The first 1.2 acres of the Hedges Creek preserve were acquired in 1982. Today the 50 acre preserve located in Tualatin is TWC’s largest urban preserve. Hedges Creek is a seasonal, urban stream surrounded by wetlands, largely bound by industrial and commercial development. Anecdotal records indicate that Hedges Creek was once perennial, with a resident trout population. The large marsh protected by the local community over thirty years ago provides a great backdrop for the City of Tualatin. The wetland provides habitat for deer, fox, river otter, beaver and great blue herons. Management activities include enhancing the habitat quality, structural diversity, flood storage and water purification. One way this this is being done is through the removal of the invasive reed canary grass and the planting of native plants in its place. As these natives establish, structural and ecological diversity is increasing in the wetland. We’ve recently found large amounts of northwestern salamander egg masses as well as an adult rough-skinned newt within Hedges Creek. This indicates fair water quality. We are now analyzing the entire property to better understand why other amphibians are absent.
This 7.45 acre Tualatin preserve provides an oasis for great blue heron, hooded merganser, northern harrier and red tail hawks within Tualatin’s industrial area. In 1988, in partnership with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the predominantly reed canary grass wetland was transformed to an open water pond with nesting islands for waterfowl. Douglas fir, Oregon ash, and Black Hawthorne have grown in to a large forest canopy providing habitat for a variety of birds and helping to keep the reed canary grass controlled. Two rare plants, Nelson’s checker mallow and Penstamon hesperius, were transplanted to the property and are continuing to be monitored and cultivated.
The 12.9 acre wetland preserve is likely the most daily viewed wetland in Oregon Located at the edge of the Tualatin exit of Interstate 5, people catch quick glimpses of the seasonal changes on their way north and south along the interstate. The wetland is largely covered by reed canary grass, but major efforts are underway to transform this wetland by adding large native trees and shrubs. The invasive grass is being removed by mowing as well as by the addition of native plants. Already, the northwestern corner of the property is thriving with native plants, which have grown taller than the reed canary grass. Analysis has begun to look into water quality and we hope to track improvement by increasing native plants and looking into hydrological changes.
The 8.65 acre Apache Bluff Preserve is nestled in a residential community in Tualatin. The scrub shrub Oregon ash, willow, and spirea dominated wetland is seasonally flooded by the Tualatin River in the winter and becomes partially or totally dry in the summer months. Some historical fruit trees are scattered around the property, and several large, seasonal ponds provide special habitat for wildlife. During the wet months, it’s essential to wear waders to navigate through the site. Recently, a small fox was seen! This preserve is home to Pacific tree frogs, garter snakes, long-toed salamanders, rabbits, deer and coyote. The patchwork diversity of landscapes (forest, shrub, meadow and open water) and its location along a riparian corridor make Apache Bluff an important habitat for a wide diversity of wildlife species throughout the year. We’re working to remove blackberry and Hawthorne trees to continue to enhance the preserve.
The 1.87 acre Knez preserve located in Tigard is one of the few known tufted hairgrass prairies in the Portland Metro area, a plant community in great decline in the Willamette Valley. Nestled between Red Rock Creek, Highway 217 and industrial development, the preserve provides safe haven for tufted hairgrass, the listed checker mallow and a variety of other wetland prairie forbs. Historically, the area was part of a larger 25 acre mixed forest, shrub and open water complex that extended upstream along Red Rock Creek. TWC has had great success in suppressing the invasive reed canary grass through the use of black plastic solarization. Native grasses and forbs have been established through the collection and dispersal of seeds from TWC’s Mud Slough preserve.
The 6.21 acre Hart Wetland was originally saved from development by its adjacent neighbors. This wetland is tucked into a Tigard neighborhood and has now been greatly enhanced since TWC took ownership in 1989. Removal of a culvert supported restoration of the stream. Today, TWC works closely with the local neighborhood to enhance the native plants on the site and control invasive species. There is a large pond in the middle of the site, often full of ducklings in the spring. The stream that feeds the pond moves through the site and is slowed in several places to create seasonal ponds. Plenty of wildlife, including deer, screech owls, and wood ducks are frequenters of the wetland.
Set within a rapidly developing urban landscape, the 15.83-acre Cedar Mill Preserve provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife species. Historically, North Johnson Creek meandered through the wetland and between the steep ridges on either side. During the past century, the property was converted to agricultural use and horse pasture and the creek channelized along the south side of the valley. In the 1980-90’s the site was converted back to wetland and donated to TWC in 1993. The preserve is a mosaic of emergent and open water wetlands with small fringes of mudflat and shrub vegetation. Northwestern salamander, red-legged frog, Pacific tree frog, green winged teal, green sora, Virginia rail and willow flycatcher, can be seen and heard among the water, reeds and willows. In partnership with Clean Water Services and Youth Crews we are making a large effort in removing the invasive reed canary grass from parts of the site and converting the areas to native shrub habitat. Within the forested area of the site, we are planting a strong understory and continuing to remove blackberry and other invasives.
Milwaukie’s best-kept secret, Minthorn Springs is a 6.52 -acre forested, shrub and open water wetland surrounded by industrial, commercial and residential development. Over the past fifteen years, the wetland has been transformed from a degraded blackberry and reed canary grass infested wet place to a thriving, healthy wetland. Home to birds, mammals, snakes, salamanders, butterflies and dragonflies, the preserve has become a sanctuary amidst development. The preserve is co-managed with the City of Milwaukie who purchased the wetland parcel adjacent to the preserve.
The 1.97 acre Windsor Court wetland, hidden within a Milwaukie subdivision provides a beautiful green space, passive recreation and increased water quality to the area. Over the years, TWC has worked with Damascus Middle School, the Clackamas and Milwaukie Rotary clubs and adjacent landowner John Seahorn to restore the wetland. Restoration has included planting more than 500 native trees, shrubs and wetland plants and controlling invasive species such as Himalayan Blackberry, Clematis, English Ivy, and Poison Nightshade.
Hearthwood Preserve is the headwaters of Clackamas County’s Kellogg Creek. The wetland is a very dense willow, red osier dogwood, elderberry and Oregon ash scrub shrub wetland. Being the headwaters of Kellogg Creek, the 16 acre wetland plays an important role in cleaning the water as it heads down to it's confluence with the Willamette River in Milwaukie Oregon. The vegetation on this preserve is so dense that is creates a barrier for people to enter making it extremely valuable habitat for wildlife in this area. TWC has planted native trees such as Red Alder, Western Red Cedar and Oregon White Oak along the periphery of the property and continues to manage for invasive species such as Himalayan Blackberry.
The Gresham Meadowlands Preserve is a hidden 1.5-acre neighborhood gem. The wetland has three ponds, some upland grass prairie and forested areas. The ponds are seasonally wet in the winter and become partially or totally dry in the summer months. This wetland provides habitat for a wide diversity of amphibians and native plants including the Northern Red-legged frogs, Pacific tree frogs, Northwestern salamanders and Long-toed salamanders. We are continuing to work to create a dense understory and plant native sedges and rushes where we are able to remove reed canary grass through solarization. Deer, coyote, owl and hawks have been spotted using this small preserve as a resting place. We will be using this site to train volunteers in amphibian monitoring and stewardship in the spring.