The Calapooia Watershed Council (CWC) has partnered with the City of Albany, Benton SWCD, the Greenbelt Land Trust (GLT) and Private Landowners, to focus restoration efforts in the middle of the Willamette River system, namely the City of Albany reach. A tremendous effort has already taken place to develop specific, strategic restoration and conservation projects along the mainstem that will protect and add complexity to this simplified Willamette river system, create off-channel salmonid habitat and refuge, significantly improve water quality, and provide opportunities for public awareness and support for basin-wide habitat restoration.
Numerous opportunities exist for municipal and private landowner participation and project development in the Albany section of the Willamette River and including significant tributary confluence areas such as lower Periwinkle Creek, Calapooia River, and side-channel connections that provide much needed refuge utilized by juvenile salmonids and other native fish species. The Calapooia-Willamette confluence has been widely identified as providing valuable and dynamic off-channel and floodplain habitat that is consistently inundated during winter months. The lower Calapooia is important as a migration corridor for anadromous winter steelhead, spring Chinook salmon, and Pacific lamprey. Winter steelhead and spring Chinook salmon must pass through the lower and middle portions of the watershed on their way to spawning grounds in the upper watershed (Calapooia Watershed Assessment, 2004). CWC has received many inquiries and requests for technical guidance from landowners for healthy and successful property management, riparian buffer installment, bank stabilization complimented with conservation easements, and assistance with protection of existing instream and riparian habitats. The City of Albany and CWC completed an assessment and restoration and conservation strategy in order to prioritize efforts to provide the most ecological lift in this landscape and reach of the Willamette River.
Focus Areas for Assessment & Project Prioritization:
- Lower Calapooia River (~3 miles) delineating the western Albany UGB with special focus on the Calapooia-Willamette confluence
- Rural, farming areas in Greater Albany and the Willamette floodplain to assess high priority conservation opportunities
- Periwinkle Creek confluence area
- North Albany floodplain side channels and off channel habitat including Thornton Lake
- Oxbow system and Cox Creek, adjacent to Talking Water Gardent, with focus on potential floodplain connectivity and health, vegetation management, and fish passage
This holistic and “precision restoration” approach that the assessment and project prioritization will lend will allow the City and the CWC to partner with private landowners for project development in areas of the most ecological lift potential. The partners will also pursue opportunities for youth education, research and monitoring using this assessment and strategy as a guide for future activities.
Ecological Review; fall birds and bats in the oxbow system, Albany, Oregon by Caitlin Coberly and K.D. Doherty