropolitan area. The goal of the program
    is to establish a regional system of natural areas, parks, and open spaces that
    are connected by trails and greenways. Metro has identified specific greenway
    linkages within the Rock Creek Watershed for acquisition and public management.

    Oregon Sustainable
    Agriculture Land Trust
    (OSALT)
    PO Box 1106
    Canby, OR 97013-1106

    503.263.8392
    www.osalt.org

     

    Trust for Public Lands

    Oregon Field Office
    1211 SW Sixth Ave.
    Portland, OR 97204

    503.228.4529

    www.tpl.org/nearu/nwro

    3. Community Outreach and Education

    Community outreach and education should be aimed at creating
    awareness of the role of watersheds and key watershed issues, building support
    for community watershed efforts, and changing behavior patterns in ways that
    restore and enhance watershed health. Many of the activities of the Clackamas
    Basin Council provide important outreach and education opportunities.
    Activities that protect and restore these creeks should be used as a vehicle
    for larger Clackamas Basin protection efforts. Moreover, there will be a lot of
    media publicity as this area urbanizes, and the Council should be prepared to
    use it to advantage There are at least two specific projects, however, for
    which education is the principal goal. In conducting outreach and education the
    Council should stimulate community partnerships with local schools, landowners,
    and businesses, and aim to create a watershed community that will take the
    individual steps needed to maintain and restore watershed health. Two excellent
    avenues for reaching the local community are the Damascus and Sunnyside
    Community Fairs in July and August as well as the Rock Creek Community
    Association.

    3.1 Damascus Restoration Demonstration

    The Council should take a lead role in restoration of the section
    of Richardson Creek that has been damaged by channelization and the failure of
    the Safeway and Dairy Queen septic systems. This site is a critical link to
    water quality in Richardson Creek. Moreover, while it may not be the most
    important restoration project in the watershed, it is the most visible one and
    provides an excellent opportunity to connect residents to the Richardson Creek
    watershed and demonstrate the potential for restoration. As a leader in this
    effort the Council will need to work closely with the landowners, broker the
    roles of various local and regional agencies, search for creative solutions to
    the specific challenges of the site, and gather and focus the energies of local
    residents. For example, while the Damascus waste treatment issue has often been
    framed as a dilemma between inadequate septic and unavailable sewer systems
    there may be other viable alternatives for onsite biological waste treatment. A
    Living Machine is one example of an effective and economical system for
    biological treatment of high strength industrial wastewater and sewage that
    could offer an effective solution. Living Machines incorporate and accelerate
    the processes nature uses to purify water. With the help of sunlight and a
    managed environment, a diversity of organisms including bacteria, plants,
    snails, and fish break down and digest organic pollutants. Depending on the
    climate, Living Machines can be housed in a protective greenhouse, under light shelter
    or in the open air.

    The Council may be able to play a pivotal role in brokering
    resources and partners to implement such a local solution.

    Resources for Damascus Area Restoration

    Living Technologies
    431 Pine Street
    Burlington, Vermont 05401
    802.865.4460
    Fax: 802.865.4438
    info@livingtechnologies.com

    http://www.livingtechnologies.com

    http://www.livingtechnologies.com/htm/home.htm

     

    Environmental Protection Agency

    U.S. EPA Region 10
    1200 6th Avenue
    Seattle, WA 98101
    206.553.1200
    http://www.epa.gov/region10/

    http://www.epa.gov/owmitnet/
    (Office of Wastewater Management)

     

    State of Oregon
    Department of Environmental Quality
    811 SW Sixth Avenue
    Portland, OR 97204

    800.452.4011

     

    Water Environment
    Services (WES)

    Clackamas County
    9101 SE Sunnybrook Blvd, #441
    Clackamas, OR 97015

    503.353.4567

    Further Reading related to Damascus Area Restoration

    Whole Earth Review. Modern
    Landscape Ecology (Special Issue)
    . Whole Earth Review. Summer 1998.

    Honachefsky, William B. Ecologically
    Based Municipal Planning
    . Lewis Publishers. 1999.

    Matilsky, Barbara C..Ý Fragile Ecologies: Contemporary Artists’
    Interpretations
    . Rizzoli Books. 1992.

    United States Environmental Protection Agency. Wastewater
    Primer. EPA 833-K-98-001. May 1998. (http://www.epa.gov/owmitnet/primer.pdf).

    3.2 Use of Fertilizers, Herbicides, and Pesticides

    The Council should take a lead role in educating residents,
    operators, businesses and vendors about the role of fertilizer, herbicide and
    pesticide on water quality and watershed health, and more sustainable
    alternatives to their use. This outreach and education effort should be
    strategically focused for greatest long-term impact. Likely partners to the
    Council may include University Extension and Metro as well as local business
    associations and non-profits.

