Salmon Creek-Pleasant Valley Park Habitat Restoration Project
Clark County Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Salmon Creek is a rapidly urbanizing watershed in Clark County, WA that is known to support populations of steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act. Salmon Creek lacks off-channel rearing habitat, spawning habitat, riparian vegetation, and fish cover. This project provided off-channel rearing habitat along a small, year round, spring-fed tributary. It improved the conditions on both sides of the tributary and one side of Salmon Creek in Pleasant Valley Park. In addition to restoring fish habitat, the primary goals of the project were to promote stewardship, improve riparian wildlife habitat, and enhance park aesthetics.
The project used a coalition of public and private partners to undertake on-the-ground activities involving establishment of riparian vegetation and buffers. Partners include Clark County Clean Water Program, Clark Public Utilities, Clark County Parks, Watershed Stewards, Starbucks Green Team, Pleasant Highlands Neighborhood Association, Habitat Partners, Habitat Systems, and Trout Unlimited. A $5,000 Embrace-A-Stream grant, with contributions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was used to purchase plants and trees, plant protection materials, weed mats, and hand tools.
Buffers were established on both a Salmon Creek tributary and mainstem area in Pleasant Valley Park as originally proposed. Approximately 5 acres of riparian buffers were established as a result of the work. Tree and shrub growth has been steady and substantial due to optimal ground water levels. Invasive control has been conducted by both volunteers using mechanical methods, as well as strictly controlled application of herbicides by licensed and permitted county staff. Ongoing invasive removal, as well as plant monitoring, will be continued in the future at this location, although additional planting to replace damaged or dead plants and trees could be tasked.