Crystal Springs: Stream of Consciousness
Protecting endangered salmon runs in Oregon has been an ongoing challenge. It turns out that one of the simplest ways of enhancing salmon habitat in the city is to remove culverts that carry streams under roads, but block fish from swimming upstream to reach spawning and rearing habitat. One of the best potential salmon streams in the city is Crystal Springs Creek, with headwaters on the Reed College campus and the Eastmoreland Golf Course. This area was once marshy wetlands. Before development, the wetlands retained excess water from flood events and provided important rearing and refuge habitat for salmon, and foraging and nesting sites for beavers, birds, turtles, frogs, and other wildlife. Crystal Springs is still home to coho and Chinook salmon, and steelhead trout, all listed under the Endangered Species Act. But a series of culverts impede fish passage along much of the stream's course. Removing these culverts is part of the focus of the city's Grey to Green Initiative, which is now seeking funding to remove 8 culverts along Crystal Springs, making nearly three miles of prime habitat accessible once again to salmon and steelhead.
Our guest this week on Locus Focus is Kaitlin Lovell, Senior Program Manager for the Bureau of Environmental Services' Science, Fish and Wildlife Program. We talk about why it is important for communities to steward the watersheds they live upon and how this project will not only improve salmon habitat in the city but also improve the quality of life of the salmon's human neighbors.
Kaitlin Lovell has been the manager for the Science, Fish and Wildlife Program for the City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services since 2006. Her job is to ensure the City's compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and work with BES and other City bureaus to make sure projects are planned, designed, permitted, constructed and implemented with the best fish and wildlife science, and improve the urban/watershed interface to benefit fish and wildlife where possible. Prior to joining the City, she was an Endangered Species Act attorney for Trout Unlimited.