Events on Saturday, May 8th

Canyon fans will have plenty of ways to keep themselves busy this Saturday, as Portland kicks off the start of summer with a slew of outdoor events. First on the list is the annual Mother’s Day Rhododendron Show and Plant Sale just across the street from Reed at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden on SE 28th avenue. The garden is open from dawn to dusk and there’s a $3 admission charge. (Be sure to check out their gigantic Gunnera.)

Just a little further west you can find the Oaks Bottom Migratory Bird Festival from 9am to 3pm in Sellwood. Portland will be proclaiming the 163-acre site to be the city’s first migratory bird park, and there will be all sorts of activities. There will be bird walks every 30 minutes to see some of the 200 species in the refuge. There will also be a birds of prey exhibit, games and crafts, invasive weed removal parties, and presentations by experts on park ecology and preservation efforts. Portland is one of five cities selected for a three-year $50,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish the refuge as a migratory bird park.

Finally, if you have some extra energy to burn off before the start of finals week, you might consider helping out with No Ivy Day 2004. Over 1,000 volunteers will be fanning out to a number of parks and public spaces in the Portland area to help remove the invasive English ivy that is killing the native trees and shrubs. Training will be provided and organizers would love to have your help. There will be work parties from 9am to noon and a picnic in the downtown park blocks at 12:30pm. For more info, visit the Ivy Removal Project.

OK, that should keep you busy. Don’t let me catch you watching Saturday morning cartoons….
– posted by Niels

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Canyon Visitors

Here’s a nice note we recently received from some visitors who came by to see what’s being done to the canyon:

    “We brought our Tuesday morning hiking group to Reed Canyon
    today. The thirteen hikers came from all around the Portland metro
    area. It was the first time there for all of us. We did the loop trail
    around the lake, admiring the work that you have done to restore
    habitat. It is wonderful to know that the college community and the
    neighborhood is making a sustained effort to care for this important
    urban-natural resource! We’ll look forward to seeing the progress as
    the native biological community re-establishes itself over the years.
    Thanks for your efforts and for the opportunity!”

    Steve Mullinax, SW Portland

– posted by Niels

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Cormorant sighting

We have noticed an injured Cormorant, close to the amphitheater. The
bird appears to have something attached to its neck. The Audubon
Society has received a few calls, and has suggested watching it until
it can be caught.

Caution should be used as the beak is quite large, and a blanket
and cardboard box will be needed to catch it. Observing the bird until
it weakens enough to be caught is all we can do.
– posted by kathleen

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Johnson Creek Watershed Wide Event

On Saturday, February 28th, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council will be holding their annual “Watershed Wide Event.” Volunteers will be meeting up at sites around southeast Portland and Gresham to help improve habitat for salmon and other wildlife. Activities include removing invasive species, planting native trees and shrubs, and mulching the planting areas. At some sites the volunteers will also help survey salmon and inventory vegetation.

If you’d like to help out, please join us at the fish ladder in the Reed canyon from 9am to noon. For more information, visit the web site for the Johnson Creek Watershed Council.
– posted by Niels

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Sprinkler in the Canyon

If you skipped town for Winter Break, you missed one of Portland’s rare
winter storms. Snow fell, temperatures dropped below freezing, and the
“City that Works” shut down for three days.

Down in the canyon, the water froze over and a few branches broke
under the weight of the snow, but the most noticeable effect was the
sprinkler that appeared halfway across the “Big Pipe.” Freezing
temperatures apparently cracked a valve in the city water main that
runs across the canyon, and treated tap water is now spraying out in a
small fountain. Crews from the Water Bureau won’t be able to fix the
leak for at least a week, but the water flow isn’t thought to be large
enough to do any harm.

Even without the fountain, the views in the canyon make it worth a
visit right now. Just a few years ago, the enormous growth of evergreen
English Ivy made it impossible to see for more than a few hundred feet
at any time of year. But now, with the leaves down and the bulk of the
ivy removed, visitors are treated to expansive views that haven’t been
available for more than fifty years.

Take a break. Go for a winter walk. You’ll enjoy it.
– posted by Niels

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A Great Place to Visit, But Don't Drink the Water

From the pages of this week’s Quest:

Reed Canyon–how safe is the water?

