Leaders: Chris Collins, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership
The tour will start at 8:00 AM at the Lodge and return to the Lodge by 1:00 PM
Horsetail and Oneonta Creeks are Columbia River tributaries located approximately 30 miles east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge. The vast majority (>90%) of these two watersheds are in pristine condition; however, construction of Interstate 84 along their lower reaches (within the Columbia River floodplain) partially blocked fish passage, degraded water quality, reduced habitat for ESA-listed salmonids, and increased habitats that favor non-native predators. Of particular concern was passage for juvenile salmonids (this 190-acre floodplain is documented as providing rearing habitat for out-migrating juveniles) and summer water temperatures (both tributaries have the potential to provide thermal refuge for salmon and steelhead migrating through the mainstem Columbia River during summer months). In 2013, the Estuary Partnership and U.S. Forest Service partnered with the Oregon Dept. of Transportation, Bonneville Power Administration, East Multnomah SWCD, OWEB and others to improve fish passage, enhance instream habitat, and restore the site’s historic hydrologic and thermal regimes. Specific actions included eliminating a stream diversion, converting a gravel pond to a floodplain wetland, retrofitting the I-84 culvert and installing over 600 pieces of LWD. Three years of post-construction monitoring data indicate thermal loading is reduced, local and upriver salmonids are accessing the site, and the floodplain wetland is establishing.
More information on project at: http://www.estuarypartnership.org/restorationsite/1327
Joining the Estuary Partnership in 2009, Chris identifies, designs, implements, and monitors habitat restoration projects. Chris has taken the lead on two large floodplain restoration projects at Horsetail Creek and Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge. Both projects involve coordination with multiple partners. Chris also is involved in the Estuary Partnership’s efforts to identify and assess the need and potential for cold water refuges in the Columbia River Gorge. He is an aquatic ecologist with 20 years of professional experience in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest, including managing several restoration projects in the Columbia River Gorge. He has extensive experience managing all phases of natural resource projects ranging from stream restoration to stormwater management. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, Chris was a Scientist and Project Manager for Parametrix. Chris holds a Masters in Water Resources from Duke University and a B.S. in Biology from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.