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Faith: We're at Schweitzer Natural Area along
Johnson Creek. An area that's been
recently rehabilitated upstream, but
downstream we're looking at some of the
old urban channel that shows both
effects of agriculture and urbanization
over time. I have with me Gardner and
Janine here. And Gardner, you're
familiar with the area. What's been
some of the history on the watershed as
far as the development over time?
Gardner: Well, Johnson Creek watershed
upstream at this point is fairly highly
developed, both in urbanization as well
as agricultural impacts. A lot of the
areas along the stream historically
would have been cedar forest with a lot
of interconnected wetlands that were
connected to the channel that provided
all sorts of complex fish habitat.
Agriculture and urbanization have been
the primary impacts here, as well as
timber harvest very early on. And those
impacts have resulted in lots of
changes to the stream channel in this
area. Once of the most fundamental
changes in this area was confinement of
the channel into a straightened and
hardened channel, and this was done in
the '30's by the Works Progress
And, you can see that here there's a
grouted stone bank, trapezoidal
channel, very straight, very
simplified. The wood's been pulled out,
the habitat has been severely degraded
for aquatic species like salmon which
we had in large numbers historically,
but in very few numbers relatively now.
So, there's been some large impacts.
Faith: So, we have some changes in the
watershed and then also, some changes
of remediate effects in the channel
itself. Janine, what's changed about
the sediment characteristics as well in this watershed?
Janine: Well, it's very common in
urbanized watersheds to see a change in
the sediment, the type of sediment in
the stream. And, in Johnson Creek in
particular, we've seen a decrease in
the coarse sediment, the gravels and
the cobbles, the bigger material, which
creates the habitat, physical habitat
for the fish. And, we've seen an
increase in the fine sediment, so the
silts and the clays, which end up as
more turbid, kind of muddy water coming
through during storm events.
Faith: So, basically, we have a very
mature, somewhat mature forest behind
us. It looks very beautiful. But yet,
you know, we have the stream channel
that's been disconnected from its
floodplain, as well as the changes
within the channel itself with the
habitat, as well as the watershed
changes in hydrology and sediment. So,
a lot of things are going on here.
[End of Audio]
Title: Rehabilitating urban streams for 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) discuss watershed changes associated with urbanization that have led to degraded channel conditions and altered salmon habitat.
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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