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Crystal Springs Creek and Westmoreland Park ecosystem restoration

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.


For more information

Phone: 503-808-4510

Email us about Crystal Springs Creek

Project images

About this project

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Phase I – Summer 2012 

  • Replaced culverts underneath S.E. Tenino and Umatilla Streets to improve fish passage
  • Removed a culvert underneath a driveway on S.E. 21st Avenue; removed concrete lining along creek banks; removed invasive plants and replaced with native species; constructed a short trail and fence around site; created a neighborhood “pocket” park

Phase II – Summer 2013 to Spring 2014

  • Replaced culvert under Tacoma Street to improve fish passage
  • Restored 2,400 feet of the creek in Westmoreland Park by:
    • Removing concrete curb along the former duck pond
    • Adding logs, pools and riffles in the re-meandered creek channel
  • Created a wetland in place of the duck pond
  • Planted nearly 15,000 native plants in the wetland and the riparian corridor to shade the creek and prevent erosion
  • New and reclaimed recreational amenities include:
    • More than 2,500 feet of new boardwalks and paths
    • Two overlooks and one water access ramp
    • Benches, picnic tables and lighting 

Restoration project benefits

  • Removed barriers to fish passage, especially for threatened juvenile salmon and trout, so they can access the creek’s naturally cool water for rearing, refuge, and even spawning
  • Reduced water temperatures by removing the duck pond and shading the creek with new plantings
  • Improved habitat for native waterfowl, amphibians and mammals in the new wetland and riparian corridor
  • Created a healthier park for people and native wildlife 
  • Improved park amenities for visitors, including trails, a boardwalk, picnic tables and benches


Watch these videos to learn more about this restoration project

Westmoreland Park and Crystal Springs Creek ecosystem restoration

Volunteers move mussels away from restoration area