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Coho caught spawning in Crystal Springs

By Robin Tovey '97 on October 23, 2014 12:00 AM

Reed Canyon fish ladder Photos by Zac Perry

Coho spawning in Crystal Springs Creek, downstream from campus, were caught on video for the first time in decades, according to Zac Perry, Reed’s canyon restoration specialist. Although there have been sightings of native salmon and steelhead in the Reed canyon, the fish have not been spied in flagrante delicto until now.

This is a timely occurrence, as Portland is marking the completion of the Westmoreland Park Ecosystem Restoration project on Saturday. The project, which began in May 2012, is a joint effort to remove barriers to fish passage—and it is succeeding in leaps and bounds!

The restoration of Reed canyon is a reflection of the commitment and personnel that the college has made to protect and improve the functions of the last open waterway in the city of Portland, which is now seeing regular visits by both endangered and protected native species seeking refuge in our beautiful headwater forest.

Steelhead

Steelhead salmon in Reed Canyon

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland district, which was a participating partner, today issued a statement praising Reed’s stewardship of the Crystal Springs headwaters (the cleanest freshwater source in the city!).

“Special thanks to Zac Perry, who, with support from Towny Angell and Reed College leadership, has dedicated 15 years of service to the Reed Canyon environment. Perry spearheaded the transformation of 28 acres of high-quality wildlife habitat in Reed Canyon into the gem it is today.
In the early part of the 20th century, many projects ignored natural resources during development. Reed Canyon was no exception. In the 1930's, the natural stream alignment was altered to make way for a swimming pool and bathhouses. Until 2000, the creek was piped under and diverted around the swimming pool. The long pipe was impassable to fish - they had no access to the headwater springs. In addition, invasive plants were spreading unchecked throughout the canyon
Perry transformed the 28-acre area into a self-sustaining, ecologically balanced state in a relatively short time. He has spearheaded other restoration projects since that time, including the fish ladder and the Revelli Farm restoration at SE 28th Avenue. Perry also revived the biannual Canyon Day event, an opportunity for community engagement in restoration. Much is owed to Zac Perry and to Reed College for showing exemplary leadership in changing our perceptions about our natural resources.”

Join us and our partners downstream to celebrate the return of the salmon at Westmoreland Park on Saturday, October 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a Native American blessing, cooking, tours, games, crafts, intertribal activities and music. As our own Zac Perry notes, “you may even see some of the beautiful spawners coming up stream!” The event is free and family friendly; the meeting place is at SE 22nd Avenue and Bybee Boulevard. More information.