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Faith: We're here at Schweitzer Natural
Area along Johnson Creek in a
rehabilitated area that was done just a
few years ago. You can still see some
of little trees in front of us that
were planted not so long ago and things.
Janine, this site, we have a pretty
wide flood plain area here. What were
some of the things about flood control
and habitat that were important for
this site, as well as in the Portland area?
Janine: Well, Johnson Creek floods very
regularly and it's been a problem in
Portland for a number of years. And, we
also have concerns about the salmon and
returning salmon. So, this was a really
good opportunity. We had enough space
where we could create both aquatic
habitat and have some flood management.
So, we were able to open this area up,
allow more flooding, some backwater
areas that provide habitat, and really
being able to achieve both goals of
providing flood management, and
increasing and improving aquatic habitat.
Faith: So, instead of having them be
separate, it really was the connection
of the two that make this even that
much more important and more beneficial
in the long run too?
Faith: Gardner, you know, what are some
of the specifics in the design of this
site and it's got a lot of innovative
techniques that were used here?
Gardner: Yeah, well, this is, you know
as are the challenges of designing for
urban areas, we have to consider a
whole new suite of things that affect
urban channels. It's very different
than working in a natural system.
So, one of those is the altered
hydrology, we have higher peak flows
and more frequent peak flows than we
had historically. So, as Janine said,
trying to control for that increased
flooding, nuisance flooding that would
occur here, the entire floodplain here
was excavated down about five or six
feet. And, every cubic yard of material
that was put out of here is an extra
cubic yard of flood storage the City
has to decrease downstream flooding.
We also looked at the new hydrology and
the potential future hydrology as a
means to design the channel. And so,
the channel geometry, whether it be the
cross section or the pattern in the
landscape, was designed based on the
current hydrology and the potential
Faith: So, it had enough space in here
to also get in some side channel
habitat, which is very important for
different species, not only the fish,
but also other species that like
standing water during certain time
periods, or to get that refuge factor
out too in this again, this channel
that's taking flows that it wouldn't
have had before. Higher than what it
would've had prior to urbanization.
Faith: The other interesting thing
here, we don't see any rock lined banks
on the outside of the bends, which
usually take a lot of the erosive
flows. So, how are you able to avoid
using that in this case?
Gardner: Yeah, we didn't want to end up
with a channel like we had before that
has the armored banks, that don't have
any ability for lateral adjustment. So,
in this case, we used large logs to
provide bank stability as well as habitat for fish.
We also used what's called an
encapsulated soil lift, which is a
fabric, piece of fabric that's filled
with soil to construct the banks. And
so, those banks will provide interim
stability until the vegetation that's
planted here grows up and can provide
that long-term stability; and
eventually, allow the stream to move
around as streams do naturally.
Faith: So, even though we have the
Johnson Creek that still gets a lot of
flooding, we're able to include some of
the more natural features that are
beneficial both to the in-stream and
the floodplain species.
[End of Audio]
Title: Connecting flood management and salmon habitat improvement, Johnson Creek Schweitzer Natural Area, Portland, Oregon
Faith Fitzpatrick (U.S. Geological Survey), Gardner Johnston (Interfluve, Inc.), and Janine Castro (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) describe techniques for designing salmon habitat with flood management in Portland's urban streams.
Location: Portland, OR, Johnson Creek Schweitzer Natural Area, USA
Date Taken: 12/13/2010
Video Producer: Douglas A. Harned , National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), USGS, North Carolina Water Science Center, Raleigh, NC
Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.
Additional Video Credits:
Faith Fitzpatrick: Scriptwriter, Narrator, Scientist Consultant
Gerard McMahon: Producer
Douglas Harned: Producer, Video, Editor
Alan Cressler: Video
Luke McMahon: Video
Gardner Johnston (Interfluve, Inc.)
Janine Castro (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
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