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Media Contact

Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Reed College was recently awarded $75,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for restoration and enhancement of the Reed College lake and canyon, the source of Crystal Springs. The project is designed to preserve water quality, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and encourage native plant species.

The college plans to build a fish ladder and re-create the original stream meander in the lower canyon. The college has already removed an in-ground swimming pool so the stream can follow its original course to help provide for safe passage of migrating coho, cutthroat, and steelhead populations.

The program is important from a conservation point of view because the city of Portland has identified Reed Lake as "the only naturally occurring pond (or lake) remaining in the inner-city area." Reed community members as well as neighbors and friends visit the canyon for academic projects as well as enjoyment of a healthy watershed. It has been the subject of multiple senior theses and serves as an open classroom for several K-12 classes throughout the Portland area.

The canyon project was originally set in motion in 2000 with gifts from trustees Laurel Wilkening ’66 and John Gray. Wilkening first suggested and funded a study of the canyon to consider how best to preserve and improve the site’s ability to support fish and wildlife. The resulting plan has prompted a new level of awareness of the site’s condition, potential, and value to the watershed and surrounding community, as well as the determination to restore it.

The fish and wildlife grant will be matched by $150,000 in challenge funds donated by Gray and a bequest from Robert Ornduff ’53. Ornduff, who died last fall, was professor emeritus of integrative biology in the College of Letters & Science at the University of California—Berkeley and former director of the university’s botanical garden.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation was created by Congress in 1984 to benefit the conservation of native fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats by attracting diverse investments in conservation and encouraging locally supported stewardship on private and public lands.

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