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.

In 2018, we planted our last 5 miles of streamside property, completing our goal of 30 miles!

Even though we have completed our 30 mile goal, we are still able to offer resources and support to landowners. If you live on, or know of a streamside area overrun with invasive weeds and/or lacking shade, we want to hear from you! Please contact Amy Barton at amy@clackamasriver.org or at 503-303-4372, 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. The original program was supported by Portland General Electric. We have planted 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 focuses 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, hold soils and create better habitat for plant, animal, and fish species.

Now, CRBC is continuing the Shade Our Streams program with funding from sources such as Water Environment Services, PGE Habitat Fund and others. 

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!

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

The Steps

  1. 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 might help. Staff will work with landowners to create a detailed plan for restoration activities for their property.
  2. Site preparation – Once enrolled, site prep will include weed 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.
  3. 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 based on site characteristics and other factors.
  4. Maintenance/monitoring – For two years following the initial planting, new 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 and functional streamside area. Landowners will receive monitoring reports with updates about their plantings.
  5. Ongoing education – Throughout the program, landowners will receive stewardship materials such as fact sheets (see below) as well as other educational materials to help address issues and concerns that are specific to your unique needs as a streamside landowner. Enrolled landowners also have access to additional support and resources after they have reached the “Free To Grow” stage.

Meeting Our Goals Together

Streamside Miles Enrolled by Participating Landowners

Progress (as of January 2019)

  • 500,000 natives have been planted in total along 30 stream miles
  • 90,000 were planted in 2018, and graduated 25 landowners from the program
  • Maintenance on five miles of stream will continue for another two years.

Why is this project important?

Helping Property Owners – Removing stubborn weeds and replacing them with native plants can create beautiful riparian 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 300,000 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.

Additional resources

Fact Sheets:
Latest News: