Cedar Creek - ripe for restoration?
Changes would open up waterways
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking for public input on a draft feasibility study - along with an environmental assessment - for ecosystem restoration projects in the Cedar Creek watershed.
Officials say the increased pressures from development over the last 150 years have included draining wetlands, increased erosion, hardening of channel banks, and the introduction of non-native species as the area became urbanized.
Co-sponsored by the City of Springfield and Lane County, the plan recommends restoring floodplain structure and function along three reaches of Cedar Creek.
Near the creek’s confluence with the McKenzie River the plan calls for utilizing an existing side channel of the river to divert flow into Cedar Creek. The location, approximately 1,400 feet up-stream from the current intake, is reportedly more geologically stable and would create a fish friendly, open water connection between Cedar Creek and the river. The side channel diversion could support summertime flows into Cedar Creek from between ten and 15 cubic feet per second.
Another part of the restoration plan would also improve the waterway connections between South and North Cedar Creek. In addition, a segment of a concrete channel would be removed on the 72nd Street channel, with flows diverted back into the 75th Street channel. Plus, a portion of the Gray Creek channel that currently flows through underground pipes would be restored to improve aquatic habitat.
The proposal includes acquiring the Blue Water Ponds and relocating the commercial/industrial activities currently operating in that area. Workers would recontour the banks of the ponds to improve wetland/riparian habitat. A new diversion from Cedar Creek to the ponds could restore some backwater channels while restoring Western Pond Turtle habitat, including the installation of basking structures in and around the ponds.
Besides focusing on the aquatic environment, recreational trails would be constructed along many of the waterways to facilitate public access.
The draft feasibility study and environmental assessment are available for public review and comment on the Corps’ Portland District website at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/media/announcements.aspx.
Questions or comments on the draft documents can be submitted by February 15th to Environmental Resource Specialist Kris Lightner by phone at 503-808-4748 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can also be submitted by mail to District Engineer, Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: Kris Lightner, CENWP-PM-E, P.O. Box 2946, Portland, OR, 97208-2946.