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Connecting flood management and salmon habitat improvement, Johnson Creek Schweitzer Natural Area, Portland, Oregon

Information presented is factual at the time of creation.
If no transcript and/or closed-caption is available, please notify us.
[Music playing]

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?

Janine: Absolutely.

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

future hydrology.

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.

Gardner: Exactly.

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.

[Music playing]

[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

Length: 4:05

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)

File Details:

Suggest an update to the information/tags?

Tags: AquaticEcology DouglasHarned EUSE Ecosystems FaithFitzpatrick Habitat Hydrology Interfluve JohnsonCreek NAWQA Oregon Salmon StreamRehabilitation StreamRestoration USFishAndWildlifeService USGS Urbanization WaterQuality WaterResourceManagement


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