Our StreamCare program has planted half a million plants!

staff and contractors staking native plants at a site along Johnson Creek

On February 9th, EMSWCD planted its 500,000th native plant through its StreamCare program, marking twelve years of planting native trees and shrubs to improve stream health and help salmon throughout eastern Multnomah County!

StreamCare has been plugging away planting native trees and shrubs along streams in Gresham, Corbett and Troutdale since 2009, working together with more than 200 landowners that have voluntarily enrolled in the program. Our Executive Director Nancy Hamilton says of the program: “Our crews are able to transform stream fronts from blackberry brambles to thriving native forests that attract wildlife, protect water quality, and build more resilient communities.” Watch our brand new video below highlighting the milestone planting!

The main goal of StreamCare is creating shade. As the trees mature, they cast their shadows over the stream, lowering the temperature of the water. “It’s mostly to benefit salmon,” says Lucas Nipp, our StreamCare program manager. “Salmon need cool water. Most of the streams in our area are far too warm for healthy salmon.”

Streamside forests also filter the water running through them, removing pollutants before they reach the creek. As the forest returns to its natural state, wildlife that rely on it for food and shelter begin to return. As the trees grow old and fall in the creek or drop branches, the fallen debris creates deep pools that salmon are drawn to for the cool water and hiding spots. Streamside forests also make our communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change, including mitigating the impacts of both flooding and drought.

The StreamCare work being done by EMSWCD has also been providing work for people. Since its inception in 2009, StreamCare has provided over 38,000 hours of work and counting for field crews. This has been even more important recently as COVID-19 has impacted employment. “Having clients that understand that we have to modify our workflow and protocols to ensure the safety of our employees has been key to keeping the work going through COVID. EMSWCD has worked with us as we continue to do great ecological work together,” says Alex Staunch with Mosaic Ecology, a contractor of EMSWCD.

StreamCare is free for landowners along Johnson, Beaver, Smith, Buck, and Big Creeks, as well as Bonnie Brook. Call, text or email Julie DiLeone with questions or for more information: (503) 539-5764 or julie@emswcd.org. You can also visit our StreamCare page to learn more.