RHODODENDRON MEADOW (Go To Updates)

Project Description:

Efforts to aide dwindling runs of Salmon and Steelhead have been underway this Summer at "Rhododendron Meadow" in Henry Creek, a major tributary of the Zig Zag River. Cooperative efforts between fish biologists, the Cascade Geographic Society, and heavy equipment contractors are allowing this project to move forward this Summer, which will enhance fish habitat.

"Rhododendron Meadow" is a major wetland and wildlife habitat that is comprised of 14.5 acres in the Village of Rhododendron. Situated between East U.S. Highway 26 and East Henry Creek Avenue, and including Henry Creek, Little Henry Creek, and Meadow Creek, this natural area currently makes up the Cascade Geographic Society's 18-acre "Sanctuary Lands Program". This program protects sensitive resources ranging from natural to historical and cultural resources.

For many months the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has been working with the Cascade Geographic Society for this first phase of what could be a number of fish enhancement projects. Natural structures comprised of logs and root wads will be placed in Henry Creek to enhance habitat for Salmon, Steelhead, Sea-Run Trout, and Resident Trout populations.

Assisted with money secured from the ODFW, and armed with the mandatory permits, work will begin on Thursday, August 19th, and Friday, August 20th. The "Rhododendron Meadow" fish enhancement work is probably the most important project of its kind to take place in the Sandy River Basin this summer.

 

UPDATE LOG:

bulletSeptember 1999
bulletAugust 1999

 

 

SEPTEMBER, 1999 

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Fish Habitat Project a Success. The fish habitat project at "Rhododendron Meadow" was successfully completed during the month of August. This Autumn and Winter, with the return of dwindling stocks of Salmon and Steelhead to Henry Creek, they will find a much better habitat.

Cascade Geographic Society, working in cooperation with Jeremy Sikes, a Habitat Biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Eric Mauck, a heavy equipment operator from Boring, Oregon, placed 25 logs into Henry Creek to create spawning and rearing areas, upstream of a pre-existing bridge. The work was accomplished under a special permit from the Division of State Lands. The planning for the stream work took many months and involved fish biologists from state and federal agencies, as well as from the private sector.

The "key" to accomplishing the project with minimal impact to the stream environment and the wetlands of "Rhododendron Meadow," was an expensive piece of heavy equipment called a "Spider Trackhoe." Resembling something from outer space with its four spider-like arms, this unique computerizes equipment can go where most cannot without destroying the environment.

Funding for the Henry Creek fish habitat project came from the following partnerships: Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Portland General Electric, All Terrain Excavating, and the Portland Water Bureau, in addition to private citizens. Habitat projects like these are critical to help save the endangered Salmon and Steelhead in the Sandy River Basin.

An environmental science class from Barlow High School will begin monitoring the recently completed fish habitat project in Henry Creek, beginning in October. They will return sometime in the Spring to evaluate the changes associated with the placement of logs in the stream and to assess any improvements in the spawning and rearing areas utilized by Salmon and Steelhead. 

Plans are already underway to do even more habitat enhancement work next year. This would entail placing logs below the bridge in Henry Creek. Like this Summerís work, the goal of the project will be to enhance the stream habitat for anadromous fish. Another project would be to enhance an important back-channel of Henry Creek. Considered ideal for spawning and for fish to escape the high-waters of Winter and Spring, such work will make "Rhododendron Meadow" and its related streams even more important for its habitat. Two culverts on Little Brook Lane, which access "Rhododendron Meadow," and another upstream, are also being looked at for replacement by bridges or small arched culverts. In addition, a tributary of Henry Creek that was literally buried prior to the Cascade Geographic Society taking over the 14.5 acres, will be reopened and restored.

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Two Potentially Rare Plants discovered by botanist at "Rhododendron Meadow"
A botanist, recently retired after 25 years from the Bureau of Land Management, has discovered two potentially rare plants in "Rhododendron Meadow." Beginning next Spring, study and monitoring of the plants will be conducted so that they can be preserved.

Retired botanist, Larry Scoffield, who has been volunteering his time with Cascade Geographic Society at "Rhododendron Meadow," has been making some unique finds. His work has included identifying sensitive wetland plants and identifying plants used by Native Americans for food and medicines, in addition to identifying ceremonial plants.

One of the plants Larry discovered was not even supposed to grow in the Mount Hood Area. And the other one, he has never seen before in his career. So, the areas associated with these two plants are being protected, and next Spring he will begin his study on these two species, as well as continuing on with evaluating the plant species all through Rhododendron Meadow.

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Interpretative Kiosk Planned for Rhododendron Meadow
The resources of Rhododendron Meadow are important, and range from historical and cultural to fish and wildlife and other natural resources. As part of the Cascade Geographic Societyís Sanctuary Lands Program, they are being preserved as heritage treasures for future generations. Assisting in the preservation of these heritage resources are the efforts to restore and maintain the natural landscape at Rhododendron Meadow. The most recent activity was the stream enhancement work in Henry Creek that took place in August. And, more such projects are sure to follow.
 

Planning for an interpretative kiosk is currently underway for Rhododendron Meadow that will identify the heritage resources -- like rare plants and those utilized in the ethnobotony of Native Americans, sections of the Oregon Trail, wetlands and wildlife habitat, streams, anadromous fish like Salmon, Steelhead, and Sea-Run Trout, and other resources. In addition, the restoration work taking place will be included in the kiosk.
Partners for the interpretative kiosk for Rhododendron Meadow currently include the following: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Chief Johnny Jackson of the Cascade-Klickitat tribe, Carol Logan representing the Clackamas tribe, Michael P. Jones and Nita Kreuzer of Rhododendron. If you would like to make any contributions to the interpretative kiosk for Rhododendron Meadow, either as an individual, family, business, or organization, or want more information on the project, contact the Cascade Geographic Society at P.O. Box 398, Rhododendron, Oregon 97049; or call: (503) 622-4798. All donations are tax deductible and any donation of $250 or over will insure the donor their name will be on a placque that will be placed and maintained on the facility.

AUGUST, 1999: Fish Projects Underway: Efforts to aide dwindling runs of Salmon and Steelhead have been underway this Summer at "Rhododendron Meadow" in Henry Creek, a major tributary of the Zig Zag River. For many months the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has been working with the Society for this first phase of fish enhancement projects. With money secured from the ODFW, and armed with the mandatory permits, the "Rhododendron Meadow" fish enhancement work is probably the most important project of its kind in the Sandy River Basin. At "Rhododendron Meadow," nine areas of structures (i.e., logs and root wads), which are critical for anadromous fish habitat, are being placed in Henry Creek. In addition, work in a side-channel is also being done, which will provide a Winter refuge for juvenile and adult Salmon and Steelhead escaping floodwaters.  Due to the sensitivity of the wetlands and riparian areas in "Rhododendron Meadow," a contractor with special equipment has been hired to do the project. Known as a "Spider Trackhoe," this unique piece of equipment has arms resembling a spider's. This work vehicle is not only computerized, but can walk on the land and in the stream like a spider would, without damage to the natural landscape. According to Michael P. Jones, the Curator and Cultural & Natural Resource Consultant of the Society, the sensitivity of "Rhododendron Meadow" made it necessary to use special heavy equipment on the project. The extra costs of the "Spider Trackhoe" are worth it due to the savings in restoration to the wetlands and stream channel and riparian zone.