By Nathan Barrett
In just over a week, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and Friends of Trees will team up to plant about 90 trees along the Elrod Slough, a section of the Columbia Slough Watershed. The planting will begin with registration and breakfast treats at 8:45 am Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1020 NE Riverside Way. The restoration project is supported by Airport Futures, a collaboration among the Port of Portland, the City of Portland, and the Portland-Vancouver metro community.
Similarly to Friends of Trees, the Watershed Council is focused on enhancing and protecting the environment, but specifically in the area that the watershed encompasses. Check out what Elrod Slough could be!
Starting in the 1920’s, the City of Portland began to create levies to divert the seasonal flooding from the Columbia River. These levies then created the channels that we now know as the Columbia Slough. Throughout the 20th century, the Slough was seen as a place to dump hazardous chemicals. This continued to take place for much of the 20th century. In 1994 neighborhood groups, businesses and government associations began discussing how to keep the areas around the Columbia Slough from further harm.
In 1996 the Columbia Slough Watershed Council was formed with a mission to enhance, protect, restore and revitalize the Slough and its watershed.
For over 15 years, the Watershed Council has followed through on its mission through stewardship, community outreach, and education. The “Slough School” reaches out to the 42 different schools throughout the watershed. Each year it works with over 2,000 students. In the past year, the Watershed Council planted over 3,000 native trees, shrubs and plants. The council has also made connections with community members through family events where people can learn about the importance of native plants, healthy groundwater, the state of the Slough, and native wildlife in the area.
Events like the one at the Elrod Slough with Friends of Trees are extremely important. Not only do they restore and create a healthy watershed, but they also connect the surrounding community to its environment! For details, check out Friends of Trees’ Portland-Vancouver planting calendar. To volunteer for this amazing chance to restore your Elrod Slough, Sign Up Here!
–Nathan Barrett is Community Connections Coordinator for the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.