End Creek Restoration Planting Project

What We Do: Restoration and Collaboration / End Creek Restoration Planting Project

 

HCPC Members Help Restore a Creek

 

End Creek Tree Planting. Photo: Brian Kelly

End Creek Tree Planting. Photo: Brian Kelly

 

Hells Canyon Preservation Council members took an active role in restoring a local ecosystem by planting native willows along a restored streambank . Sixteen volunteers planted 2300 native willow whips along End Creek in the Grande Ronde Valley. The End Creek Project is restoring a natural condition to a creek that was extensively ditched in the past. The channel has been reconstructed to a longer, more diverse, meandering stream channel. As they grow to maturity, the native willows that we planted will shade the creek and help stabilize the stream bank. The project will help threatened summer steelhead and Chinook salmon as well as rainbow trout. In spite of an exceptionally hot summer, almost all of the willows have survived and were growing well when we checked on them at the end of the growing season.

The property is owned by the Blue Mountains Conservancy, a local land trust. The land contains the only natural grassland and vernal pool area of any size at the north end of the Grande Ronde Valley. These 800 acres form a unique natural corridor of connectivity between the Blue Mountains and the Grande Ronde River. It’s an important natural oasis surrounded by agricultural lands and it provides an important refuge for threatened, endangered or sensitive plant and animal species. The creek, wet meadows and ponds are welcome stopover sites for migratory waterfowl traveling north and south through the intermountain west.

The planting event was co-sponsored by HCPC and Trees East, a tree planting non-profit organization. Partners in the End Creek Project include Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Grande Ronde Model Watershed, The Bonneville Power Administration, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and former property-owner Joel Rice.