Open water, the art of beaversPresentation Transcript
Rinearson Pond A pretty place
This pretty place has been created by the minds and hands of many people. Unfortunately, upon close examination, many plans do not fit together. Between the last conduit underneath River Road and the mouth of the creek at the Willamette River, about a half mile, there are 4 dams, and a ditch dredged to change the channel of the creek. Friends of Rinearson Creek would like to bring harmony, and life back to this altered creek and landscape.
Below: a beaver pond in the Willamette Valley. Beaver have historically been responsible for building ponds along the Willamette River. Note the vegetation growing in the mud flats. Above: Rinearson Pond, yellow-flag iris. Vegetation around the pond is blackberry, reed canary grass, Japanese knotweed, and yellow-flag iris. No water plants other than the yellow-flag iris and algae have established themselves in the pond. Removal of yellow-flag iris can be costly requiring large excavation equipment or herbicides.
In the past, at the location of Rinearson Pond, there was a beaver dam like this. There could be one again. Beaver dam building can be very beneficial in restoring wetlands. Such wetland benefits include biodiversity (by providing habitat for many rare as well as common species), and water cleansing, both by the breakdown of toxins such as pesticides and the retention of silt by beaver dams. By stimulating the growth of species of plants beaver dams help create food and habitat for populations of birds that are in decline. Beaver dams can also increase the diversity of songbird species in the ecosystem. Note the presence of large woody debris.
These photos show large woody debris in small creeks in a National Forest. The wood provides shade and food for bacteria, plants, insects, amphibians, and fish. In addition, beaver can improve these obstructions to create dams that in turn offer a more stable riparian area for willows and bushes.
Rinearson Creek at the confluence with the Willamette has been significantly impaired. Below: This is a tributary upstream of the falls pictured entering into the Willamette. It offers cool, shaded water and refuge for fish. Above: Rinearson Creek where it flows into the Willamette. This channel was created by dredging this cut. The exposed water running through this trench warms significantly in the summer, and heat is deadly to water borne life.
Below: Another tributary entering the Willamette. Note the water plants and rich riparian cover. Above: This is the mouth of Rinearson Creek. Blackberries frame the creek.
Below: This creek enters the Willamette just upstream of the falls. It flows on property owned by the Nature Conservancy. Note the rocky bed of the creek and the dense riparian vegetation. Above: This is where Rinearson Creek may have once flowed. Now it is a steep downcut where the creek flows around the dam in high water. At most times the creek flows out of a pipe at the base of the dam.
Below: This is the new channel that was created more than 10 years ago. Note the heavy growth of blackberries in the riparian area. Also note the total absence of water plants. Above: This is the historical channel of Rinearson Creek where if flowed into the Willamette. When the new channel was dredged this channel ceased to flow except when the Willamette itself covers this area.
Friends of Rinearson Creek are using our hands to bring life back to the creek. Please join us and make this an oasis for all wildlife along the Willamette River. Two of the four dams of Rinearson Creek.