Shade Our Streams

Everyone has a role in shading our streams!

Shade Our Streams is unique, bringing together landowners, local partnerships, nurseries, volunteers and professional restoration crews — all by planting native plants! And we couldn't do it without community support and participation. 

If you live on, or know of a streamside area overrun with invasive weeds and/or lacking shade, we want to hear from you! We also accept referrals and welcome opportunities to partner with other organizations.

This year, the Shade Our Streams program will focus on reaching out to property owners in the lower Clackamas watershed, including those along the tributaries (Rock, Richardson, Sieban, and Cow Creek - to name a few), Deep Creek, Eagle Creek, and the Mainstem.

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Get involved

Find out how you can get involved and take advantage of this 'no cost' opportunity. For more information about the Shade Our Streams program in general, please contact Chelsea at chelsea@clackamasriver.org or 503-303-4372 x 105. 

Community members can also learn more about the restoration process by touring a project site or attending a volunteer work party or educational event .

Program description

Shade Our Streams is a multi-year community tree planting project to improve water quality in the Clackamas River Basin. We will plant more than 450,000 native plants over 6 years along 30 stream miles, restoring streamside habitat at no cost to property owners. Shade Our Streams will focus on planting along the streams that need the most help - those areas that lack healthy habitats and are overrun with invasive weeds. Native plants improve water quality and create better habitat for plant, animal, and fish species. 

Where we work

We work in the Clackamas watershed in Boring, Damascus, Happy Valley, Sandy, Estacada, Eagle Creek, Redland, Viola, and parts of Gladstone and Oregon City. Streamside landowners are encouraged to give CRBC a call to find out how they can get involved!

Planted Projects

Photos:  Shade Our Streams projects along North Fork Deep Creek and Foster Creek, planted in 2013.

The steps

Contact us! – CRBC staff will begin by setting up a site visit for a one-on-one consultation with landowners to learn about interests and concerns on their property and to discuss how Shade Our Streams can help. Staff will work closely with landowners to create a detailed plan for restoration activities.
Site preparation – Once enrolled, site prep will include treatments up to 3 times per year during the spring, summer, and fall using professional restoration contractors. Several of the most aggressive weeds that we tackle include Himalayan blackberry, Japanese knotweed, English ivy, and reed canarygrass.
Planting – Native trees and shrubs from local nurseries will be planted during winter months so that they can establish strong root systems prior to summer’s dry weather. A variety of specific plants are chosen from a list of 24 species based on site characteristics and other factors.
Maintenance/monitoring – For two years following the planting, news trees and shrubs will be monitored and the weeds managed. Staff will assess the health of the planted area and make sure plants are thriving in a state where they are “free to grow”, outgrowing the invasive weeds and leaving property owners with a beautiful streamside area.

Blackberry Patch

Photos:  Himalayan blackberry patch along Clear Creek before treatment and after.

Treatment And Planting

Photos:  Restoration crews remove invasive weeds and plant native trees and shrubs.

Additional resources

Fact Sheets:

  - What is Shade Our Streams? 

  - Why Plant Natives?

  - Why Remove Invasive Plants?

  - Welcome to the Shade Our Streams Program

  - Stop Erosion Before it Starts and Leave the Leaves

  - Here We Grow! What to Expect

Latest news:

  - SOLVE IT Sandy Earth Day Project at Bluff Park – Sandy Post (4/16/14)

  - More Shade, Happier Fish – PGE Home Connection Customer News (April 2014)

  - Shady Project Continues on Clackamas River – Portland Tribune Sustainable Life (2/7/14)

  - Partnering for Water Quality – Estacada News (2/5/14)

  - Volunteers Invited to Help Spread Mulch – Sandy Post (1/29/14)

Recent communications:

  - Spring Events in the Clackamas Watershed - (e-blast, 4/21/14)

  - Spring/Summer 2014 Recruitment Postcard - (4/18/14)

  - Shade, Streams, and Salmon! - (e-blast, 2/19/14)

  - Shade Our Streams Program to Plant 86,000 Trees and Shrubs (press release, 2/6/14)

  - A Valentine for Deep Creek Stewardship Workshop (press release, 1/16/14

  - Fall Newsletter (12/18/13)

Meeting our goals together

Streamside Miles Enrolled by Participating Landowners

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Progress (as of February 2014)

  - 160,000+ natives have been planted in total along 11.5 stream miles

  - 82,000 were planted in 2014, that’s 5 stream miles across 27 projects!

  - 78,000 were planted in 2013

  - 75 landowners are currently enrolled in the program, whose properties total over 16 stream miles

  - 5 additional stream miles will be enrolled in 2014

What landowners are saying …

"I know I won't see these trees mature, but it gives me great satisfaction to know that I can do something to help the area. My property has had a 180-degree turn around from what it was, and it makes me want to do more to improve it."  ~Terry Low, Foster Creek landowner

“The invasives were horrible. We were trying to manage just 10-15 ft at a time, but we couldn’t keep up. We would be working on one area and we’d turn around and the weeds were growing up behind us. CRBC is helping me be a good steward to my property.”   ~Robyn Beisell, Goose Creek landowner

“With the Shade Our Streams program doing this work at no cost to us, it saves our farm time and money on herbicide and labor.”  ~Rennie Squier of Delano Farms, Clear Creek landowner

Why is this project important?

Watershed Uses

Photos:  Benefits of a healthy watershed! Deer from a Shade Our Streams project along Foster Creek, vine maple and Douglas fir at a Goose Creek project, and Coho salmon at Foster Creek.

Helping Property Owners - CRBC is excited to offer assistance to streamside landowners who are interested in improving their riparian property. Removing stubborn weeds and replacing them with native plants can create beautiful streamside areas that will not only provide a natural space for families to enjoy the outdoors, but can also reduce bank erosion, lower home energy costs, and increase property values.

Restoring the Environment - Establishing native plant buffers around streams has many environmental benefits. Replacing invasive weeds with native plants promotes diverse habitats and provides sources of food and cover for birds and wildlife. Fish species depend on streamside trees to provide shade and cool the water temperatures. Vegetation also improves fish habitat by adding natural debris to the stream where juvenile fish can grow large and hide from predators.

Improving Community Health - The Clackamas River Basin is an asset to the entire community, providing drinking water for nearly 400,000 individuals. It’s also one of the last remaining salmon strongholds, home to wild Coho, Chinook, and Steelhead and provides abundant recreational opportunities. The shade provided by native plants lowers water temperatures and reduces the risk of bacteria growth. This cleaner water is healthier to drink and healthier to play in! Riparian trees also beautify the area, making a more pleasant streamside experience for all.