Minto Brown Island Park Conservation Area Restoration

​Located within Minto-Brown Island Park is the 307-acre Minto Island Conservation Area (MICA). The conservation area was purchased in 2013 with funding from Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with the primary goal to protect, conserve, and enhance the diverse mix of existing natural habitats and species in the area. To this effort, three phases of restoration are planned or are in progress for the area.

Restoration of Minto Brown Island Floodplain Forest: Phase I

Status: Maintenance phase

The City of Salem received a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) and Meyer Memorial Trust to address the loss of floodplain forest and scrub habitat due to the park’s historical use of industry and farming. The primary focus of this phase was the removal and control of invasive weeds and the planting of native plant species in 103.5 acres in the eastern portion of MICA.

Restoration of this habitat type along the Willamette River will expand the floodplain forest, increase Salem’s tree canopy, and provide important nesting and foraging opportunities for several song birds listed as threatened or species of concern. In addition, this restoration will result in increased wildlife viewing opportunities at the park.

Map showing three phases of the Minto Brown Island Restoration

​Enhancement of Willamette Slough: Phase 2

Status: Anticipated start June 2020

Recreationists who enjoy paddling and fishing in the Willamette Slough are finding it more difficult to do so due the fast-spreading aquatic weed, Ludwigia hexapetala, also known as creeping or Uruguay water primrose.

Problems caused by creeping water primrose  

Ludwigia forms dense mats that choke entire waterways and that lead to significant impacts:

  • Reduce recreation opportunities
  • Reduce vital habitat of turtles, frogs, water birds, fish and other wildlife.
  • Impede water movement (affecting both water quality and flooding potential)
  • Block growth of native plants
  • Reduce dissolved oxygen leading to fish kills.
  • Spread easily by catching a ride on boats, kayaks, and other watercraft and can quickly spread to new places

Because the Willamette Slough is a side channel of the Willamette River, it is critical habitat for migrating and resident Endangered Species Act-listed Chinook salmon and steelhead as well as other diverse species of fish and wildlife; therefore, the importance of keeping this slough open is vital.

Teaming up against creeping water primrose (Ludwigia hexapetalal)

Members of the Willamette Aquatic Invasive Network (WAIN) have been treating and removing invasive Ludwigia from numerous locations along the Willamette River. With funding from the Bonneville Power Administration and Meyer Memorial Trust, Willamette Riverkeeper and the City of Salem are working together to use effective treatment methods that provide the greatest benefits and the least harm to the native ecosystems. Ludwigia will be treated with an aquatic-approved herbicide by state-licensed applicators. Ludwigia control efforts in the Willamette Slough complements the City of Salem's other restoration efforts occurring at Minto Brown Island Park and Willamette Riverkeeper's and WAIN's efforts within the Willamette River Watershed. 

Delta pond half covered with plants.

Delta Pond, a site similar to the Willamette Slough, in 2013 before Ludwigia treatment.

Delta Pond cleared of plant coverings.

Delta Pond, a site similar to the Willamette Slough, in 2015 after Ludwigia treatment.

Support for this project comes from the following organizations:

  • City of Keizer
  • Friends of Trees
  • Glenn Gibson Watershed Council
  • Marion Soil and Water Conservation District
  • North Santiam Watershed Council
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon State Parks
  • Polk Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Salem Audubon Society
  • Salem Environmental Education
  • Willamette Riverkeepers

​Restoration of West Forest: Phase 3

Status: Seeking funding 

In an ongoing effort to improve fish and wildlife habitat at Minto Brown Island Park, the City of Salem will submit a grant application to the Willamette Mainstem Anchor Habitat Investment.  

The goal of this project is to expand and improve the health of the forested floodplain next to the Willamette River.  The proposed actions follow:

  • Control invasive vegetation such as Himalayan blackberry, reed canary grass, English ivy, traveler's joy, and more throughout the 48-acre project area.

  • Replant with native trees and shrubs with the focus on 27.5 acres that are highly impacted by invasive plants.

  • Maintain the replanted areas for up to three years in order to ensure successful plant establishment.

If the City receives funding, the project is anticipated to begin in late 2019 and extend through 2024.

Contact us

Zach DiehlProgram Coordinator
Phone: