Environmental Services is starting a project to restore about 16 acres in the Johnson Creek floodplain. The project will reconnect Johnson Creek to its historic floodplain, reduce flooding on private property, restore habitat for fish and wildlife, and improve water quality in the creek.
The project will take a natural approach to reducing local flood risks that also improves fish and wildlife habitat along Johnson Creek and is intended to be a community amenity. The restored floodplain will also improve water quality in Johnson Creek by allowing sediment in high water to settle onto the floodplain.
What's Happening Now
In June 2019, Environmental Services started work to "abandon" several streets in the project area.. These sections of right of way are old streets that are no longer in use. By vacating these streets, we will be able to better control access to the site as well as use this additional acreage as part of the restoration area. The map above shows the streets that are being removed for restoration.
Currently, project work is focused on assessing the current ecological condition of the area. Weare reaching out to various stakeholders, community members, community-focused groups, and other public agencies to look for opportunities to work together. Initial investigations and design work will continue through 2022. Construction is anticipated to take place in 2023.
We Want to Hear from You
Environmental Services will inform residents and businesses about project activities and respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. The following resources will help you stay informed and report concerns:
- Questions: Call 503-823-5759, stating that West Lents Floodplain Restoration project is your area of concern. Outreach staff will return your call by the next business day.
- Sewer Emergency: In the event of a sewer backup or basement flooding, call the Maintenance hotline immediately at 503-823-1700. It is staffed all hours and all days, 24/7.
In the 1930’s, the Federal Works Progress Administration partially straightened and rock-lined the banks of Johnson Creek in this area to try to reduce flooding. Unfortunately, these changes to the creek increased downstream flooding by disconnecting the creek from its floodplain. It also made the creek warmer by removing trees along the banks, and reduced habitat for endangered salmon, steelhead and other wildlife. In some places, untreated rainwater runoff from buildings and roads goes directly into the creek.
Environmental Services and its partners have been working for 25 years to address these issues and restore Johnson Creek. The West Lents Project is a high priority for Environmental Services. It will help restore the floodplain, improve water quality, and provide habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.
What are the project goals?
- Enhance habitat for salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife.
- Improve water quality in Johnson Creek.
- Reduce how often nearby private property floods.
How will this be done?
- Re-meander the creek and remove rock lining from its banks.
- Remove non-native plants and replace them with native plants.
- Add space on public property where flood water can safely go.
- Remove abandoned roadways.
- Add footbridge and trail over Johnson Creek for pedestrians and people on bikes
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