Ecosystem restoration is often accomplished in steps, one project at a time. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently helped the city of Portland take a giant step forward to restore a small but significant waterway.
Crystal Springs Creek is less than two and a half miles long. It flows from springs at Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course in southeast Portland, through Westmoreland Park, and finally connects to Johnson Creek which flows into the Willamette River. The creek, while small, provides essential habitat for salmon, birds and other wildlife.
The Westmoreland Park Ecosystem Restoration project was authorized under Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. It allowed the Corps to partner with the city to design, plan and execute a two-phase project that replaced three culverts under busy neighborhood streets, removed a culvert and restored a one-third acre site at S.E. Umatilla and S.E. Tenino streets (2012), removed a man-made duck pond from Westmoreland Park (2013-2014) and restored the area to a wetland through which Crystal Springs Creek meanders. Project costs totaling $7.5 million were shared between the Corps (65%) and the city (35%).
The Continuing Authorities Program allows the Corps to partner with non-federal agencies to accomplish certain water resources development projects.