    Conventional agriculture relies on massive application of
    pesticides, fertilizers, and fossil fuels, which result in soil erosion and the
    contamination of groundwater and ecosystems. As an alternative, sustainable
    agriculture eliminates the use of pesticides and artificial chemicals and
    largely maintains soil fertility by application of on-farm residues and
    rotation of nitrogen-fixing crops. Any external fertilizers must themselves be
    sustainably produced. Soil erosion is minimized through crop choices,
    cover-cropping, and low-till methods, and crop diversity provides inherent
    resilience in the face of pests, disease, and weather extremes.

    Most, but not all, aspects of Sustainable Agriculture are addressed by organic
    certification standards like those administered state-wide by California Tilth
    and Oregon Tilth and nationally by the U.S.D.A. This form of product labeling
    and certification is well-understood in the marketplace, and can attract a
    premium of 50% or more. The organic food market is the fastest growing sector
    of the food industry, with a growth rate of 20% per year over the last two
    decades. Processors, handlers, marketers, and restaurants can also receive
    organic certification, creating a wide range of opportunities for value-added
    production.

    Agriculture is only one source of fertilizers, herbicides and
    pesticides, and a diminishing one in the Rock and Richardson Creek watersheds.
    The use and impact of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides on watershed
    health in urban and suburban areas can often exceeds that of agricultural areas
    due to the unregulated use by untrained homeowners. Owners of farms and
    household landscapes and gardens can improve watershed health by maintaining
    their own soil fertility, avoiding pesticide use, and preventing erosion.

    3.2.1Partners and Resources for Fertilizer, Herbicide and Pesticide Reduction

     

    Oregon State University

    North Willamette Research and Extension Center
    15210 NE Miley Road
    Aurora, Oregon 97002-9543

    503.678.1264
    Fax: 503.678.5986

    http://osu.orst.edu/dept/NWREC/

    Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to
    Pesticides (NCAP)

    P.O. Box
    1393
    Eugene,
    Oregon 97440

    503.344.5044
    Fax:
    541.344.6923

    http://www.pesticide.org/

     

    Washington Toxics
    Coalition

    4649 Sunnyside Ave N Suite 540E
    Seattle WA 98103
    206.632.1545
    http://www.watoxics.org/

    Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
    Grant program
    (SARE)

    United States Department of Agriculture

    Room 322, Agricultural Science Building
    4865 Old Main Hill Road
    Logan, Utah 84322-4865
    435.797.2257

    http://wsare.usu.edu

    The mission of SARE is to expand knowledge and adoption of
    sustainable agriculture practices that are economically viable, environmentally
    sound and socially acceptable. An example of their grant program is the
    Farmer/Rancher Research and Education Grant program (USDA). Producers and
    producer groups residing in the Western U.S. eligible to compete for grants to
    identify, evaluate and test sustainable agriculture practices and challenges.

    Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust (OSALT)
    P.O. Box 1106
    Canby, Oregon 97013-1106

    503. 263.8392

    Email:
    osalt@teleport.com

    http://www.osalt.org

     

    OSALT protects urban gardens and farm, ranch and forestland,
    holding them in trust for agricultural use by future generations. OSALT trains
    growers in sustainable practices through apprenticeships, seminars, workshops
    and publications, and seeks to inform the public of the importance of
    sustainable practices.

     

    Oregon Tilth

    1860 Hawthorne Ave. NE
    Suite 200
    Salem Oregon, 97303

    503.378.0690

    http://www.tilth.org

     

    Oregon Tilth is a non-profit research and education
    organization certifying organic farmers, processors, retailers and handlers
    throughout Oregon, the United States, and internationally.

     

    The Food Alliance

    1829 NE Alberta, # 5
    Portland, OR 97211
    503.493.1066
    Email: info@thefoodalliance.org

    http://www.thefoodalliance.org

    As an independent third party the Food Alliance endorses farms
    that meet their strict requirements and allow products to carry their seal of
    approval, which ensures consumers that they are buying healthy food and
    supporting farmers who protect the environment and provide safe and fair
    working conditions for their employees. Farmers whose products bear the label
    meet or exceed their standards in the areas of conserving soil and water, pest
    and disease management, and human resources.

     

    Chefs Collaborative

    282 Moody Street, Suite 207
    Waltham, MA 02453
    781.736.0635

    Email: cc2000@chefnet.com or
    info@portlandcc.org

    http://www.portlandcc.org

    http://www.chefnet.com/cc2000

    The Chefs Collaborative is a network of chefs, restaurateurs and other culinary professionals who promote sustainable cuisine by teaching children, supporting local farmers, educating each other & inspiring their customers to choose clean, healthy foods.

    Environmental Working Group (EWG) 1718 Connecticut Ave., N.W.Nickerson
    Marina Building

    Suite 600   1080
    W. Ewing Pl, Suite 301
    Washington, DC 20009   Seattle,
    WA 98119
    202.667.6982 206.286.1235
    x18
    Email: info@ewg.org Email:
    ewg_seattle@ewg.org

    The Environmental Working Group is a leading content provider
    for public interest groups and concerned citizens who are campaigning to
    protect the environment. They produce hundreds of headline-making reports each
    year, drawing on original EWG analyses of government and other data. Food News
    (http://www.foodnews.org