Fall Canyon Day 2014

canyon day imageJoin the Reed community in planting native trees and shrubs, removing invasives and rebuilding sections of damaged trail. The event is free and open to anyone. Tools, training, food and fun will be provided. The event will be held on Saturday, October 4th 9am ’til 3pm. Meet your friends in the canyon near the Reed waterfall, just west of the landbridge and Reed Lake.

Dress for the weather and bring gloves if you have them.

For more information email zac.perry@reed.edu or call 503-572-8636

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Reed Canyon featured on Oregon Field Guide

Watch Oregon Field Guide that highlights Crystal Springs and the Reed Canyon (starts around the 20:25 mark).

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Spring Canyon Day 2014

Spring Canyon Day 2014 is coming!

Saturday April 5th
9A.M.-3P.M.

Join the Reed College community in restoring native plant habitat and enhancing water quality in the Reed canyon, the headwaters of Crystal Springs Creek. This event is free and open to everyone.

  • Tools, training, food, and fun provided.
  • Dress for the weather and bring gloves if you have them.

Meet at the east end of the canyon near the Centennial Orchard.

For more information:
zac.perry@reed.edu
call 503-572-8636

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Pictures from Fall Canyon Day 2013

This fall Canyon Day was held on October 5th. A beautiful fall day surrounded the activities which included the removal of 6-cubic yards of invasive plant material, and the reintroduction of over 800 native understory shrubs and ground covers.
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Looking back helps us move forward

The canyon fell into the trusting hands of the ‘crew’ this past summer. Their dedication to protecting this headwater forest and the cleanest water source in the City of Portland will leave a lasting impression on this campus.
Don’t let their smiles fool you- Canyon Crew is an assembly of trained killers (seen here performing their victory dance of destruction).

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These students gave their blood, sweat and tears (of joy) to the canyon this summer and for that the canyon is forever grateful. The restoration and protection of this natural beauty is something that takes the support of its community to rebuild. Every season (almost every day) we observe changes in our canyon that echo and reflect the college’s commitment to preserving and improving the natural springs that bubble up from the depths- and provide the headwaters to the last free-flowing creek within the city, to the Pacific Ocean.

Deer sighting SE corner of canyon

This summer we spotted our first deer in the canyon, and a thriving population of Osprey competing with river otter for fish within Reed Lake. Seeing these larger species come in and follow on the heels of the rehabilitation of these 28 acres of forest continue to remind us how special and unique Reed Canyon is tucked into this beautiful campus, surrounded by this beautiful city.

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This summer Canyon Crew gave focus to improving the safety of our 1.8 miles of trail that serpentines though these woods- all the while ripping and tearing invasives from the comfort of their beautiful settings.

Reed College has decided to forgo the use of pesticides to accomplish our goals of restoration within Reed Canyon which may prove to be more labor intensive- but it’s obvious that this mechanical approach has helped preserve non-target species both plant and amphibian- that we continue to add to our species list for further study.

The Canyon Crew is a special group- They make lasting impressions on the livability of our most special wildlife habitat. Their efforts and are appreciated by all who wander our woods.

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Beavers’ work, closeup

Took a walk at lunchtime around the canyon, and there’s plenty of ample signs of beaver work. Decided to take a closeup of what their dentures have been doing to one particular tree . . .

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Summer color in the canyon

Just a few colors blooming out there this summer!

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Goodbye for now until we meet again

Well, the ground is hardened and the trails are little dusty out there- in the distance, you can see wide-eyed freshman descending on the campus.

It must be the beginning of school here at Reed again. The 2012 summer canyon crew has officially left their mark on the soils deep within. New benches were created in the eastern portion of the canyon-giving visitors close look at the first set of springs emerging from the aquifers below.

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This summer we can look back and raise our water bottles to the great loss of invasive vegetation- without them we wouldn’t be here today- and in their absence we toast our achievements. For your safety, sections of trails have been repaired and widened and now await your next visit- providing safe access and sure footing no matter what time of day.

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In addition to the daily rigors of weeding the canyon- we successfully finished stabilizing the section of the creek under the theater building. Frequent streamside and water access though out the years had pushed that section of the canyon into a degraded state- and the ever widening portion of creek edge not only impacted the spawning grounds downstream, but led to a widening of the creek- resulting in a shallow riffle with no stream bottom complexity.

This summer the canyon has been rewarded with its patience at the hands of the Canyon Crew. Their persistence for protection has freed the indigenous natives from the smothering effects of Wild Clematis (Clematis vitalba) and the ever-sneaky morning glory (Calystegia sepium). Next time you walk the trails you will see the results of their hard work and see first-hand why so eagerly they give their blood, sweat, and tears (of joy) to the Reed Canyon. Even in these past few months we have seen and documented an increase in native wildlife attracted to the canyon’s developing food and habitat communities. To be a witness of the intertwine- and see the results of your work almost immediately- is sometimes all the thanks one needs. We could see birds in the distance flocking to the newly uncovered patches of snow and thimble berries just uncovered. A quick rest for some and a meal accompanied by the sounds of Crystal Springs Creek flowing in the background.

Thank you Canyon Crew for all your hard work- your work may not always be easy to see- but as we continue to succeed year after year at these little tasks laid before you, we can see the big picture. This summer the canyon continued it’s transformation towards becoming an elite self-sustaining ecosystem at the center of an elite institution.

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Stick and Stones can…

It's Summer Time! And in our continued attempt to restore and protect this beautiful resource, Canyon Crew has been diligently removing invasive plant materials, and expanding their "toolbox" of tricks to insure safe travels in and around the canyon trail system. In addition to mastering the terrestrial aspects of the canyon restoration, Canyon Crew has been working to stabilize and solidify the area under the theater building. Years of misuse and neglect have caused large areas under the theater to erode into the creek, silting the gravels that are needed for successful fish spawning.

