Streams & Wetlands


What we do

We help landowners and managers to conserve and restore riparian areasRiparian areas The land alongside a creek, river, pond, or other body of water and wetlands to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, reduce erosion, and the improve the condition of the land. We also help land managers evaluate what their site needs and access appropriate resources. In priority areas, we help implement and fund riparianRiparian areas The land alongside a creek, river, pond, or other body of water habitat restoration projects. And, we help neighborhood groups develop streamside enhancement plans.

What steps do a typical riparian restoration project include?

  • 1 Identify and control invasive weeds and do other needed site preparation.
  • 2 Select native trees, shrubs, and grasses or wildflowers appropriate to the site.
  • 3 Develop a scope of work, timeline, and budget, and secure plant materials.
  • 4 Plant and seed selected species.
  • 5 Add plant protection, livestock fencing, or erosion control as needed.
  • 6 Monitor and maintain planted areas for at least 2-5 years.
  • 7 Plan for and implement long-term care.
On this page:

    Riparian buffer benefits

    Riparian buffers are a stretch of native vegetation adjacent to a stream or other water body. They provide many benefits for wildlife and people.

    • A healthy community of native riparian vegetation provides essential habitat for fish and other aquatic life as well as corridorsCorridors Wildlife corridor: a stretch of habitat that connects natural areas separated by human land use for wildlife movement.

    • Plants filter pollutants and lessen sediment in streams, providing cleaner water. 

    • Riparian areas provide critical access to water, food, protection from predators, and nest sites for birds, amphibians, mammals, pollinators, and more.

    • Riparian plants capture and store carbon for long-term benefit, helping mitigate the impacts of climate change.

    • Streamside forests provide cool, shaded water for native fish and “nature’s air-conditioning” for people and wildlife.

    Wetlands & ponds

    Wetlands are an essential part of the landscape. They help protect water quality, control floodwaters, and provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife.

    • Wet meadows are increasingly rare and support uncommon native wildflowers, grasses, and pollinators.

    • Ponds provide wetland habitat and homes to amphibians and turtles, especially where other wetland areas no longer exist.

    • Wetland sites along the Willamette and Columbia Rivers provide habitat for a variety of salmon. Sloughs, lakes, floodplains, and marshes play a key role for young coho, Chinook, chum and steelhead. Juvenile salmon stop in these areas to feed and grow before heading out to the ocean. Wetland areas also provide safe resting spots for fish during fast moving floods.

    What you can do

    We can help:


    Find a specialist

    Consider a conservation project along your stream.

    • Plant

      Trees and shrubs help block noise and provide privacy and visual beauty.

    • Manage weeds

      Self-maintaining native plants decrease the need to manage weeds.

    • Reduce erosion

      Riparian vegetation helps keep stream or canal banks stable and reduces erosion. A network of diverse tree and shrub roots knit into the soil to hold it in place.

    • Reduce flooding

      Flooding may be reduced with more native vegetation. Plants help with water infiltrationInfiltration Water absorbs into the ground instead of running over the surface

    • Save money & add value

      Properties with native riparian buffers are eligible for reduced property taxes when enrolled with Multnomah County and typically have increased land values.

    Current priority areas

    Current priority areas and goals for Streams & Wetlands project funding include:

    creek flowing through grassy meadow with trees

    Lower McCarthy Creek stream, wetland, and oak habitat

    View of Dairy Creek on Sauvie Island, Oregon

    Sturgeon Lake Restoration Project

    • Gilbert River and other Sauvie Island waterways

      Projects improve water quality and replace invasive plants with self-sustaining diverse native plants. They also reduce tillage and livestock use adjacent to canals to minimize erosion and keep animals safe.

    Staff contact

    Kammy Kern-Korot


    Senior Conservationist

    Contact me about:

    Oregon oak, savanna, wetlands and riparian habitats; Emerald Ash and Mediterranean Oak Borers; conservation planning and native plantings for pollinators and other wildlife on rural lands.
    x 108

    Scott Gall

    Farm & Soil Conservationist

    Contact me about:

    Soil health; Farms and livestock; Equity and inclusion
    x 105

    Laura Taylor

    Forest Conservationist

    Contact me about:

    Forest and woodland health; Wildfire risk in rural forests; Plants; Pollinators.
    x 112