Crystal Springs Lake Restoration Project

Sewer and Stormwater
Environmental Services, in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, are designing a project to improve habitat for salmon and other native fish at Crystal Springs Lake and Crystal Springs Creek in Southeast Portland.
Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation are currently working on a project feasibility study which is expected to be completed in 2025 or early 2026.
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This project will complement more than $15 million in investments already made in the Crystal Springs watershed to improve water quality and environmental health for plants, salmon, and people. The project will help reduce the water temperature of the lake and the creek downstream, increase native plant diversity, and improve habitat for salmon and other native aquatic species.

Project Area 

Crystal Springs Lake is located within Eastmoreland Golf Course adjacent to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

We Want to Hear from You 

We would like to hear from you about special events, school activities, and community services in your neighborhood you think might be impacted by this project. Your input will help us retain what you enjoy about Crystal Springs Lake and minimize the impact to your neighborhood during construction.

Project Background 

In 2006, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality listed Crystal Springs Creek as an impaired waterbody due to its elevated summer temperatures. Warm water in Crystal Springs Lake flowing into the creek was identified to be a key problem for threatened and endangered fish. U.S. Geological Survey found that cold spring water feeding the lake is about 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by the time it leaves the lake and flows into the creek.

High water temperatures impact not only threatened salmon and steelhead, which require cold water to survive, but also native plants and other wildlife. Additionally, yellow flag iris is an aggressive invasive plant that thrives in warm water. It reduces habitat for native plants, fish, birds, and animals. 

The project goal is to improve water quality and habitat in Crystal Springs Creek to support the continued recovery of salmon populations.

Environmental health and habitat will be restored by:

  • Reducing water temperature from Crystal Springs Lake and improving habitat along the creek and lake edges.
  • Removing, repairing, or repurposing an existing dam.
  • Removing invasive species, focusing on yellow-flag iris.

Garden and golf course functions will be maintained by:

  • Preserving the aesthetics and operations of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and Eastmoreland Golf Course.
  • Improving the irrigation intake for the golf course.

Between 2019 and 2024, project partners worked together to develop a concept to address elevated water temperatures in the lake.

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