We are fortunate to be caretakers of such a beautiful natural resource- and insuring clean water and safe passage for fish is part of our goal-set. If you remember our creek leaves Reed Lake as a 5-foot wide, swift moving clean body of water-, which then meanders though a densely vegetated wetland forest. As it approaches the theater building the meandering becomes less so, and the creek nears an almost straitened-flow essentially ‘blowing-out’ under the theater to a width of 16feet wide. This widening effect then makes for a more shallow section of stream- essentially creating a barrier for our migratory wildlife. Historically our springs flow between 4 and 7 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is great if the stream channel is deep, narrow and has enough off channel pools and protection with overhanging vegetation. But when spread over a large area the dept is lost and travel becomes limited. I have noticed in the recent past that larger fish coming to Reed Canyon to spawn would literally get stuck on the small gravels under the building not allowing access to their desired spawning area, essentially forcing fish to retreat and look for less-ideal gravels downstream. With minimal channel deepening we could create a passable section under the building and call that good, but within this particular area of degradation a widened stream results in a slower flow, and this slowing effect encourages suspended solids to deposit into the pools we created resulting in a stream-bed that would then over time return to a impassible gravel bar-

So in order to sustain the work and time that we put into this project we have come up with an idea that changes the velocity of the creek all the while providing structure and habitat for aquatic critters.

In short, we have seen that as we create deepened pools for rest along the stream corridor, the introduction of large-woody debris (logs, root wads) on the up-stream side of the pool pinches the creek and speeds up the water, which then scours the pools- keeping them free of organic debris. Over time this change in flow maintains our needs to have a more irregular stream bed- and is regarded as a more idealistic spawning habitat.

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With this project in mind, this last spring we were able to coordinate with the construction team working on the new Performance Art Building at the western edge of campus- and use their crane and personal to lower 15-tons of boulders down the steep slope off Botsford Drive to the edge of the theater building.DSCF1102.jpg

So now we have to move all that rock?

So with some ingenuity and imagination Canyon Crew was able to construct a ‘rock mover’ (for lack of a better name) out of two tire chains and two non-native maple trees- making moving large rock easy for two able bodied Reedies. The work will be ongoing and the results will be based on this projects ability to withstand canyon-goers and their natural instinct to move and disrupt the efforts prior to their visits. Under the theater you’ll see the benefits of the large wood being placed in these pools being complimented by the placement of boulders and river rock along the stream edge, which acts to protect the new meander and limits the impact of visitors to that sensitive area.

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So next time you visit Reed Canyon take a closer look at the flow of the creek- notice the large logs that have been introduced- you now have the insight that there is a deep pool there and if you can get close enough, a great vantage point to see fish at rest. 

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A Continuing Canyon Relationship

Submitted by: Haleigh Ziebol, Class of 2015

Although I am a new member of Canyon Crew this Summer, I am not, by any means, a newcomer to Reed’s canyon. As I gazed over the Blue Bridge when I arrived as a young freshman back in August, the Canyon’s pristine waters amazed me. The burgeoning trees. The birds. The overarching sky. The purity. This place was familiar and beautiful.

A smile stretched across my face, while fond memories of the Minnesota River Valley’s trails filled my mind. Soon enough my feet were striding down steps that I would frequently tread in the months to come.

And tread I did. After most morning Humanities lectures I spent thirty minutes slowly padding along- breathing and being, soaking up the atmosphere through each of my senses. I loved to observe all the plants, and to note the differences between days, weeks and months as they carried out their life cycles. I enjoyed the change of pace from the classroom and from my daily life.

With each step, I experienced a tangled mess of pent-up thoughts and feelings. I weathered this inner-turmoil just like the Canyon maintains itself through seasonal changes and inclement weather. Everything simply passed through me, and by the end of these walks, I took my leave a human being rekindled.

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Harboring an almost spiritual connection and a full-fledged aesthetic appreciation for the Canyon, I was excited to be accepted to the ranks of Canyon Crew. On Thursday, May 31st at 8:30 A.M. I arrived prepared to preserve and further discover and develop a special place.

Over my first week on the job I’ve discovered that Canyon Crew’s efforts center on the idea of balance. Outside forces, like the human visitors constantly interact with the Canyon. Due to the fact that the human interaction cannot be prevented -and is desired– the Crew oversees these interactions with the intent of preserving, to the best of our ability, the Canyon's natural state. It becomes a game of balance, mediating between both sides so that the Canyon (first and foremost) and its visitors are satisfied.

We negotiate the balance amongst invasive species and the Canyon’s natural inhabitants. The Crew devoted many hours to removing blackberry bushes, Morning Glory vines, thistles, Garlic Mustard and Clematis, all of which pose threats to the desired diversity of natural plants. Though the Crew will never remove every invasive plant, we certainly work to remove all that we can- ever attempting to preserve the balance. We also oversee the struggle between the human and natural sphere by keeping the Canyon free of garbage and accessible to its visitors. Last week this meant trekking along all the trails, machetes and scythes in hand, trimming back plants that were overrunning the paths. The chainsaw even made a guest appearance to prune some overhanging branches.

In the aforementioned precarious balance between man and nature, the beavers constantly tip the scale with their dam building. At dusk the beavers swim upstream with logs, grasses and rocks in tow to a place near the springs. Here, a few feet from the boardwalk, they construct dam after dam, not to be discouraged by the countless times that the Crew has removed them. (If you head down to the Eastern Canyon at nightfall, you just might be able to watch them.) The dams impede water flow, interfering with the salmon run and threatening to flood the boardwalk.  For these reasons the Crew dutifully steps into long boots, slushes through the water and removes the masses of sticks and grasses, committed to preserving the Canyon’s balance.

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