Portland Lutheran brought the sunshine to Beaver Creek in Troutdale, yet again this past Friday and they really took advantage of this beautiful weather by spending the entire day outside.
When they arrived, the water level of the creek, which can vary by the tens of feet, was low enough that they had the chance to do some unique activities. Since there was a lot of exposed sand and mud from the high water, there a record of all the wildlife that has been enjoying Beaver Creek (and enjoying the restoration efforts that groups like the Portland Lutheran Green Team have been doing) through all the animal tracks. About 93% of Oregon’s wildlife use riparian zones such as the one around Beaver Creek at one point in their life cycle, so we get excited whenever we have a chance to see who has been visiting our sites. Portland Lutheran students had the opportunity to make plaster casts of some of the prints that they could take back to the classroom and study further. From their observations, it appears that the beaver population is appropriately very active at Beaver Creek, as most of the prints they found were made by these xylophagous rodents.
When they weren’t searching for tracks, students planted trees, most notably, willow, in terraces on the bank that had been underwater during previous visits. The willow they planted can survive being completely submerged, and their root structures will be helpful in preventing the terraces from eroding away during high water events. Students also had the chance to start doing maintenance on the plants they had planted earlier in the year by mulching them. Putting a ring of mulch around newly planted plants will protect them from weeds growing right next to them, as well as provide protection from keeping the plants from being dried out in the summer – something especially important in the sandy soil at Beaver Creek.
As always we were very impressed with the students’ hard work, and their great attitudes during the 5 hours they spent out at Beaver Creek.