This year’s Bio 101 class performed tests to determine whether the
canyon water would be classified as safe to drink or recreate in under
EPA criteria. The normal criteria is that no more than 126 coliforms
should be found in 100 milliliters of water in order for freshwater to
be categorized as safe for recreation and 0 coliforms are allowed for
drinking water. This year the average number of coliforms was 4680 per
100 millileters. This determines that the Reed water is NOT safe to
drink, a big surprise, nor is it safe to recreate in. So the low-down
is you shouldn’t really be doing anything in the canyon besides walking
on the trails.

The results this year were rather surprising, since the average
number of coliforms per 100/ml last year was 795, and the year before
1089. However, during our testing this year there was heavy rain and a
day of snow, which can account for the contamination that might have
come from storm/sewage run-off. It should be noted that similar levels
of coliforms have been detected in sampling sites within the Johnson
Creek Watershed by the City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental

Students also did an additional test for E. coli, and the majority
of students did detect E. coli, indicating fecal contamination.
However, this is not only limited to the possibility of human feces,
but the feces of other animals as well. This contamination seems to be
spread out evenly over the entire canyon, since students took samples
from all around Reed Lake. This indicates that the main source of
contamination might be the spring, since it has a continuous flow into
the canyon from the east.

-Cadence True, Isabel Gabel, Lindsey Maser

BIO 101 Fall ’03

– posted by Niels

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Heard a Frog? Call Us.

I went for a walk in the canyon the other evening. Saw the great blue
heron, two nutria, and a pair of buffleheads with two chicks. And I
heard the frog.

The frog seems to hang out somewhere upstream of the pipe, near the
island. There was only one – not a chorus – but it went on for quite
awhile. Its croak is really more of a creak, like a rusty old door
swinging back and forth.

To properly identify the frog, we’ll need to have a recording of
the sound it makes. Most of us don’t walk around with a tape recorder
handy, but quite a few people do have cell phones. And, conveniently
enough, Blogger is offering a free trial right now of their new audio
blogging feature. If you have posting privileges for this blog, you can
just call a toll-free number and leave a recording that will be posted
to the blog like a regular message.

So, if you’ve got a cell phone and you like to walk in the canyon,
here’s your invitation to post the first audio canyon blog. We’d love
to hear from you (and the frog).
– posted by Niels

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"Bale of Hay" Method?

I’ve been browsing through the pages of the Botany and Plant Pathology department at Purdue, and it looks like they’re doing some really interesting work on weed science. Here’s one thing I noticed on the page of Dr. Carole Lembi: “One of her most current interests is the study of the ‘bale of hay’ method of algae control. Farmers have known for a long time that if they throw a ‘bale of hay’ into a body of water, the algae problems will clear up. What is the scientific basis for this control? How much hay has to be thrown in? What types of hay are most efficacious? What kinds of algae are controlled? These are all questions currently under investigation.”

Farmers may have known it for a long time, but it’s news to me. Maybe we should give this a shot next summer.
– posted by Niels

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Canyon Day T-Shirt Contest

From the back page of this week’s Quest:

    90th Annual Canyon Day!!!


    Showcase your talent. Create a design that celebrates canyon pride at Reed.

    (Design should mention the 90th anniversary)

    Submit a design to Box 484 at Reed by 10/27.

– posted by Niels

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Mushroom Pics!

I stopped by the canyon with a digital camera today and got some more mushroom pictures. You can see them on the fungi page. It looks like I got there just a little too late. Most of the new growth that appeared after the rains last week was already starting to fade. But there were still a few nice shots.

By the way, I thought it went without saying, but please don’t pick the mushrooms. The canyon is a very limited space and there’s only room for a small number of mushrooms to grow. If one person picks them then the rest of the Reed community misses out (and it also makes it less likely that they’ll reproduce and come back). The canyon is in the middle of a major restoration project and Reed is trying to encourage all the native organisms to grow and flourish. So please – do your mushroom picking up in the Mt. Hood National Forest and let the canyon fungi grow in peace. Thanks!

– posted by Niels

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